What Are the Effects of Cyberbullying: Countless children have been bullied while growing up. From teased and made fun of to being harassed, bullying has always been the ugly face of our society. In the days of yore, bullying was only limited to places where you were physically present, be it a high school, park, or a mall.
With the advent of technology, the problem of bullying has been magnified due to the internet and social media. The youth of today are being subjected to a very ferocious form of bullying under cover of anonymity with the help of technological gadgets such as a laptop, cell phone, tablet, etc.
This type of bullying takes place with the help of digital technology such as email, social media sites, text messages via cell phones, etc. Cyberbullies tend to spread rumors online, or post embarrassing videos and photos, or create fake profiles to portray a completely false image.
What Are the Effects of Cyberbullying
Unlike the traditional types of bullying, cyberbullying happens at higher rates because you can’t confront the harasser: even the sacred space of your home isn’t safe from the bullies anymore, and it has very negative impacts on the mind of the children.
There are various Cyber Harassment laws and authorities which provide protection from the cyberbullies as well. Let’s take a look at how this type of bullying is affecting the lives of children around us.
Emotional Impacts of Cyberbullying
- Feeling Helpless and Powerless
If a person is the target of a cyberbully, they feel a wide range of emotions. You feel overwhelmed, stressed, and at times it feels as if the whole world is coming to an end. The stress of dealing with a cyberbully becomes a lot to handle, and you start to feel hopeless, helpless, and powerless.
The bully can invade your safe space through a cellphone or computer any time they want, and it feels as if there is no place to escape.
- Self-harm and Suicide
Bullying leads to teens harming themselves, and at times, taking their own lives and committing suicide due to poor mental health. For instance, if someone is being called fat online, they may start crash dieting that will negatively impact their physical well-being.
Suicidal thoughts are a common effect of cyber harassment, and we often see cyberbullied kids taking their lives because they can’t deal with it anymore.
- Cycle of Anxiety
People who are bullied online often succumb to depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental issues. This usually happens because bullying erodes their self-esteem and self-confidence. The added burden of dealing with cyberbullying, along with other issues in life, gets a lot for a single person to handle. They develop a pessimistic attitude towards life, have low self-esteem and a sense of self-worth.
- Physical Impacts of Cyberbullying
When teens get cyberbullied, not only does their mental health deteriorate, but they start to become physically unstable as well. They often experience various physical ailments such as stomachaches, headaches, stress-related ulcers, skin conditions, etc.
Moreover, it is very likely the eating habits of cyberbullying victims will change as well, such as binge-eating, stress-eating, or skipping meals altogether. Furthermore, the sleep patterns of these kids are likely to be impacted, as well. They suffer from insomnia, have nightmares, or sleep for a longer period of time to escape reality.
How do you deal with Online bullying
Even though bullying is hard to put a stop to because the perpetrators remain anonymous, there are various measures that you can take to mitigate its effects.
- Don’t respond and engage
Cyberbullies often spread lies about a person or use offensive language. They are looking for a reaction from you. We know that it is hard not to respond and try to clear the air, but we advise you strongly against it. If you reply to the cyberbully, it will only encourage them and will escalate the situation for you.
- Document the evidence
Most of the time, people don’t report cyberbullying because they don’t think of demeaning texts and posts as evidence. However, the e-texts, posts on social media, comments, etc. are as important as physical signs of bullying. Therefore, you need to make sure that you keep a record of them and show them to your parents, teachers, counselors, etc. when you ask for their help.
- Seek Help
We know that it seems too much to talk to someone else about your problems, and you might want to handle them on your own. However, you don’t have to. There are school counselors, helplines, and authorities meant to help you out in case you are in such a situation.
Seek professional help so that you can get out of this circle of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness. You can call the confidential helpline for cyber harassment, knowing that your identity will be kept safe.
As bullying is increasing, more and more children are getting affected by it. The lack of face-to-face interaction makes it very easy for young people to go from joking to bullying very easily. Due to the complete anonymity of the cyberbully, the victim feels a lot more helpless, since they are unable to identify the source of these vicious attacks, let alone put a stop to them.
Proper measures and precautions need to be taken in order to ensure that cyberbullying is curbed and people are protected, emotionally, and physically. You can get help from your school counselors, your teachers, etc. If you don’t want to take help from your school, you can contact the proper authorities, and they will definitely give their best and solve your issue.