Bullying has always been an issue, especially in schools and colleges. And now that the world has gone digital, bullying has found its way into cyberspace.
Studies have shown that kids stand a 78% chance of cyberbullying on YouTube, 69% on Snapchat, 64% on TikTok, and 49% on Facebook. And these victims suffer from these attacks for an extended period of their lives.
This article will reveal what cyberbullying is, its harmful effects, and how it can be tackled.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is any form of unhealthy behavior exerted on anyone through the use of digital technologies.
Kids, teens, and young adults are usually prone to cyberbullying because of the amount of time they spend online.
If you receive nasty comments on posts, pictures, opinions, or get “dragged” on social media, then you’re experiencing cyberbullying.
Most digital platforms are open to the general public, making it impossible to track the effects of all social media activity by users, especially on kids.
The Harmful Effects of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying can be damaging for most people, including those with strong personalities. The effects could be emotional, mental, psychological, behavioral, or even physical.
Some people have lost themselves after such experiences. So, we need to understand the negative impacts of cyberbullying to discern the best ways to tackle it.
- Poor Academic Performance
Victims of cyberbullying have a higher tendency to perform poorly in school because they are distracted by the next wave of harmful stuff coming their way.
As a result, they tend to avoid public discussions and group activities with their classmates. They also often rely on assistance from the do my essay for me services or research paper service with academic tasks to try and keep up with the workload.
With time, they might lose interest in school entirely, harming their concentration levels and academic performance.
- Low Self-Esteem
Most young people are still in their formative years, trying to figure themselves out. If a child encounters bullying because of a physical peculiarity, it can lead them into a downward spiral.
Inappropriate comments and nasty digital conduct toward victims can hurt deeply. And as a result, most cyberbullying victims develop low self-esteem.
Cyberbullying exposes kids to intense degrees of humiliation. Whether it’s a nasty shared post or group chat rumors, it can leave children ashamed of themselves.
Once these things occur, they can take firm roots in a child’s perception of themselves. Eventually, the victim will walk around with an invisible blanket of shame – a terrible burden to carry.
Depression is a severe state of sadness, hopelessness, and unhappiness.
Cyberbullying harasses the victim’s mind, leading to complicated stress conditions. Since most kids prefer not to speak out, they try to deal with the problems by themselves.
In extreme cases, anxiety may set in, and the young person could experience bouts of depression.
Cyberbullying victims resent themselves, which is a terrible experience for a young person. They get angry and begin to resent everything and everyone around them.
This form of resentment runs deep because sometimes cyberbullying can be initiated by friends and classmates. In the long run, the victim could lose their trust in people.
Another widespread trait among people who get cyberbullied is that they avoid contact with other people. This character disorder makes kids become loners because they believe everyone else hates them.
And sometimes, parents ask their children to avoid social media to protect them from online bullies. And inadvertently, the child gets more isolated from their peers — which is a double whammy.
- Eating Disorders
Eating disorders in kids arise when children isolate themselves from regular activity and resort to poor eating habits.
Some children may start skipping meals, starving themselves, while others may begin overeating. Either way, it can produce a horrid physical image of the victim and worsen the situation.
Kids handle hurt differently: some recoil from the larger society, while others might go as far as inflicting physical pain on themselves.
Reports have shown that cyberbullying is a significant cause of suicide in young people. And as things get worse, these feelings of self-harm could motivate them to harm others as well.
- Drug Abuse
Online harassment can push kids to drugs and alcohol use.
Why would children consider drugs? Well, they are desperate for temporary relief from the horrors of cyberbullying.
And the current glorification of drugs in pop culture is not helping matters at all.
How to Tackle Cyberbullying
There’s no magic wand that waves the sad story away, but there are ways for kids, parents, and teachers to tackle cyberbullying without aggravating the situation. Some of these ways include:
- Encouraging Victims to Seek Help
Some young people try to hide their pain, but you can easily spot the effects of cyberbullying on victims.
Don’t ignore the signs. Instead, try to encourage them to speak up and seek help.
Also, victims of sexual harassment through cyberspace are likely to bottle up their feelings. Motivate them to come out of their shell and receive the necessary help.
- Reporting Cyberbullies to the Authorities
Reporting bullies to the authorities deters others and stops all the damage on the victim. Most schools have anti-bullying structures to investigate and discipline bullies.
In cases where the perpetrators are unknown, kids should report such activity to social media authorities, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Most of these platforms have practical anti-cyberbullying tools to de-platform miscreants.
- Protecting Private Information
Always protect your private data, especially pictures, videos, and documents. You can use secure encryption tools to safeguard your online information.
And most importantly, mind the content you share on your feed. Some individuals could use them to harm you and your close ones.
- Offering Moral Support
Moral support from adults or even peers can boost children’s self-esteem. When kids remember there are still people who care about them, it increases their morale to fight such ill-treatment.
Ultimately, your words of encouragement could be a warm blanket on the cold, hard streets of the internet.
Cyberbullying is not a phase kids have to go through in middle or high school. Instead, they should be protected from all kinds of harassment while using digital platforms.
If you’re experiencing any form of cyberbullying, you should talk to an expert and seek help. There’s no need for you to endure pain when you can expel it.
Don’t let the cowards win. Report them right away before they hurt other people!