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Why Cyberbullying among Teenagers is Worrisome and how it can be Prevented?

Cyberbullying among Teenagers

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Today, technology is dominating a teenager’s life in multiple ways. From smartphones and smart devices to various social media platforms, more teenagers are getting acquainted with the digital world. Although the digital shift has opened up a myriad of opportunities for teenagers, it is making them vulnerable to various cybersecurity threats. Cyberbullying among teenagers, in particular, is one of the most alarming threats faced by many countries around the world.

Before diving deeper into cyberbullying among teenagers, its causes, effects, and prevention, let us first see what exactly is cyberbullying?

By definition, cyberbullying refers to behaviors where a person repeatedly causes harm to other through electronic devices and technologies. It is also referred to as online abuse or harassment. Today, the abundance of digital devices with access to high-speed internet is allowing cyberbullies or cybercriminals to create multiple accounts while remaining anonymous, which gives them the freedom to harm multiple social media users—teenagers to be specific.

How common is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying among Teenagers

The popularity of social media platforms among teenagers is increasing like never before. Likewise, the number of teenagers getting exposed to cyberbullying and cybercrimes is also increasing. Here are some cyberbullying statistics that will raise your eyebrows.

  • 95% teenagers are connected to the internet and 85% of them are using social media
  • About 37% of young people aged between 12 to 17 have been bullied online, 30% of them said it has happened with them more than once
  • 65% of the bullied teenagers say it was because of their appearance
  • Girls are more likely to be victims of cyberbullying. 15% of teen girls have been targeted with at least four different kinds of abusive behaviors, compared to 6% boys.
  • About half of LGBTQ students experience cyberbullying, which is higher than average
  • 42% teenagers fell victim to cyberbullying on Instagram, the most on any social media platform
  • 83% teenagers feel that social media companies should invest more efforts to tackle cyberbullying on their platforms

Cyberbullying on social media one of the most common ways preferred by the bullies. Teenagers are particularly targeted on apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. and other social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter.

Why does it happen?

Factors like appearance, race, sexuality, financial status, religion, academic intelligence are primarily responsible for cyberbullying. However, there are various other reasons why teenagers are cyberbullied. Many times, if teenagers are bullied, they seek revenge instead of patiently handling the situation and getting out of it. These bullies often justify their deeds as a way to retaliate for the pain they experienced. Interestingly, a lot of these incidents occur because the bullies are bored and they start cyberbullying others just for the sake of entertainment in their lives.

Peer pressure is another important reason behind cyberbullying. In these cases, teenagers try to bully others to fit into a group of friends. If people around them are doing it, they often get influenced to follow them and start to do the same. Besides this, cyberbullying can be the demonstration of social status and teenagers who are power-hungry might do it to prove their superiority over the others.

Effects of Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying among Teenagers

Since teenagers are often not mature enough to control and manage their emotions, the impacts of cyberbullying among teenagers are negative in most cases. These effects of cyberbullying can be divided into four parts—emotional, mental, behavioral, and physical.

  • Emotional Effects: The stress levels among students and teenagers definitely increase due to cyberbullying. A report shows that 32% of kids who are victims of cyberbullying report experiencing at least one symptom of stress. Alongside feeling stressed, the feelings of humiliation, isolation, anger, and powerlessness also take over a teenager’s mind. 
  • Mental Effects: Cyberbullying can also augment a teenager’s mental health issues depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc. In worst case scenarios, they may also be vulnerable to suicidal thoughts and self-harming incidents like burning or cutting themselves.
  • Behavioral Effects: Teenagers that are cyberbullied often display a changed behavior. If the cyberbullying is prolonged, it can result in several significant changes such as the desire of skipping school, drug/alcohol addiction, attraction towards weapons, etc.
  • Physical Effects: The mental and emotional effects of cyberbullying among teenagers can sometimes be visible physically. Cyberbullying might induce several physical problems such as gastrointestinal issues, disordered eating, sleep disturbances, etc.

If not addressed on time, these problems can augment to become major issues. It is thus important for both parents and the children to be aware of all these signs that might become a reason of concern later. Here’s how cyberbullying among teenagers can be prevented.

Tips for Prevention against Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying among Teenagers

If you are a parent and your child is a victim of cyberbullying, here are some effective measures to cope with the situation.

  • Try to talk freely with your child.  Many times, teenagers don’t open up and report cyberbullying. So if you notice any of the above mentioned signs, talking directly with the kid will help him speak up as well as allow you to handle the situation in a better way.
  • Do not completely restrict your child from online activities. This can have negative impacts as the child might restrain from informing you if another cyberbullying activity happens.
  • Advise your child not to think about retaliation and let them know that responding to such incidents might actually worsen the case and satisfy the aim of the cyberbully.
  • Educate your children to document the cybersecurity incidents they come across. Encourage them to take screenshots of the messages, save URLs, etc. as it will help them while they report such an incident to the teachers, parents, or even law enforcement.

If you are a student, you can be proactive to avoid or deal with such incidents by trying out the following measures.

  • Firstly, you should not like or comment on any social media post that humiliates someone and endorses cyberbullying. It can be your indirect participation in such activities.
  • If you experience such an incident with yourself, don’t feel shy to share it with your parents or best friends. This will help you negate the situation better.
  • Report the incident to the particular website. Nowadays many websites have the option where you can report cyberbullying. They take legal action against the bullies if such a complaint is received and verified.   

A Word from The Education Magazine

While cyberbullying among teenagers continues to be a threat, it is good to see more people getting aware about this. With well-directed efforts towards digital literacy and cybersecurity, we can definitely negate this threat in the long run!

Related: 10 Effective Cybersecurity Tips for Students for Safe Browsing



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