Bullying. It is something everyone has heard of, witnessed or experienced. When the word “bullying” is heard, many people think of the classic school kid being picked on at lunch, in a physical and/or verbal manner. Although verbal and physical bullying still occur, there is a form of bullying that has grown to be quite prominent, due to the vast use of technology in this generation. This form of bullying is known as; cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is a deliberately harmful, aggressive, and repetitive form of bullying through the Internet and related technology. Cyber bullying is just as harmful as physical or verbal bullying, and should be taken just as seriously. Cyber bullying negatively impacts children in many ways. The most prominent effects of cyber bullying are the toll it can take psychologically, and emotionally on the people involved. These effects are exacerbated by the current popularity of social media. The psychological effects of cyber bullying are obvious, and in some way more severe than physical bullying. The psychological effect of cyber bullying can be more severe because there is often no escape from one’s tormentors. Unlike the typical bullying thats takes place at school or on the bus, cyber bullying follows students around 24/7.
With technology like smartphones, the repetitive harassment is nearly impossible to escape. In many cases of cyber bullying, it begins with one bully but ends with many. The internet is open to everyone. Once something is out there, for example a picture, it can be sent to phones everywhere and is essentially on the Internet forever. With one click of a button, information can instantly spread like wildfire. It is psychologically damaging to know that even if that picture, those words, that rumor, are deleted, it is never actually gone. Although cyber bullying isn’t necessarily as public as a punch at school would be, it can often be easily hidden by the victim. If there are no bruises or bumps, it is hard for any family or friend to see what the targeted person may be suffering with inside. Fifty-two percent of cyberbully victims never tell anyone about what is going on. Isolation, is often where internalizing problems leads. Cyber bullying becomes a battle not only with the bullies, but also a battle with oneself. Social media has become the main way of communication. Many people have at least one of these sites available to them: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr. It is no secret that there are bullies who target certain, or any people online.
Thirty-percent of online teens say they have been targets of menacing and/or hurtful online activities; and 88 percent of online teens say they have witnessed someone being mean or cruel to someone else on a social network. Most bullies have the power online; there is really no way to be stopped through a computer screen. Especially with the “anonymous” option, harassing the target can be the easiest thing to do, because the power the bully feels; being unknown, and knowing there is little chance of any consequences. Eighty percent of teens use their cell phones regularly making it the most common form of technology used. Many teens are willing to take the risk of being cyber bullied, not because they don’t think it is serious, but because social media affects one’s social status. In a world where almost every teen has some sort of social media, it can be hard to feel “normal” or involved if you don’t have one too. As a result of most of this generation communicating online, cyber bullying has become more popular and dangerous. Much like physical bullying, cyber bullying has a huge emotional burden.
Being a victim of cyber bullying often leads to depression. Since in most cases, teenagers cannot escape the relentless harassment, it can lead to feeling hopeless and isolated. When hundreds of people, some you may or may not know, begin harassing you, it can feel like the entire world is against you. Being harassed constantly can slowly eat away at the victim. Self esteem is what gets damaged most. Being degraded, made fun of, or accused of actions that never happened can lead to the victim eventually believing the rumors. Lastly, an emotional struggle triggered by cyber bullying is anxiety. It becomes a constant fear, every time you use your social media, you wonder what may be waiting for you. The worst part about cyber bullying is it follows you everywhere; at home, at school, etc.
While cyber bullying can affect a person at any time or place, it often comes to head at school. If there are rumors, or a private picture circulating for everyone at school to see, simply attending school can provoke anxiety. In many cases, victims of cyber bullying have such bad anxiety about facing schoolmates in this situation, that they stop going to school. It is time that we as as a society treat cyber bullying just as we would physical bullying. It may not leave a scar or bruise visibly on one’s body, but it leaves an emotional wound that may never completely heal. Cyber bullying can take place anytime, anywhere, and creates psychological and emotional burdens for the victim. Since technology is becoming more and more evident in this generation and will only become more prevelant in the future, this would be the time to act.
Courtney from Study Moose
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