While it is a useful and universally renowned service, the Internet is not void of abuse. One of its most common forms is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as “the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.” (Google). Cyberbullying happens mostly among teens, as a study in 2016 showed that a third of all teens online were cyberbullied in some form.
Cyberbullying can have lasting psychological effects on the victim. A study from ScienceDirect shows that students “under great emotional stress, are unable to concentrate on their studies, and thus their academic progress is adversely affected.” Since the attack is through a medium which can’t be handled by an authority easily, unlike the real world, where there’s an adult or teacher, it is up to the victim to handle the situation. Most times, the damage will already be done, and the victim undergoes stress and worry.
Cyberbullying varies from gender to gender as well. According to ScienceDirect, females are more likely to cyberbully because it is an “indirect form of aggression,” whereas males are more likely to be involved in direct aggression. A study from 174 students in India showed that males were more likely to target others in person, and were more likely to be targets of offline and online aggression. The important thing to remember is that cyberbullying hurts the receiver, no matter the gender or age of the person.
If someone you know is being cyberbullied, don’t stand by and let it happen. Help them out by blocking the offenders and reassuring them that they’ll be alright. Have them seek out help with adults, block the person, and save evidence for later if necessary. Most important of all, don’t cyberbully anyone yourself! Think of the receiver of hateful messages and how you’d feel if you got them. Cyberbullying is a problem that can be addressed if we all work together.
Google definition of cyberbullying