For a very long time people were worried about being a victim of bullying. Today the concern is more about being the victim of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as the act of bullying an individual by means of harassment or threatening through electronic communication strictly. It can also be a place where peers humiliate others by harassing them, according to authors Hinduja and Patchin. (https://www-sciencedirect-com.muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S0145213417303411). Bullying has always been around, and has always been a problem. Cyberbullying has come into play as our technology has become more advanced, specifically, when the internet became accessible to the general public. Though they may sound similar, cyberbullying and traditional bullying have significant differences and cyberbullying in particular has its own lasting impact on individuals and society as a whole that can only be alleviated if all people stand together to deal with this problem.
Cyberbullying tends to differ from traditional bullying in the sense that it can make a victim feel more isolated. NICHD research studies were able to prove that individuals who get bullied through the web are at a higher risk of developing depression versus individuals who are bullied in the traditional way. In terms of the bully, a bully who is cyberbullying someone online has an extra degree of protection as they are able to hide behind the screen, especially since they can harass their target anonymously. The added degree of security that hiding behind a screen provides to the bully promotes an environment in which an individual who under normal circumstances would not be inclined to bully, now has the green light and protection to do so. People will only take responsibility when they know that they will be held accountable. The internet provides a barrier that makes the bully feel safe.With traditional bullying you knew exactly who your bully is, and the bully had to deal with possible consequences in real time. Another difference between the two is that cyberbullying can occur at any time or any place, with traditional bullying usually the bully and the victim had to be in the same place typically during school hours or at the same location and times every week. While now, anyone can find a message from a cyberbully, from the time they wake up all the way until the time they go to sleep. They can also find it during school hours or even in the privacy of their own home. This is what makes it so much harder to avoid being a victim of cyberbullying; because it can happen anywhere you go.
Due to the unique nature of cyberbullying being a virtual phenomenon it can be very hard to escape from. Often it can feel like the only way out is to isolate oneself from the internet. This can be very difficult since it’s not the kind of problem that makes an individual want to run away immediately, instead it is more indirect. This can become very dangerous to victims because it can make them feel isolated and abandoned with no place to run. For example, victims of cyberbullying are never left alone since harassment can reach them anywhere they are. More importantly the victims of cyberbullying are at high risk for a myriad of mental health problems as explained by Person and Landstedt (http://journals.sagepub.com.muhlenberg.idm.oclc.org/doi/full/10.1177/1403494814525004).
Cyberbullying is a phenomenon that has just as much of an emotional toll on the actual bully than it does to the victim. Both the bully and victim will be typically suffering from some sort of emotional problems, whether it is depression, insecurity, or even anxiety. Someone who is being bullied is likely to have trouble getting along with peers or can be constantly worried about fitting in. The bully could also be suffering from hyperactivity, which is better known as ADHD. Research also shows that bullies are at high risk of abusing drugs and alcohol due to trying to escape their pain, Morgan explains ( https://turbofuture.com/internet/Cyberbullying-and-Social-Media).It is important to understand that cyberbullying does damage to both the bully and his/her victim. For the victim they may constantly feel a sense of loneliness or exclusion overall. People who are harassed via cyberbullying will start to have low esteem since they have someone bringing them down or making them feel as if they are worthless. The worst part of it all is that victims of cyberbullying might start having thoughts of suicide. Unfortunately the suicide rates of victims of cyberbullying are only increasing. A study done by Dr. Michele Ybarra shows that approximately nine percent of children active on the web are victims in some way shape or form of internet harassment. Another interesting fact that came from her research shows that only half of the victims being harassed online know exactly who is harassing them. Dr. Ybarra also interestingly found that both females and males were equally involved in all this (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3383604/). Cyberbullying is only getting worse and worse as we speak, and for many it is the cause of their death. As a society we need to be made more aware of the many impacts it can have on everyone involved. Too often we see someone being cyberbullied and think well what’s this got to do with me, when in reality it can have a lot to do with you.
As a whole our society needs to focus more on the matter of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying affects the lives of not just one, but most of us. It can happen to anyone in their everyday lives, and what’s worse is that it can even happen to you! So what is the solution to all this? What is a way that we can help reduce cyberbullying from occurring or what is something we can do to help it from getting worse if it had already occured? Each and everyone of us plays a vital role in taking action when it comes to cyberbullying. A very common way we tell someone to put up with a cyberbully is by just simply blocking them. Which for the most part can work, however, it can not always be the proper solution. A simple thing can make all the difference to someone who is being cyberbullied. For example, if you are scrolling past a certain social media site you may see someone being harassed or receiving negative comments on a photo they posted, you can make a simple gesture of directly messaging that victim and remind them of their worth or tell them that the thing negative things being said about them is not true at all. Another huge thing you can do is take down, report, or delete the post if it is public. In terms of dealing with the bully we can help remind them of their worth and make them realize that they are much better than being a cyberbully. More importantly, I think we need to raise more awareness to the bully about the serious dangers or impacts they can leave on a certain individual. However, at the same time we can educate the victim about the bully’s emotional state. It deserves repeating again that many times the bullies themselves are in a state of emotional or mental trauma, and often aren’t in the right frame of mind. If the bully is reminded what they are doing is wrong and why it is wrong their perspective can change as well.
Cyberbullying has become a very important issue in our society, taking the lives many. Its impacts on anyone can be very long lasting and can destroy them both physically and mentally. If we all stand together against this cruelty, we can help in alleviating the pain and distress cyberbullying brings into the lives of so many. Awareness of this matter needs to be raised in order to educate people all over. If everyone is made aware of the effects of cyberbullying, they can clearly see just how important it is and help take a stand against it.