A recent study has revealed that one in four kids and teens are the victims of cyberbullying. Therefore it should be taken seriously.
Initially, it might seem like cyberbullying is just another made-up hardship of the millennials. Compared to actual live bullying, cyberbullying should be something that most kids could handle on their own. And by handling, most people mean ignoring.
But in order to fully grasp the depth of this phenomenon, it is of the utmost importance to comprehend the significance that social media has for teenagers. At the moment, a person’s social media presence it just as important as a person’s wardrobe and body appearance.
Social media is the land of all opportunities, because it relies on charisma…and selfies, let’s be honest. If you know how to manipulate it, it can work miracles regardless of your shape, size and real-life popularity.
However, everybody is trying to build a strong online persona. According to the data included in this recent study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Alberta, up to 81% of teenagers use social media.
And to be fair, this assessment dates back to 2012. A lot has changed in these last three years, because social media has gotten even more powerful along the time. Its grasp on the millennials is particularly powerful, because it constitutes the most important means of communication and also a valuable space for self promotion.
Obviously, all of this comes with a great risk. If a lot of people chose to humiliate others, in order to put themselves in a better light in real life, where there are direct consequences to this, think about how many people are willing to do so in a world where there basically are no consequences whatsoever.
And it is horrible for the person who is being harassed because social media is something that people have access to full-time. Whether on a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, Facebook and Twitter and all that comes with them stay with you all the time. And when somebody is out to get you, that could be quite stressing.
The Alberta study however has not identified a link between online bullying and suicidal behavior, or even anxiety for that matter. They did find a link to depression though, because the stress of having cyber-enemies lays quite heavy on a person.
Their findings suggest that as many as 23% of teenagers fall victim to cyberbullying. Their study was conducted on US teens with ages between 12 and 18, and the proportion of cyberbullying was found to be between 11 and 43%.
One of the most dangerous aspects of cyberbullying is that nobody gives it importance, except for the person who is undergoing the harassment and the person who is doing the harassment. The neglect of this phenomenon is actually an important part of it, because it adds quite a lot to the stress that the victim feels when something that he is having trouble with is minimized by those who are in the position to help him.
The Alberta study actually revealed that most cyberbullying victims do not tell their parents or their teachers at all about it because they fear that their internet would be taken away completely.
Also, most teenagers do not actively face their aggressors. Instead, they either block them or they just simply ignore them.Very rarely do they even report them, because that would actually have consequences. This type of solution might be effective on the spot, but it is extremely unhealthy, because teenagers learn that their problems can go away through a passive conduct, which does not actually happen in real life.
Unfortunately, cyberbyllying is accompanied by real-life bullying in most cases. When a person undergoes both types of bullying, it leads to a feeling of imprisonment, because there is no escape from the harassment. And in accordance to the intensity of this harassment, the effects start piling up.
Cyberbullying is a very serious thing and it should be treated accordingly. The harassers should be apprehended and they should be punished, in accordance to the severity of their offense.
The longer the effects of this phenomenon are minimized, the more power the cyberbullies have over their victims. Recognizing its importance is the key to the solution, and the sooner everybody understands this, the sooner the victims could get the help they need.
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