9 January 2017
In our latest guest column, freelance health writer Jenny Holt writes about the challenges of tackling cyber-bullying. Since 2015 Nil by Mouth has been running the ‘Pause B4U Post’ campaign focusing on the consequences of online hate…
It would be pleasant to live in this world and not experience any form of abuse or racial difference because of how an individual looks, or dresses, but this world has its problems, which are collectively manifested throughout the human race. Any form of bullying is abuse, plain and simple. This can leave the victim with low self-esteem, despair, and even worthlessness. The cycle of self-withdrawal can continue to worsen unless the bullying stops.
Cyber-bullying, however, is a far more direct form of abuse, as it targets primarily an individual, and it encourages others to join in the abuse through peer pressure. Therefore, the psychological impact can leave long lasting trauma in a child or teen that can last well into adulthood.
24/7 and 365 days of Psychological Attack
The popularity of the Internet has made cyber-bullying an easy form of attack for bullies. Even if bullying takes place at work or school, there is a set time when the door closes and you can escape the pain until the following day, but cyber-bullying offers the opportunity for bullies to psychologically attack victims 24/7. It is an extreme and damaging form of abuse that can have lasting trauma on the victim.
Incidents of Cyber-Bullying
Cyberbully.org reports that up to approximately 40 percent of students have, at one time, experienced cyber-bullying, while up to 15 percent of high school students reported abuse via electronic means, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Examples of Cyber-Bullying Abuse
This helpful YouTube video shows a cyber-bully and a victim of cyber-bullying. While the cyber-bully is using psychological methods to isolate the victim, making him or her feel inferior, the cyber-bully can walk away feeling slightly better after belittling someone who was perhaps vulnerable, or of a different race or culture. The victim may withdraw and not speak to parents about the abuse, even ridding the phone or computer of any evidence of cyber-bullying.
Helping Victim of Cyber-Bullying
Friendships may crumble if you experience cyber-bullying, because you may start to mistrust your closest friends. The behavior of students online can be cruel and taunting, especially if you experience online abuse. However, if you have spoken to someone, you have courage and are stronger than you realize. Seek counseling, if you must, but continue to talk about your pain and how the abuse makes you feel. This way you regain control of your emotions; instead of letting emotions control you.
Download the ‘Sit With Us’ App
One particular teenage, Natalie Hampton, created the ‘Sit With Us’ app after she experienced loneliness at lunch periods during her entire seventh grade year. In turn, this made her feel vulnerable, and difference and vulnerability creates an easy target victim for bullies. She created the app so that other vulnerable, possible easy-targets-for-bully students would not have to sit alone during meal times. Another positive of this app is that nobody needs to know that you are using an app to seek friendship with others. To find out more visit the ‘Sit With Us’ Facebook page, or download the app from the iTunes App Store.