Cyberbullying is a specific type of bullying that occurs through a computer or any electronic device. Becoming a victim of cyberbullying is very easy, due to the simple fact that everyone has access to an electronic device. Teenagers are the common victims of bullies. The adolescent stage in a person’s life is a time of growth where young adults start to discover who they really are. At this stage, they are easily influenced by others. They become easy prey to bullies online and this constant bullying causes negative effects on their lives.
Cyberbullying causes significant emotional and psychological damage, which can lead to depression and result in the academic struggle.
Technology is used by everyone, consistently. At home, in school, hospitals, and business. Meaning that Cyberbullying can take place anywhere and at any time. Teenagers are the largest group that uses technology. 95% of teens in the U.S. are online, and the vast majority access the internet on their mobile devices, making it the most common medium for cyberbullying (Hinduja and Patchin 3).
It is easy for teenagers to become victims because they are able to access the internet through their mobile devices 24/7. At this stage in life, teenagers are easily influenced by others. They become targets who are easily harassed and threatened by those who prey on others online.
Fear, anxiety, low-self-esteem are the main types of emotional distress victims experience. These effects are not only severe but can also be long-term. Feeling overwhelmed, powerless, and vulnerable are all traits that come with being a victim.
Victims find it difficult to feel safe and they being to feel crushed by the comments they read every day. It is impossible for victims to feel safe when bullies are no longer hurting them physically but invading their minds through a computer or cell phone. They feel powerless because they are unable to stop the person who is attacking.
Bullies are anonymous which contributes to victims feeling vulnerable because they are unaware of who is causing them pain. A research conducted by US National Institutes of Health Victims stated that Cyberbullying victims show more signs of depression than any other bullying victims. Those who suffer from depression because of Cyberbullying become unhappy with themselves. They acquire low-self-esteem as a result of what bullies say to them. Teenagers can suffer from depression in their teenage years and it can be carried out to their adult years.
Whenever a victim opens their device or just simply revives a text they fear what it might contain. It is a haunting thought to think that many teenagers feel that the only solution to their problem is simply not existing. Bullying behavior, whether it is the bully or target, is linked hand in hand to suicidal behavior. According to a study held by Yale University, victims of bullying are 7-9% more likely to consider suicide. This percentage might be small but when it comes to the life of a human being, one life lost to suicide is already too much. Victims are overwhelmed by the many emotions they express because of depression that they take matters into their own hands. They do this thinking they are helpless and it is the only way to the constant harassment they experience. Bullies are able to hurt others so much that victims often feel that suicide is the only option.
People often forget how powerful words are and how much they can affect how a person views themselves. These hurtful words can cause a long term effect on the victim’s life. It not only affects how they see themselves but also how they view others and the world around them. Constant feeling of anguish and distress becomes an everyday emotion for victims.
Victims experience trauma from their everyday emotions caused by bullying. Teenagers begin to lose interest in things they once loved to do and their life starts to slowly lose its meaning. They see no point in doing something they love when they are receiving backlash from an anonymous face on the internet. Spending time with friends and loved ones seem pointless. Being alone becomes a habit and losing a relationship with people they love becomes normal. This is all caused by an anonymous user who preys on teenagers’ insecurities and faults. It becomes difficult for victims to identify their attackers because their identity is unknown on the internet. As a result, teenagers distance themselves from the world around them to avoid getting hurt.
The effects of cyberbullying are not only seen emotionally and psychologically on teenagers but also in their school life. A study conducted by the NIH explains that being bullied interfere with scholastic achievement, development of social skills, and general feelings of well being. Victims begin to lose interest in school and anything that they used to enjoy. They began to refuse to participate in class and extracurricular activities. They begin to pull away from their friends and they isolate themselves from everyone around them. They fail to execute class assignments which results in an unexpected drop in their grades. The bullying often results in the victim turning to rebellious actions. This action includes leaving school before it is over or simply just not attending. Some victims even become disrespectful to others and those who try to help them. A simple tweet can cause a variety of effects on the life of teenagers. Yet, these many effects do not stop attackers from preying on those who use the internet.
In order to stop teenagers from reaching this traumatic point in their lives, it is important to know the signs of Cyberbullying in order to stop it. Victims become scared to use social media or their electric devices. They become anxious when using their phones when it rings or vibrates. They also refuse to share what they do online with others. Teenagers become secretive with they do on their electronic devices and hide it in order to prevent people from finding out they are victims of Cyberbullying. These teens become restless. Loss of sleep is an indicator that someone is a victim. Victims are haunted by what bullies say to them that they are incapable of sleeping through the night. This results in teens feeling exhausted throughout the day and failing to achieve all that they would on a normal day.
The fact that teens are constantly connected to technology means they are susceptible to victimization (and able to act on mean impulses toward others) around the clock (Hinduja and Patchin 4). This is why preventions need to be established. The same way people need to be aware of the signs of Cyberbullying, they need to be aware of how to prevent it. Once people learn how to prevent, learning the signs will not be necessary. The impost important step is to educate people. The perfect place to start off is in schools. Students must be educated on the subject and learn about how to use electronic devices responsibly. Students need to learn that harassing and threatening others is not acceptable. Not only students should be educated but also the entire community, as well as people around the world. Limiting education only to students does not overrule the fact that they are the only victims.
Nowadays technology is used for everything. It helps people in their everyday life, and it makes it simpler to stay in touch with the world. However, it can still be misused. It can become a painful tool used by people to belittle others. At the end of the day, someone needs to take charge. People need to be informed, take action, and help those who are victims. When these actions are taken in place, a friendly internet environment can be created for those who will use technology in the future.
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