Technology has brought many good things, but with the good comes the bad. Cyberbullying is a global crisis that has come from increased access to the internet and electronic devices. Cyberbullying is continuous exposure to intentional aggressive behavior in the cyberspace through electronic devices (Simmons and Bynum 452). Other scholars regard cyberbullying as the use of phones, computers, or other electronic devices to inflict harm on others either directly or anonymously. Bullying, in general, has existed for generations, where a set of people is ridiculed, discriminated, or harassed by another. The prevalence of cyberbullying is due to the extension from traditional bullying by the internet, leading to mental health issues mostly among teenagers.
Cyberbullying is among the critical cybercrimes that prevail globally, affecting millions of people. Studies show that 28% of high school teenagers in the United States are reported to have been bullied in school and the community (Simmons and Bynum 452). Cathy Young reports that depending on the age group of a population sampled, 10-40% of youths experience cyberbullying throughout the world (2). While both Simmons and Bynum and Young studies depict the cyberbullying scenario in the united states – a developed country, other studies report that cyberbullying is also prevalent in low- and middle-income countries such as Brazil (Vieira, Rønning, Mari & Bordin 236). Also, cyberbullying is more prevalent among people who have access to electronic devices and the internet, compared to traditional bullying.
Cyberbullying is an extension of traditional bullying in the age of the internet. According to Vieira, Rønning, Mari & Bordin (236), a sample population with access to the internet is more likely to experience cyberbullying than the population without access to the internet. Notably, both traditional bullying and cyberbullying are comparable. For instance, bullies intend to inflict harm on others through an intentional demean, belittle, harassment, and other actions that humiliate people in both categories. Both are considered as maltreatment of victims or community violence that lead to deficits in emotional regulation capacity and physical harm such as injury (Vieira, Rønning, Mari, and Bordin 236). Besides, traditional bullying and cyberbullying among teens happen in the same techniques, such as out of supervision. However, traditional bullying always happens in-person, unlike cyberbullying, which happens in the cyberspace. Also, cyberbullying happens more often since cyberbullies mostly tend to hide their identity (Simmons and Bynum 453). Therefore, cyberbullying and its implications are aggravated by access to cyberspace, whose fundamental utility is the internet.
Some implications of cyberbullying are dangerous and are potential causes of physical and mental harm. Cyberbullies intend to harass, humiliate, threaten, or belittle someone (Young 1). Also, most cyberbullying victims suffer from depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and in extreme cases, they may end up with suicidal thoughts or act. Notably, such consequences are harmful to a victim’s health, and they compromise their ability to live a relatively better life. Studies have found that besides the health-related impacts, victims tend to isolate, estrange, or develop avoidance behavior since they are afraid of their bullies (Simmons and Bynum 452). Students may feel embarrassed to attend classes, and workers may be embarrassed to attend to their jobs, or loss of opportunities. This mostly happens when the cyberbullying involves leaking or a person’s secret information. Besides, it leads to violence, deliquesce behaviors and other forms of bully and revenge crimes. Hence, cyberbullying is a dangerous act that causes physical and mental harm.
Psychological distress such as anxiety and low self-esteem are some of the mental health issues that arise from cyberbullying. Both implications occur since cyberbullying is prone to happen anywhere and anytime. According to Young (3), bullies only require the internet and an electronic device to terrorize their victims. They are not limited by time or distance to harm their victims. Also, cyberbullies may not realize the harm they cause to the victim since they are not physically present to assess the impact. Therefore, some tend to continuously bully the victims, causing devastating or extreme detrimental impacts (Vieira, Rønning, Mari, and Bordin 236). The pressure due to harassment, humiliation, threats, or belittle, or privacy breach leads to distress. Usually, people are resilient to distress, but the resilience varies significantly from one person to another, or between categories of people. Therefore, the implications of cyberbullying are more server on some people compared to others.
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Cyberbullying and its implications are most prevalent among teenagers in developed countries. Pew Research reports that 95% of the teens in the United States have access to smartphones, and almost half of them are continually using the gadgets (Anderson 4). Among them, 59% of teens reports having experienced online bullyings such as name-calling, defamation, threats, or intimidating interrogations (Anderson 3). The rate of cyberbullying is attributed to the irrational use of electronic devices or elusive behavior in cyberspace.
Overall, cyberbullying prevails as an extension of traditional bullying due to the internet, and it leads to mental health issues mostly among teenagers. Cyberbullying is worse than traditional bullying since it is not limited to space and time. Besides federal laws and ethical guidelines that combat cybercrimes, there is a need for community education about responsible use of the internet. That way, teenagers will learn the implications of elusive behaviors in cyberspace, and appropriate intervention to cybercrimes that would prevent physical or mental harm.
Anderson, Monica. “A Majority Of Teens Have Experienced Some Form Of Cyberbullying”. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 2018, https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2018/09/27/a-majority-of-teens-have-experienced-some-form-of-cyberbullying/. Accessed 13 May 2020.
GLSEN. “The Experiences Of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Youth On The Internet”. Glsen.Org, 2013, https://www.glsen.org/sites/default/files/2020-01/Out_Online_Full_Report_2013.pdf.
Simmons, Kate D., and Yvette P. Bynum. “Cyberbullying: Six Things Administrators Can Do”. Education, vol 134, no. 4, 2014, Accessed 13 May 2020.
Vieira, Marlene A. et al. “Does Cyberbullying Occur Simultaneously With Other Types Of Violence Exposure?”. Brazilian Journal Of Psychiatry, vol 41, no. 3, 2019, pp. 234-237. Fapunifesp (Scielo), doi:10.1590/1516-4446-2018-0047. Accessed 13 May 2020.
Young, Cathy. “How Bad Is Online Harassment?”. Reason.Com, 2020, https://reason.com/2020/03/22/how-bad-is-online-harassment/.