The Internet has made a lot of things easier for us humans such as research, studies, work, and communications. However, with advantages, it also has huge drawbacks and one of them is that it leads to online harassment.
Mostly, teenagers and young adults get targeted by online harassment. Online harassment cases have increased so much in Pakistan that the country has introduced a new helpline for cyber crimes and disturbance of any kind.
Types of Online Harassment:
Online harassment is a broad definition and there are many ways in which, harassment can take place online. Here are a few examples.
With the development and increased use of technology, bullying does not happen often in classes and school playgrounds. Most of the bullying now happens on the Internet, which is more harmful to a person as long as their mental health is concerned.
It is also easy to get targeted by cyberbullying as nowadays, everyone has a phone or access to the Internet. Moreover, a person opens their phone several times during the day so you cannot even ignore messages of the person bullying you. So, anyone can bully you, anytime and anywhere around the world in a hidden identity.
Cyberbullying can happen on social media posts, messages, emails, and texts. Cyberbullies tend to humiliate the person by spreading lies, rumors, or sending inappropriate texts.
Another form of online harassment is online impersonation. This happens when a person creates a fake account of another person, using their picture, details, and information. The profile is then used to damage a person’s reputation. This account can also be used to threaten and humiliate a person. Strict measures are taken nowadays against fake accounts if truly; the person’s reputation is damaged.
Online blackmail is when a person is made to do something forcefully. This normally happens when a person threatens to leak an embarrassing picture of them, damage their reputation, or defame them. Sometimes, the blackmailer asks for money or special services.
Online fraud is also a common way of tricking innocent people into giving something extremely valuable to frauds. Sometimes, you get a text or email that you have won a lottery, lucky draw, or a bumper prize at a local competition. The person is asked to transfer a certain amount of money into the bank account before they get their prize. However, it does not end well for the people as they are tricked and they neither get their money back nor their prize.
Sometimes, when you order something online, the company asks you to pay the money first, through a credit card. However, the parcel is never delivered and people again end up losing their money.
Consequences of Online Harassment:
- People end up getting depressed. Whether they face bullying, fraud, their fake accounts being created or being blackmailed, they are likely to suffer mentally. Sometimes, a disturbance in mental health leads to other worse things such as consumption of drugs and alcohol by teenagers.
- A person feels hurt when they are harassed. Whether you have lost your hard-earned money or if your reputation has been damaged, you are likely to get heartbroken. You feel ashamed because of being defamed, people are making fun of you and you feel lonely. This probably leads to your mental health is compromised.
- Teenagers and young adults tend to blame themselves when such an incident happens with them. They think that there is some problem with them or have a shortcoming because of which, they are not good enough.
What to do when you are harassed online?
With the increasing cases of online harassment in Pakistan, the country has developed its cyber helpline, which, you can contact and let the legal authorities handle it professionally. This organization believes that everyone has a right to stand for themselves and express if they are being threatened.
Online harassment has become a huge issue in not only Pakistan but all over the world. Therefore, it is our duty as citizens to help those who are being harassed and encourage them that they have a voice of their own, which is enough to teach these harassers a lesson.
Afshan Riaz Bhayani