Education is a way to eradicate cyberbullying

The First University Forum against Digital Violence was held, with the participation of experts from various disciplines who spoke about the risks faced by users of the Internet.

Education is a way to eradicate cyberbullying
Digital aggression can be eradicated through education. Photo by Morgan Basham / Unsplash

In recent years cyberbullying has had a significant increase in our society, so educational measures are required, rather than punitive, to limit and eradicate it, agreed experts at the First University Forum against Digital Violence at UNAM.

INEGI figures, corresponding to 2020, refer that of the 77.6 million internet users in Mexico, 16.8 million have been victims of cyber harassment; of these, nine million attacks were committed against women.

It is necessary to work from academia on digital freedom and open the debate for the development of efficient public policies that promote security, freedom of expression, and privacy of vulnerable groups, such as children, adolescents, the LGBTIQ+ community, activists, as well as human rights defenders who are exposed.

According to INEGI's National Survey on Availability and Use of Information Technologies in Households (ENDUTIH) 2020, cited by the academic, the highest proportion of internet users in the total age group is from 18 to 24 years old; the second, where its use is more widespread, is from 12 to 17 years old.

The fact that young people spend a large part of their time on the Internet as an important part of their daily lives makes adolescents more vulnerable to digital violence, as they do not have the necessary tools to deal with it and navigate safely. Talking about gender-based digital violence is an exercise in recognizing a patriarchal system.

Although patriarchy has been historically variable, we can say that in this time of social and socio-digital interconnections on a global and local scale, it has the power of ubiquity, it is in face-to-face life and extends to virtuality, without the need for a co-presence to hierarchize, to exclude, to harm, it has an impressive scope in social networks: inequality, oppression, discrimination, and violence are amplified from socio-digitality.

Let's build another way of thinking

It is important because through what we write on social networks we build thinking. It is the same lynching that is done in the street, it is not up to the networks to educate, but it is up to us to do it socially and at home, it is not a punitive issue, of sanction, but to build public policies that truly make people respect differences.

Violence does not have to be replicated in social networks, freedom of expression is fundamental, and within its exercise is the right to be able to say what we think and transmit it, more in a society that seeks to be inclusive and democratic.

Social networks are a reflection of how we are as a society; that is, raising our voices, using anonymity, and even not using our names. This has a lot to do with education, the impact is there, it is real, so we must provide tools to know how to behave online.

Digital violence also goes through an issue of freedom of expression. Everything that is written is considered protected speech, it cannot be subject to prior censorship, but what is forbidden is to incite violence, genocide, or child exploitation; from there on it is a complex plot.

It is a multidisciplinary team that carries out the analysis to know if someone transgresses the rule or not when it is a call to violent action, that is why it is important to educate, to create materials and instruction manuals so that from a young age we know how to address ourselves online.

Hate speeches have always existed, but what has changed is the communication model we had before the Internet. It was directional, it was very difficult for senders to communicate with senders; they were passive and now they have become receivers and vice versa.

This, for example, has allowed those who wish to be part of a digital discussion or lynching against some character, not only reduced to a small group, but can become a massive form so it has repercussions and migrates to other spaces such as conventional media, and with speeches based on fears, phobias, and passions.