What are the causes and effects of cyberbullying?
The social media conceal the individuals’ identity. Anyone can create a fake account online. With this system, anybody can easily go anonymous. It can be helpful for people who don’t want to expose their personal information.
However, the ability to go anonymous online could also cause serious social problems. Being invisible allows some people to freely spread out the undesirable act. Cyberbullying is one of those negative behaviors that are difficult to address.
What is cyberbullying?
Bullying happens in many social contexts. But the most recorded cases are in schools. Cyberbullying a modern method of inflicting psychological harm to adolescents in the online world. Cyberbullies may do the following acts to their victims:
- Threatens others via social media messages
- Demeaning others through sex or gender-based comments on social media
- Encouraging others to threaten the target person
- Sending rude images to a target person via emails and text messages
- Making fun of the embarrassment of the target person
These are just the major and common forms of cyberbullying that happens every day on the social world. Unfortunately, these simple acts would greatly affect a child or an adolescent. Parents may have no idea their children are facing such a terrible experience.
The successful cyberbullying reinforces the behavior itself. In other words, cyberbullies feel more confident in doing such an unlawful act. Cyberbullies feel more powerful and in control over the vulnerable young ones.
What causes cyberbullying?
There are reasons why cyberbullies do it online. Aside from anonymity that makes them invincible online, the following may cause cyberbullies to harm others online:
Revenge is one of the reasons why cyberbullies want to inflict pain on others online. This means that they have also the same experience. It could be that cyberbullies were once bullied. The pain from those experiences causes them to find an outlet. Unfortunately, their target person becomes the outlet. So they make their victims feel what they have experienced once before. They believe that their victims deserve the pain.
Another reason for cyberbullying is boredom. People who get bored tend to find enjoyment. Oftentimes, they find entertainment online. The only problem is that their enjoyment is the expense of others’ well-being.
Lack of empathy
Because they don’t feel what their victims feel, cyberbullies may think that their behavior is acceptable. That is, the pain they inflict on others is reasonable. As a result, they feel no remorse and regret what they have done.
The increasing number of adolescents or children who victimized by cyberbullies causes schools and parents a serious challenge. Cyberbullying has a tremendous effect on children’s psychological health.
Effects of Cyberbullying
The traditional bullying has serious effects on adolescents in school. The effect of cyberbullying is much worse. It instills fear, anxiety, stress and depression on vulnerable young ones. The common symptoms of cyberbullying are the following:
- A victim may be mentally preoccupied of negative thoughts associated with the threats
- Isolates oneself from the group or family members
- Avoids answering a phone call
- Find difficulties in coping and performing in school
- Lost interest in things he/she previously enjoyed doing
- Find difficulties in gaining enough sleep
- Always anxious
- Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
Bullied adolescents tend to keep themselves confined in their room. They lost interest in going with their friends as they normally did previously. Fear makes them act that way. Parents should always observe their children’s significant behavioural changes.
Ways to prevent cyberbullying
Because cyberbullying happens in the online world, it is difficult to put an end to it. But this does not mean that parents can do nothing to stop this unlawful act. Parents can do the following steps to keep their children safe from online bullies:
- Create restrictions on the websites their children may be using
- Limit their children’s access to their gadgets and online time
- Monitor their children’s activity online
These are just a few options. But if you are a concerned parent, you must find additional ways to protect your child from any online potential harm. Now that you’ve already known the possible causes and effects of cyberbullying, it is time to develop a strategy to keep your children safe.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.