STOP !T – Cyberbullying in South Africa

What is cyberbullying? Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place in the form of texts, as SMSs or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. This occurs on multiple communication technologies such as cell phones, tablets and computers and various other online consoles. It could include sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else.

What happens when cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behaviour? The Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention states that within the context of South African law, South Africa does not have specific legislation dealing with cyberbullying. Instead, this falls under the category of harassment, which has remedies offered by the criminal law and/or civil law.

Cyberbullying is more of a covert style of harassment and thus creates a difficulty in the identifying of victims and in dealing with the perpetrators. As cyberbullying has resulted in many suicides and has affected numerous people, preventing this form of bullying has become a critical matter.

STOPit allows pupils to report on what they experience and what they see, from the comfort of their home, a friend’s home, a community hall or library, anywhere with an internet connection. Using a very simple-to-use app or internet site, learners can send written messages, with video or picture evidence. An administrator at the school replies to the pupil in real time to gather further information.

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