Effects of cyber bullying among teenagers
Cyber bullying is on the increase among teens. It encompasses the sharing of false rumors about a person on the internet, and distribution of images, threats, and videos that are likely to harm a person’s wellbeing. A study done in 2018 in the United States revealed that 59% of teenagers had undergone cyber bullying.
This age group is more vulnerable as they are in a stage of growth where they learn how to respond to situations. The leading cause of cyber bullying is fractured relationships caused by either breakups or unresolved conflicts. Obese, shy, and awkward kids, together with those from low-income families, are likely to be bullied more.
Cyber bullying has detrimental effects on teenagers. It lowers self-esteem and confidence. It also makes it hard for them to establish good relationships with others. Apart from that, it also creates fear making the person isolate themselves from others. It causes anxiety and depression. Cyber bullying can cause suicide among the victims as they feel victimized. It has adverse psychological effects. Teenagers undergoing cyber bullying are likely to exhibit behaviors such as irritability, anger outbursts, and isolation from friends who they used to relate well.
Parents should watch out for such behaviors from teenagers. They should also talk to them to understand what they are going through. They should not trivialize the issue but instead offer the necessary support. Parents can report cases of cyber bullying to school administrators and even law enforcement.
Teenagers experiencing cyber bullying are more likely to perform poorly in class, portray delinquent behavior, and miss classes frequently. Some end up dropping from school. They have a low concentration in class. They may also result in substance abuse to ease the psychological pain. Teenage victims of cyber bullying may feel sad and powerless. Some are afraid of sharing the incidents with parents because they think that they might restrict them from getting into the internet.
Harassers on the internet feel powerful. Reports indicate that teenagers are likely to bully others more on the internet than in real life as they view it as convenient. Cyber bullying has more devastating effects than bullying because it involves many people, and it is impossible to control shared content.
Although bullying might end after school, cyber bullying does not end as the internet is always available. That may make a teenager feel hopeless and unable to escape from it. To avoid it, parents should talk to teenagers about the benefits of putting their profiles in private settings, and caution them from sharing risqué images and videos.
Boronenko, Vera, Vladimir Menshikov, and Gilberto Marzano. “Topicality of cyberbullying among teenagers in Russia and Latvia.” Social Sciences Bulletin 1.16 (2013): 84-104.
Suzuki, Keita, et al. “Cyberbullying and adolescent mental health.” International journal of adolescent medicine and health 24.1 (2012): 27-35.