(JAMAICA GLEANER) The findings of the latest U-Report poll have indicated that most young Jamaicans have never been cyber-bullied.
But a few of the persons who have experienced it have since stepped forward to give chilling accounts of their ordeal. They want to raise awareness to an issue, they say, if left unchecked, will morph into a monster.
The result of the poll, which was conducted between October 11 and 25, and captured the response of 592 youths between the ages of 13 and 29, saw 61 per cent responding ‘no’ to the question, “Have you ever been cyber-bullied?” while the remaining 39 per cent said ‘yes’.
In one instance, a U-Reporter recounted borrowing money from a friend to pay some bills, but he was unable to repay at the agreed time and that’s when things took a turn for the worse.
“He kept on sending threats via WhatsApp and MSN Messenger and each time I blocked and deleted him, he created a different account. I was so afraid of reporting it to the police,” he explained.
Another U-Reporter argued that: “It didn’t happen to me, but I’ve seen instances where people are bullied, and even when blocked, they find ways to create new accounts and harass persons.”
Several other U-Reporters recounted how embarrassing photos posted on social media quickly escalated into cyber-bullying.
“A naked picture of me was posted online and I was mocked mercilessly by persons who saw it. I was horrified, but luckily it was removed by the site. I still think about it even now,” one young lady shared.
YOU CAN BLOCK ABUSERS
Another youngster added: “There was an Instagram page about the ugliest persons in the parish, and I was at number 15. The page was eventually deleted, but it was traumatising, as I was ridiculed online.”
One U-Reporter said that embarrassing videos and photos of her were leaked online, which sparked several rumours.
“It still hasn’t been resolved,” he stated.
Meanwhile, U-Report, a free social-messaging tool concep-tualised by the United Nations Children’s Fund, has encouraged victims of cyber-bullying to take action.
“You can block abusers, take a break, or delete apps. You can also report it to the social networks themselves; to someone you trust; or to the police,” the group said.