Change is constant but the internet especially the social media platforms has come to stay, it’s been here for years and would still be for many more years to come. But like everything that has come, there have been advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages like promotion of businesses, meeting new good people, making money, making new friends, and providing jobs, the advantages are so numerous. But even with the various great things to do on the internet, some no-good ones have taken it upon themselves to use it for bad purposes like hacking, fraudulent activities [yahoo], cyberbullying, etc. For this write-up, we would be focusing on the effects of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is using the internet to haunt, taunt, insult or torment another person, mostly another internet user. People who engage in cyberbullying mostly hide behind anonymity to do such acts. Cyberbullying is very degrading as people often quote ‘internet never forgets, so it usually has a lasting effect on victims. So these are effects that cyberbullying could have on people.

Depression is when a person feels sad, anxious, or mentally down because of activities that may have transpired or happened to them. It could be mostly mental but after a while affects the physical nature of the depressed person. It’s been here for years but since the advent of the internet and cyberbullying was introduced, it has been accelerated. Depression had mostly been affected by physical factors but now people can be trolled while in their houses and their images would be defaced. People have shown a lot of skepticism when sharing their personal stories online because keyboard-happy people are there too just to shame people and blow things out of apportioning. Suicide cases triggered by the internet have risen significantly which has sadly come to stay. There have been cases of people who were trolled on the internet and felt like their world has crumbled thereby using suicide as an escape route. Depression is real and cyberbullying has played a huge part in both furthering and reporting it too. 

Another effect of cyberbullying is a deformation of character. Nowadays when a person applies for a job in a prominent organization or a contract, a background check is done on the person and social media is consulted too. So when there are shows of bad things involving the person, it shows a bad image. When a person’s past is unduly brought into the present and negatively influences the person’s life, it usually has damaging effects. Currently, legendary actor, Johnny Depp who is also well known for his award-winning role as ‘Captain Jack Sparrow’ in the hit movies Pirates of the Caribbean' is suing his ex-wife Amber Heard for defamation of character. This is after she accused him of physically, sexually, and verbally abusing her during their time together. These accusations have cost him large chunks of his image, his role in the Pirates of the Caribbean, and his deal with the movie giants Disney. Lots of his exes and family friends have come to his defense and stressed that this isn’t a thing that Depp is capable of doing. Even though he wins his defamation case against her which is the likely outcome, she has still ruined parts of his life and made him lose jobs that could have furthered his career. 

Another bad effects of cyberbullying are how people have used cyberspace to not just execute cyber crimes but also normalize it like is a legal thing to do. You usually see videos, pictures, and posts of defrauders who don’t even hide their identities and publicly declare that this is what they do to make money. Of course, taking advantage of the lackluster attitude of crime-fighting agencies, we have in the country. The recent trend of girls having carnal knowledge of animals such as dogs, has the internet publicized it and with a quantifiable of people not seeing it as a bad thing. The internet has condoned a lot of crimes as hustling which according to the law should be punishable. 

It is well that cyber could have both good and bad effects. Solutions would have to be introduced to combat the negative parts of cyber. Firstly, social media platforms should have algorithms in place to auto delete racial, degrading, abusive, and offensive phrases, statements, words, and posts. This way it is off the internet before it gathers publicity and the affected person doesn’t have to pass through the trauma of seeing anything that might ruin them. It would also auto-report the offender to the platform for actions. Social media platforms usually have people who check for these offenses but most time they react too slowly and these posts usually reach the victims before they are taken care of. With an automatic algorithm to combat this, it would be able to act faster. 

Reporting cybercrimes to the relevant agencies, even if it is our friends who are the perpetrators of these crimes. An average Nigerian youth has at least four to ten friends in their inner circle who are cybercriminals. But because of the fear of being labeled a whistleblower, they keep quiet and let their friends scam people of their money. This has been happening for years and has been on an alarmingly increase as the years go by. A lot of Western countries have laws against racial, defamation, and offensive posts on social media platforms. Not so long ago, a football fan was sentenced to weeks in prison for racially abusing Manchester United Football Club and English forward Marcus Rashford on the popular social media platform ‘Twitter’. The fan whose name was initially withheld was accused of racially abusing the players using words like ‘monkey’ etc after the forward had missed an opportunity during a football match. Another fan who was previously jailed for a similar offense was interviewed by sports media Sky Sport and he advised anybody who might be angered by an incident in a match, therefore tempted to say anything offensive should first have a rethink, that it is worth doing that. English teams, both the national team and league teams take a knee before any match to show support against racism in sport. 

Concluding, cyberbullying has come to stay but its safety of it would always be in question. Since the introduction of cyberbullying, there have always been positive and negative aspects to it, even though we Africans especially Nigerians have been maybe rightfully stereotyped to mostly use cyberspace for bad. It becomes our duty to break their stereotype and use the cyber for our good and that of others. From

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