I watched a close friend of mine in high school become the victim of cyber bullying. She slowly started drifting from her friends, her family and other people close to her. She changed the way she looked at herself, other people, and the overall world. Depression is one of the largest known symptoms or effects of bullying in general. Some other effects could be the idea of low self-esteem, along with self-worth. The idea of having no trust in other people, or the world is another common symptom. Many people say that there are not immediate or long term effects to cyber bullying, but I argue that cyber bullying has immediate effects which some can be long term, and in extreme cases life altering. One person could end up changing someone else’s life forever due to say one text message, tweet, or Facebook post. The real question is, were the kids of the days of face to face bullying better off than the kids of our age, the age of cyber bullying? Depression, takes a toll on everyone’s life in all different aspects. Depression affects your mental health.
The thoughts are always putting you down, which will in turn affect your self-worth. When people are always putting you down, saying you’re not good enough for other people, or yourself. Depression may be one of the most severe effects of cyber bullying; it can turn into something much more serious, such as suicide. People don’t always realize how much they can hurt another person with just actions or words. Cyber bullying, in my opinion could be much worse than just face-to-face bullying. At least, when bullying could only occur face to face, you were safe in your own home, away from your personal bully. Now within the age of cyber bullying, someone could continue to harass you even once you’re away from them. Which I feel adds to the victim of the cyber bullying’s affects. Your self-worth is very important to a person, and when you’re being talked down to, on a daily basis, you become a “self-fulfilling prophecy”.
When this happens, you begin to believe all the things people are telling you, you become the person they were telling you are, even when you truly aren’t. The idea of not trusting being able to trust other people, along with people you’re close to in life, is a sad idea. You should be able to trust people in your life, people you’re with every day. When you’re unable to trust the people in your life, you begin to revert into yourself. Reverting into yourself is the idea of not being able to tell anyone else the way you’re feeling or your thoughts. Along with this idea comes a sense of being overwhelmed to a breaking point. Being this overwhelmed in life is unhealthy, for your social health. Your social heath may not seem like an important aspect of health, but it tends to be, although it isn’t as important to some people as it is to others. Some people need to be very social, and need to be around other people. Other people don’t need that constant sense of company. For the person who needs that constant self of company, this is a lot more dangerous because if their social health becomes damaged enough, their mental health will also become damaged, which in an extreme case could lead to depression.
Also, not being able to trust anyone around you, could turn into a question of self-trust, because you being to question your own judgment with who you choose to give your trust to. One example of cyber bullying and its effects is an ABC Family Original Movie, Cyberbully. Taylor (Emily Osment) is a high school student who finds herself as a target of cyber bullying surprisingly, by her fellow students on a popular social networking website, Cliquesters. After Taylor’s little brother hacks her account and writes an abusive status that gets her classmates to start posting insulting comments, calling her a “slut” and a “whore. After Taylor finds out what her classmates think of her, she doesn’t want to go to school anymore from the very beginning of her cyber bullying. As the rumors and bullying get worse, Taylor’s friends turn against her. Now, Taylor is without any friends; feels alone and worthless. At this point, she wants to commit suicide, and continues to make an attempt. Once Taylor posts the suicide video, her best friend comes to be by her side and help her.
Once her best friend gets there, Taylor was struggling to open the pill bottle. Realizing her best friend came to be by her side, she noticed she isn’t alone. After taking anti-depressants and having one on ones with her doctor, along some of her treatments, her doctor recommends Taylor to attend a teen therapy support group. Surprisingly, the recommended support group truly does help her. After the support groups, she felt somewhat better but she will never completely heal from cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is always there and will never completely go away. As in the movie, cyber bullying isn’t only lasting during the incidents; it’s a life-long issue. The victim will always live with the effects of their in a sense, torture. Most people assume bullying is a once in a life time experience, that it’s only lasting while the person is living through it, this isn’t true. Especially with cyber bullying, it stays on the internet forever. Regardless, if someone deletes the pictures, the comments, the posts, it stays there forever, in the history of the internet. It’s always in the back of the person’s mind that these things are out there, for everyone to see. I personally believe that the “old days” of bullying were less psychologically damaging. Of course, every person who is a victim of any sense of bullying will always suffer from their experience.
The old face-to-face bullying isn’t out there to be viewed day to day for the rest of the existence of the internet like the new online bullying. Once your face-to-face bullying incident is over, and you leave your attacker, it’s over with for that day. There won’t be any reliving this exact experience once you’re in the safety of your own home. Whereas, with cyber bullying, even though the person may not want to, they will tend to look back at the posts, comments and pictures, to see how many people have viewed this specific incident over and over again. With every view, like, and extra comment this specific thing digs deeper and deeper into the victim, it’s not becoming more public, more and more by the second. Which do you think is worse, experiencing it face to face, or your embarrassment being public to every person who has access to the internet? According to the New York Times, an innocent twelve year old took her life due to cyber bullying along with physical abuse.
Due to social networking, such as Kik Messenger and ask.fm caused Rebecca Sedwick to lose her self-esteem and most importantly, she lost herself. She was told to “drink some bleach and die” and “go kill yourself”. One of her bullies turned all of her friends against her so she had no one to either lean on, cry to nor talk to; this is what made her realize she was all alone and she started to hate herself (www.nytimes.com). Rebecca isn’t the only girl who this has happened to. Some statistics show that over twenty five percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet and over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying transpires (www.bullyingstatistics .org). Rebecca was somewhat smart, she told her parents what was going on online and through text messaging but her parents help, wasn’t good enough.
Cyber bullying is definitely worse than regular bullying. When someone gets bullied, the victim can run to their home or to a safe place; in cyber space, that safe place doesn’t exist. In England, a survey was taken with children of ages between eleven and nineteen, statistics show that twenty three percent of girls and fifteen percent of boys have been a victim of cyber bullying while six percent of girls and eight percent of boys have admitted that they cyber bullied others. Thirty one percent of girls and twenty percent of boys have witnessed cyber bullying but did nothing about it. Fifty four percent of girls and thirty percent of boys admitted they have known someone who has been a victim while thirty three percent of girls and fifteen percent of boys also admitted they knew someone who has cyber bullied. Shockingly, thirty percent of girls and forty eight percent of boys have never experienced cyber bullying (O’Brien, 6). This survey was taken in 2006; you can only imagine how much the numbers could have possibly changed to 2013.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be cyber bullied? I always wondered what it would feel like to not have a safe place to be until the middle of my freshman year; I became a victim of cyber bullying. It was the worst experience of my life and I’m still scared to post things on social media. Nothing is worse than feeling alone and empty. When I was a freshman in high school, a website called formspring.me became popular. Formspring.me is a website where anyone with an account can ask people questions anonymously. Most people on this website can be extremely personal, abusive, and cruel. While surprisingly, others can be helpful. I know I’ve made mistakes in my life, everyone has, but I was viciously attacked online to where I would cry every night. I was told to “go die, no one would actually care” or “please kill yourself”. Most of my messages were mostly the same and I was so unsure as to what to do with myself.
I was bullied in school and online and I had no place to feel safe. I figured no one wanted me to be around, and everyone else’s life wouldn’t be any different if I wasn’t around. I felt this way until my cousin came to my house to talk to me. She made me feel like I was loved and not alone; she later brought in my entire family where I started to feel I used to before I was a victim. My family made me feel that I have a purpose in life and I was brought into this world for a reason. I am definitely not the same person I was. Even though cyber bullying is a vicious form of mental abuse, I believe it has made me a better person, stronger.
Many people claim that cyber bullying isn’t as bad of an issue as old fashioned face to face bullying, that there are no long lasting effects, that the person doesn’t suffer as much. That’s wrong, cyber bullying is in reality worse than old fashioned face to face bullying. The person, (victim) can’t get away, they’re harassment is always there, always lurking waiting for the computer to be turned on, or social media to be checked on the smart phone. Cyber bullying doesn’t end, it stays on the internet forever, it’s there for other people to always see. Victims of cyber bullying tend to commit more suicide, suffer from long term depression, and socially isolate themselves more frequently than the victims of physical (face to face) bullying do.
In conclusion, cyber bullying affects a person much more detrimentally than physical bullying will. With cyber bullying the harsh words of the person are always there to be viewed, not only by the person being put down. Anyone with access to the internet has access to the downgrading things being said to this person. The suicide thoughts and reminders of the degradement are always there for the person to look back on, which in turn, makes the person agree with what’s being said about them. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and the person now feels that that’s the way they feel, they become what is being said about them. The effects of bullying only last as long as the reminders, and with cyber bullying, they never go away.
Alvarez, Lizette. “Felony Counts for 2 in Suicide of Bullied 12-Year-Old.” New York Times. N.p., 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 20 Oct. 2013. .
“Cyber Bullying Statistics.” Bullying Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2013. . O’Brien, Niamh, and Tina Moules. Pastoral Care in Education: An International Journal of Personal, Social and Emotional Development. London: