Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying: A Growing Social Problem

The first question that arrives here in our minds is that what exactly is cyberbullying? Cyberbullying is causing someone an emotional setback by using the means of the internet, mobile phone, or any other form of technology. This emotional setback can be a result of hateful or abusive words, picture and videos intended to humiliate, embarrass, hurt, insult, threaten or harass the targeted person or his sentiments. People face cyberbullying from an age as early as 7-9 years old, whereas it is most common in teenagers. Social media is a major platform that facilitates this type of bullying.

Cyberbullying is often regarded as a form of drama, an act of attention-seeking, non-serious trolls, or just a source of fun. But it is as real as the issue of gender equality or people's mental health, and hence, it must be taken very seriously. The victims go through real trauma and find it hard to cope with it. This problem needs to be considered and addressed ASAP as any other form of bullying or harassment.

Social media has obviously served as a major source of cyberbullying and such sorts of harassment. With an increase in the use of the internet and more social media platforms being introduced with time, the rate of cyberbullying has also been increased. Spreading rumors about a person or leaking his/her personal data is another way of cyberbullying. This type of bullying has as serious consequences as damaging someone's overall reputation, harming their career, causing them mental health issues, hurting their emotions, and eventually affecting their self-esteem. It is more dangerous than the bullying that occurs in person as it can reach out to you anywhere at any time destroying your overall mental peace. It does not wait for you to come back from a vacation or go to work. Anyone can become a victim of cyberbullying at any time. Thus, it can be said that because of the internet, nobody is safe from cyberbullying in any location and at any point in time.

The rumors about a person or his/her private content are possible to reach a much larger audience at a very high speed now as it was before. Thus, the survey has proved that every other teenager is somehow involved in this act of Cyberbullying without actually realizing it either as a bully, a victim, a spectator, or someone who is partially participating in it or somewhat facilitating it. Think for yourself. We do this every day. We share a lot of stuff about different people with plenty of social media accounts daily without having their consent or even without investigating for ourselves about the validity of its content. By facilitating this act or just enjoying it and gossiping about it as an audience, we become a part of its cause as we have no idea about their legitimacy and how it is affecting the victim.

Consequences of Cyberbullying

The kids or teenagers that are the victims of cyberbullying often find themselves facing depression, anxiety, a sense of fear, involved in negative thoughts, and struggling with their self-esteem. Their academic records and interest in studies speak about their mental health. The cyberbullying often causes the victim to get embarrassed in front of a whole audience. This results in feelings of self-doubts and lack of self-confidence. Being trolled in front of a huge audience causes a sense of overwhelmingness that things are totally beyond the control of the victim and they are going to remain the same. A strong sense of fear develops in them as cyberbullying often occurs anonymously, and such types of bullies can reach you anywhere, breaching your privacy and invading your home. It develops a feeling of being unsafe everywhere.

Rumors and leaked data on such huge platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, where a single post can reach millions and billions of people in a single minute cause the victim to feel another level of humiliation. Being exposed in front of such a large audience makes you feel so vulnerable and insecure. And when you know that once a thing is out there on the internet, it can’t be erased; the feelings of humiliation and embarrassment are incomparable.

The victims of cyberbullying often feel that they are worthless and have absolutely no value. This self-questioning often leads to self-harm. We can take the example of fat-shaming here. The people who are fat-shamed often find themselves engaged in crash routines or following crash diets. These routines are never healthy and cause a lot of physical and emotional stress.

Another serious consequence of cyberbullying is when the victims feel betrayed. This results in feelings of aggression and vengefulness. The victims want their revenge, and thus, they may engage in dangerous activities to retaliate. It can be very serious at times because killings and attempts to murders have also been recorded in the past.

The kids who are victims of cyberbullying usually suffer academically too. They often find excuses to skip school so they can avoid facing those who are bullying them. They feel completely isolated, and this sense that the whole world has stood up against them develops in them. The role of the parents is very important here because they are often seen forcing or scolding their kids because of their poor grades in such situations. Kids should be handled very carefully at such times, and their emotional health should be seriously taken into consideration.

Along with all the psychological and emotional stress, victims of cyberbullying may also experience some physical stress as well. Stomachaches, headaches, skin conditions, and other stress-related diseases may appear in them. They find themselves sleeping all day or couldn’t sleep at all. Basically, their eating and sleeping patterns get affected, and they may also feel insomnia.

The last consequence that we are going to highlight here is the most serious one. Nowadays we often hear on the news that someone at some place attempted suicide due to a lot of stress or indirectly bullying. The bitter truth here is that it is becoming very common. Thus, it has to be regarded very seriously. Kids could not handle such an amount of pressure at such an age. Hence, they feel suicidal. This especially happens when your closed ones are also not understanding and supporting you in such a critical situation. This is why the family of the victims of cyberbullying can play a very important role in their lives. They are the ones who can help them rebuild their self-esteem with care and love.

How can the victims of Cyberbullying be helped?

The victims of cyberbullying are going through trauma and need emotional support. If they share their experience with you, you got to assure them that it was the right thing to do and that you understand what they must be going through with. Do not let them feel that it was a mistake to trust you. Contact any necessary authorities report cybercrime but take them into confidence first. They must be made to understand about its importance and how it is going to help them. Reassure them that what happened to them was wrong, and nobody has the right or the power to do so. But discourage them from replying then in any way. Do not let them take the matter in their own hands. Try to suppress their feelings of revenge and let the authorities take action.

If someone is threatening or blackmailing them privately, advise them to ignore it completely, and do not respond in any way. If you are not their family, ask them to take their family in confidence, and if they are afraid to do so, help them in conveying all the situation to their families and make sure they understand. If cyberbullying is happening in public in front of a huge audience, try reporting or blocking the data. Report it to cybercrime authorities and advise them to stay quiet. Speak for them and try to clear the air using one of the same forms of platforms or ask anyone from their family or friends to do so.

Conclusion

Cyberbullying has become very common due to the increased use of mobiles and the internet. Nobody is safe anywhere in the world. Cyberbullies can reach you sitting in your own space at your own personal homes. Mostly teenagers become the target of this crime. They are the ones who get most affected as they are in the age when what others think about you matters the most. Cyberbullying is as serious an issue as to any other in the world. It can damage one's mental health and make him feel suicidal or vengeful. People need massive emotional support to cope up with these situations. Families and close ones of the victims should make sure that they do not feel isolated. They must be aware of their mental condition and help them think positively. Governments should develop certain authorities and institutions in their countries that deal with cyber crimes. cyberbullying

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