With cyberbullying noted as one of the leading factors of suicide, learners of Diepsloot Combined School recently learnt of the dangers that come with it.
This was thanks to a group of final-year University of Johannesburg marketing students along with a non-profit organisation (NPO) of their choice, Nokuzotha Networks.
One of the UJ students, Refilwe Motshegwa said, “The reason we are here is to bring awareness to the dangers of cyberbullying to the youth, mostly in high school as we give talks to Grade 8s and matrics. We also wanted the youth to know of mental illness caused by cyberbullying and how much damage it can cause to someone.”
Motshegwa explained that the youth experience more pressure to fit in, in high school and a lot has changed as digital platforms rule our lives, that is why it is important for them not to be a cyberbully or put others down through social media.
“The reason we chose this NPO is that we want to bring awareness to what they do here in Diepsloot as well as at other townships,” she said.
According to another UJ student, Andile Ncube, change begins with them as the youth and added how important it is to stop the chain of cyberbullying. “We want the youth to know that if they witness someone being cyberbullied, they shouldn’t stand there and laugh but rather stand against that. They also need to be a support structure for the person being cyberbullied.”
Ncube said that cyberbullying takes place when people are not conscious of the things they say to one another and envying what the other has. “Most people find it easier to bully someone while hiding behind a screen and put someone down. People tend to be malicious because they know they can get away with it.”
The school’s head of department (HOD), William Rambau expressed gratitude for the UJ students’ visit as it has made a serious impact on the learners. He said, “The topic that the student was addressing to our learners was a very important one as we live in a day and age where everything is digital and most of them spend most of their time on social media platforms.”