What Are the Effects of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying has become an ever-growing problem mostly amongst teens. It comes with all of the emotional damage as verbal, social, and physical bullying, except with the added fact that it is online for everyone to see. All bullying is hard to handle, but online bullying can be worse, it enables the bully to remain anonymous, and it is can never be fully taken down, the Internet is forever.
DoSomething.org is an organization that fights bullying in all forms, cyber and otherwise. Cyberbullying is easier than any other type of bullying, “81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person” (11 Facts About Cyber Bullying). This is true, cyber bullying is easier to get away with. There is a whole litany of excuses that people can use to get away with cyber bullying, a few could be: someone hacked my account, my friend had my phone, or it was just a joke. In addition to these excuses people can post things anonymously, hide behind no name at all; just remain nameless and faceless. Additionally, bullying in person means you have to look at the individual you are bullying, you can see how it affects them, and even the most heartless bullies can still feel the impact they have. In turn, there is no face to face contact when online bullying occurs, no ability to see how it affects the person being bullied at the moment.
What Are the Consequences of Cyberbullying
One of the ways that cyberbullying is worse than other forms of bullying is that it can never be fully taken down, it is on the Internet, it is there forever. Long after everyone else forgets the bullying ever occurred the person who was bullied will know exactly where to find it and occasionally go back and read what was said. Furthermore, once it is posted people will comment on what the bully has said, whether they are defending the person being bullied or are just adding insult to injury and piggybacking on what the bully had said.
Cyberbullying leads to psychological issues just the same as other forms of bullying, thirty percent of students resorted to self-harm as a result of having been bullied online another thirty percent of those bullied online had suicidal thoughts (Cyberbullying Facts and Statistics). Bullying someone to the point where they feel their best option is to take their life is horrible, whether it is online or in person. Psychological issues are nothing to mess with, teens have enough going against them without feeling like someone is out to get them at school or online as well. Though it may not seem like a large number, ten percent of youth today have tried to take their own lives as a result of bullying (Cyberbullying Facts and Statistics). Ten percent of all youth is not a large number, but ten percent is still too many people when it comes to suicide attempts; the number should be zero, no one should feel like their best option in life is suicide.
Personal Experience and What to Do About Cyberbullying
This is a subject I am passionate about, I was cyberbullied for six years, throughout middle and high school. I was and still am a theater nerd, I spent my days building sets and acting onstage. I was not popular at all, though I desperately wanted to be. I started talking to some of the popular kids in school and thought they had finally accepted me into their group, I was wrong. I thought they were my friends, so I invited them to one of the productions I was in, they came, they took pictures, and they used them to mock me in one of their blogs. The mocked my appearance, my performance, and just about every other thing they could mock me for. This destroyed my self-esteem, the little self-esteem I had left. I was crushed, I thought these people were my friends. I did not know what else to do, I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it, so I stayed silent. I turned to self-harm, and when this stopped comforting me, I tried to take my own life. I do not tell you this to get sympathy, but in order to establish that I have dealt with both online and in person bullying and neither is better than the other, they both leave a person crushed and feeling like they have no value.
To this end, here are several strategies for fighting cyberbullying based on both my personal experience and advice from professionals:
- Try to refrain from responding, yet save the evidence. Then, you can block the bully where such an option is available – on social networks, messengers, phone, etc.
- Don’t keep all that’s happening secret – tell everything to someone you can trust and reach out for help.
- Report about cyberbullying to the Internet provider and teachers (if the bully is from your school).
- Always and under any circumstances remember that it’s not your fault.
Online bullying is no better than in-person bullying, they are harmful to a person psychologically and sometimes physically. It is not a joking matter, and it can ruin lives.
“11 Facts About Cyber Bullying.” DoSomething.org | Volunteer for Social Change,
“Cyberbullying Facts and Statistics.” TeenSafe, 8 May 2017,