How Cyber-Bullying affects Young People's Lives
Uploading stories, pictures, and every small detail of life on social media platforms have become common, like some routine that you cannot miss. But, behind all the pictures and happiness, sometimes there lies a story that’s unknown to the world.
But every coin has a flip side to it. The increased use of social media has resulted in higher instances of cyber-bullying. Internet trolls are so common nowadays that the pros of social media are getting suppressed with the toxicity of online bullying. The effect of cyber-bullying is scary and honestly, it hampers youngsters the most.
Understanding the Concept of Cyber-Bullying
Also known as cyber-harassment, it is a form of bullying, oppressing, or commenting nasty things on someone through an electronic means. With increased exposure and an easy medium, online bullying is now commonplace. Bullying can include rumours, threats, and sexual remarks, leaking intimate chats, personal information, hate speeches, and other such harmful behaviour. For bullies, it is a form of fun and enjoyment but the one getting bullied is severely scarred for life; the effect that it leaves on the victim is sometimes beyond repair. Especially in young people, cyber-bullying can lead to suicidal thoughts and attempts, negative emotions, low self-esteem, depression, and many other mental and health effects.
Then there is cyber-stalking, a form of bullying where the offender uses social media sites to stalk the victim. Such people can go to the extent of gathering personal information and use it to their advantage to threaten the victim. Even though social media sites have introduced profile picture guards that prevent from taking screenshots of someone’s picture; cyber-stalkers still find a way. Such offences are not only disheartening but also highly shameful. You see, everything comes with pros and cons – digital media has helped mankind in several ways but also given leewayto a population which fosters malicious intent when it comes to using social media.
Effect of Cyber-Bullying on Young Lives
Well, the impact is very harsh. While adults can still manage to tackle them subtly,many young ones aren’t mentally equipped to. Here are some of the effects of cyber-bullying that can be most commonly seen in youngsters: –
- Increased level of stress and anxiety
- Lower productivity at work
- Poor academic performance
- Constant fear of loneliness
- Disturbed and distracted
- Lower self-confidence
- Feelings of depression
- Unexpressed emotions
- Poor health status
- No proper sleep
- Issues of trusting something/someone
- In some extreme cases, cyber-bullying can lead to suicide attempts as well.
Why are Young Lives Affected Easily and What Can Parents/Guardians Do?
As a parent or guardian, the one question that should arise in your mind is why youngsters go through such turmoil and no one notices it? Honestly, you do notice a change in behaviour and all but sometimes, you just think that your child is being a brat, don’t you? It is not your fault and it is definitely not the fault of your child. But, the fear of how parents or society will react stops the victim from sharing their pain of experiencing online bullying. They need helping hands from their close ones to overcome this impact. Here’s what you can do: –
- Be proactive with them about such incidents
- Talk calmly
- Try to understand the situation
- Help them overcome the chaos brewing in their mind
- Always keep the environment cheerful and happy
Other than this, you can also ensure that: –
- Your child knows what the forms of cyber-bullying are
- Make sure that your child knows how to block, delete, or report an account that is bullying them online
- Ensure that your child doesn’t display their phone number, email ID, or other such personal information on their accounts
- Check if all the account privacy settings are done accurately
- Most importantly, try to get your child engaged in more offline activities.
If reports are to be stated, most of the cyber-bullying cases go unnoticed as victims and their families choose not to complain. There are special units of the police force that deal with such cyber-crimes to help the victims. As responsible citizens, speak up against cyber-bullying so that the stigma associated with it goes away and the perpetrators are discouraged for good.