Cyberbullying, digital abuse is on the rise and becoming a big problem

Have you experienced social media abuse? In today’s era of constant connection, there are many social media pitfalls to watch out for. Protecting your identity, the impact of social media on careers are just a few

Jenny was active on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and a few other social sites. When she started dating Jay they frequently exchanged pictures and messages through these platforms. It was all fun. Then Jay got really nosy about who she was friends with and her interactions with other people

He wanted explanations for certain pictures and messages and asked questions about why she was interacting with each person, why they had checked-in certain places and why he hadn’t been told about it before. She really liked Jay but finally felt like she had to censor what she was posting

Jay’s cyberstalking behaviour is considered a form of digital abuse. Having access to someone through social media does not give you permission to demand details on every exchange. The fact that Jenny had felt intimidated to the point of changing her online social behaviour is evidence of the unhealthy impact his behaviour was having on her

Jenny finally broke up with Jay, but it was messy and he didn’t take things well. His controlling behaviour included posting unflattering pictures and disparaging comments about her on any social site he could. He even went to the lengths of creating fake profiles to try and get back in her friend network, all so he could keep tabs on her and undermine her every chance he could

Jay’s behaviour became extreme, but digital abuse doesn’t have to go this far to be considered abusive. Any time someone uses a social platform, technology, or a device for the purposes of unwanted tracking, insulting, or intimidation they have crossed a line

We all should be aware -and very careful as a result that the digital lives we have can draw out abusive behaviour from other people. Normal curiosity and interest online activities can easily rise to suspicions or trigger insecurities that can manifest into abusive behaviour

There are some inherent characteristics about technology that puts us all at risk for digital abuse, our digital lives are mostly an individual activity, there’s an element of secrecy about them, and they involve other people that our partner may have no real-life connection with

Cyber-bullying has become well recognized and watched for

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Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

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