Over the years, both old and young have benefited from the advancement of information technology through advanced communication devices, which includes internet access and mobile phones. This technological development has brought about social networking site which individuals are allowed to communicate freely on the internet.
Research on the relationship between “emerging adults” and ICT suggests that gender differences exist. Young women are more involved than young men in emailing, social networking, and texting than young men.
A recent study by Hinduja and Patchin (2010) found that 25.8% of girls report having been cyberbullied, compared to only 16.8% of boys. An alarming 21.1% of girls report cyberbullying, while only 18.3% of boys report the same.
Also, a recent research suggests that females are more likely to be on the receiving end of cyberbullying than they are with traditional face-to-face bullying with the new form of sexual and gender violence like ‘sexting’, ‘morphing’, ‘virtual rape’ and ‘revenge porn’ which are all brought about by the social networking site.
The anonymity provided by the internet to its users are one of the things that are fueling cyberbullying. The power which is given by the internet to abusers who hide behind their keyboard further increases cyberbulling.
The victims of cyberbullying may often face depression, anxiety, isolation, humiliation and have low self-esteem. This can also cause withdrawal from school, work place, and social life. Victims of cyberbullying may sometimes not feel safe in their own house because abusers have intruded into their very own household through their cell phones and computers. They also feel vulnerable and powerless and feel like bullying is everywhere else.
Enlightenment programme should be directed to young adults and children on how to avoid dangers that lurk online and ways to handle them when they do happen. This is important because children and young adults are more likely to face cyberbullying since they are now growing in the digital age.
Nigeria should work better in ensuring a safe internet space to make the country take the full advantage of information technology while reducing its dangers.