Cyberbullying in Africa and the Consequences.

Kata Kata

Admin | Posted On : 04-05-2024

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."   Desmond Tutu

One may call the above quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu a warning, but it sounds more than that. It equally captures the lingering - and often neglected - social problems facing the world today, especially African countries, which the human rights icon frequently criticised. 

Technological advancement has come with its downsides in many countries; amongst the flaws, cyberbullying has grown astronomically with modern technology's development. The increasing accessibility of the internet and social media platforms across the continent has made cyberbullying a concerning problem, particularly among younger generations, thereby making cyberbullying a pervasive issue worldwide. Rather than using social media to engage in self-promotion and direct interaction with friends, family, and the public, it has become a combative platform for bullying, harassing, and intimidating other users. Typical forms of cyberbullying include harassment, spreading rumours, identity theft, and posting offensive or derogatory content.

What makes cyberbullying so dangerous is the fact that, in most cases, the incidents are hardly reported. Some victims are bullied into being afraid to report the cases. Often, when unacceptable violence is eventually reported, law enforcement agencies hardly take the quick and appropriate steps needed to resolve the aggression and stop it from repeating, spreading or getting out of hand. Worse still, some victims even feel ashamed to expose the terror. Result? Intimidation and harassment continue. The pugnacious social behaviour must stop!

We might underestimate the impacts of cyberbullying, but various serious academic reports have pointed out the frightening consequences of cyberbullying in our society, including but not limited to the issues below: 

Mental health impacts: Cyberbullying in Africa, as elsewhere, can have serious mental health consequences. Victims often suffer from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and, in extreme cases, suicidal thoughts. The anonymity and reach of the Internet may increase the psychological impact of cyberbullying.

Impact on Education: Cyberbullying affects students' ability to focus and learn, which in turn affects their academic performance. Victims who feel unsafe or unwelcome in the school environment may also be absent from school or drop out. The academic distractions may impact their ability to form meaningful relationships and engage in online and offline social activities.