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Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the new social networking standards among the young adults and teenagers. The use of social media subjects youths to the dangers of cyberbullying. Indeed, cases of cyberbullying are on the rise in the United States. Scholars hold that children who are victims of cyberbullying are likely to suffer from depression, poor sleep, anxiety, and unhappiness among other psychological challenges. As more youths continue to use social media, there is a need for enactment of federal laws to curb cyberbullying and prosecute offenders. This report will discuss the impacts of cyberbullying on youths today.
Impacts of Cyberbullying
According to Craig et al., the victims and architects of cyberbullying exhibit numerous psychological signs, which include feeling nervous, agitation, helplessness, and loneliness (607). They claim that the victims of cyberbullying are always fearful and experience social difficulties. A study carried out on children in Norway confirmed that victims of cyberbullying have low self-esteem. Craig et al. claim that the youths remain with the challenge of low self-esteem for a long time. The challenge might persist even when they become adults. According to Craig et al. Youths who encounter different forms of cyberbullying are likely to engage in behaviors that might be self-harming. For instance, some victims suffer from eating disorders and self-mutilation. The girls who are victims of cyberbullying are at a high risk of experiencing eating disorders. The victims of cyberbullying also suffer from physical signs like stomachache, dizziness, backache, and headache. Craig et al. posit, “The more frequent the bullying, the more the young person is likely to experience symptoms of ill health, whether physical, emotional or mental” (608).
Craig et al. allege that youths who are victims of cyberbullying suffer from paranoia and phobic anxiety. “The stress associated with the bullying can also lead to the teenage suffering from stress-related conditions such as skin diseases and stomach ulcers” (Craig et al. 609). Some teenagers also suffer from binge eating and variations in sleep patterns. Craig et al. maintain that cyberbullying leads to the victims suffering from apnea or insomnia. The youths experience horrifying nightmares that disturb their sleep. Moreover, they exhibit psychosomatic signs like sleeplessness and abdominal pain. On the other hand, the young people who perpetrate cyberbullying suffer from a severe headache.
Donegan claims that cyberbullying subjects teenagers to stress and strain. In return, it leads to the young people exhibiting deviant behaviors. According to Donegan, many adolescents engage in criminal activities due to exposure to cyberbullying (35). Victims of cyberbullying go through a vicious cycle that compels them to participate in criminal activities as a defensive mechanism. As the youths look for ways to vent their frustration, they engage in antisocial behaviors.
Many youths who fall victims of cyberbullying are convicted of crimes. In most cases, the coping mechanisms that victims of cyberbullying adopt do not bear fruits. Instead, they exacerbate the overall quandary of improper conduct. Donegan supposes that youths do not prefer seeking assistance from counselors. Instead, they opt to resolve problems their way. Failure to settle the issue of cyberbullying leads to the youths becoming desperate. They become lost in emotional distress. The research by Donegan concludes that both the perpetrator and victim of cyberbullying are hurt emotionally. In return, they feel insecure. At times, the troubled youths may decline to go to school, thus performing poorly in their studies. Donegan cites violent thoughts and suicidal ideation as the extreme impacts of cyberbullying. He claims that homicide cases are prevalent among the victims of cyberbullying (37). Besides, cyberbullying is the third leading cause of fatality among the youths in the United States. According to Donegan, the victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying have a high chance of contemplating suicide, attempting to commit suicide and even committing it.
According to Faryadi, cyberbullying results in peer rejection among the young people (2253). The teenagers who suffer from peer rejection develop negative perceptions about the school, thus performing poorly in class. The adolescents fear getting scoffed at by their colleagues. As a result, they stop participating in group discussions and have difficulties in handling assignments. According to Faryadi, youths who are cyberbullied perform poorly academically. The bullying distracts the students making it hard for them to pay attention to academics. Cyberbullying leads to the students losing interest in studies. Additionally, the students start viewing school in a negative way. They start failing to report in class, therefore not being able to follow the classes consistently. Further, the teenagers stop participating in lesson.
Faryadi claims that cyberbullying has a wide audience. Information shared on social media reaches a wide audience. In most cases, victims of cyberbullying cease going to school due to fear that their colleagues know about the damaging information about them that is posted on social media. Eventually, some students end up dropping out of school while others perform poorly making it hard for them to progress to the next class. Faryadi holds that cyberbullying results in long-term changes in the mind of the victim. It becomes hard for the victim to remember whatever is taught in class. In other cases, the students are unable to concentrate in class or learn anything.
Faryadi claims that cyberbullying has adverse impacts on the perpetrators. The bullies spend a lot of time on the internet. They direct all their energy to cyberbullying, therefore having no time to study or do assignments. Besides, the perpetrators of cyberbullying experience anxiety since they fear being noticed. Hence, they are never at peace. Faryadi posits that it becomes hard for the bullies to study in a troubled environment. Accordingly, they do not do well in their studies.
Cyberbullying causes a lot of humiliation to young girls. At times, the girls are powerless and unable to deal with the challenge. The victims of cyberbullying decline to interact with their colleagues. Consequently, the turn to alcohol consumption to relieve the emotional pain associated with rejection or loneliness. Selkie et al. claim that youths who encounter unwarranted sexual advances through social media, suffer from severe depression. The study by Selkie et al. concluded that perpetrators of cyberbullying are at a high risk of engaging in alcohol and substance abuse. The survey found that a majority of the college girls who perpetrated cyberbullying were addicted to alcohol.
Cyberbullying has numerous adverse impacts on the youths today. Victims of cyberbullying experience emotional and physical challenges, which force them to indulge in alcohol and drug abuse. Further, some victims lose interest in studies, thus performing poorly in class. Cyberbullying also affects the offenders. Perpetrator of cyberbullying devote most of their time to perpetuating the vice. Hence, they do not have time to concentrate on studies, therefore failing academically. The offenders also indulge in alcohol and drug abuse.
Craig, Hase, Goldberg Simon, Smith Douglas, Stuck Andrew and Campain Jessica. “Impacts of Traditional Bullying and Cyberbullying on the Mental Health of Middle School and High School Students.” Psychology in the Schools 52.6 (2015): 607-617. Print.
Donegan Richard. “Bullying and Cyberbullying: History, Statistics, Law, Prevention and Analysis.” The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications 3.1 (2012): 33-43. Print.
Faryadi, Qais. “Cyberbullying and Academic Performance.” International Journal of Computational Engineering Research 1.1 (2011): 2250-2316. Print.
Selkie, Ellen, Rajitha Kota, Ya-Fen Chan and Megan Moreno. “Cyberbullying, Depression, and Problem Alcohol Use in Female College Students: A Multisite Study.” Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 18.2 (2015): 79-84. Print.