Paper Example on the Lasting Effects of Cyber Bullying

Date:  2021-03-31 18:52:27
6 pages  (1625 words)
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Cyberbullying can be defined as the deliberate and consistent use of electronic communication devices such as computers or mobile phones over the internet; with the intentions threatening, harassing or even humiliating another person. With the modern day today technological advancements, bullying tactics have evolved and have become more punitive, brutal and innovative. Dating back to the traditional days, bullying has been a deep-seated controversial issue that has long lasting effects on its victims. Ranging from academic institutions to places of work, anyone who has suffered or is suffering from bullying is likely to have a seriously unpleasant experience. Thus, in the modern day today, the effects of bullying have culminated due to the presence of the internet where bullies can easily target victims more easily and often anonymously. More than half the teens today have been bullied online leading to lasting effects which in turn have effects such as psychological, emotional stress or worse still, depression.

Similar to all other forms of bullying, victims of cyberbullying are bound to suffer acute emotional stress. According to a report by the StopBullying.gov, teenagers and youths who suffer cyberbullying are at higher risks of suffering anxiety and depression. With the current generation of youth being tech savvy and often among the first to adapt to new and modern technologies, many of them are overly exposed to cyber bullying. For this reason, cyberbullying has increasingly become a notorious and an ongoing high-risk behavior which merits great concerns. And unlike traditional bullying, the emotional effects of cyberbullying on the victims are much more adverse. This can substantially be attributed to the fact that this kind of bullying is much more sophisticated since, many at times, the victims are not even aware of who the aggressor could be due to factors such as online anonymity (McQuade, 2009). In the same vein, this kind of bullying which mostly consists of rumors and teasing is overly likely to go viral. With all these combined, the victim is left hopeless, desperate and angry and this contributes to suffering emotional stress.

In addition to emotional stress, long-term exposure to cyberbullying causes decrease in a persons self-concept, very low self-esteem and increased anxiety levels. Particularly, teens, who are the most vulnerable to cyberbullying, are likely to suffer absence from school (Hines, 2011). This is highly attributed to the low self-esteem as a result of the bullying. According to Mason (2008) many children and teens who are cyberbullied become hopeless and are scared to face their peers. As a result, fear and anxiety build within them, making them scared to go to school, a habit which diminishes their ability to learn at school and hence, negatively affecting both their classroom and social performances. Contrary to traditional bullying where the bullied victims may at least have a chance to stop the bullying, a majority of the victims who get cyber bullied can do nothing about it. Thus, for school going children, due to the severe emotional damage by cyberbullying, most of them isolate themselves since they live in fear of being bullied again.

The lasting adverse effects of cyberbullying especially in a persons early years may result in chronic effects into the victims adult life. There seems to be a broad agreement on research done by various scholars on the after effects of cyberbullying on adults. In Masons account, one of the long lasting effects of cyberbullying is deep emotional scars which are carried into adulthood. While much of the existing research centers much on the lasting effects of cyberbullying on the victim, Kowalski (2008) substantiates that this notorious behavior also has long lasting effects on its aggressors. Kowalski contends that majority of the boys who are perpetrators of cyber bullying during their school years are likely to be convicted of one or more crimes by the time they attain the age of 24. Additionally, these real bullies also suffer chronic adverse effects such as being betrothed in anti-social activities later on in their adulthood.

Psychological disorientation is another significant result of the long lasting effects of cyber bullying. More than half the victims of cyberbullying have been besieged by thoughts of suicide, chronic illness and in some case, victims run from their homes (Mason, 2008). Besides, victims of cyberbullying are characterized by some abnormal behaviors such as retaliating using violence, easily irritable and very high tempers. With these as some of the most renowned long term effects of cyberbullying, concerns about the prevalence of this notorious act, especially in educational centers, have ensued. As a result, researchers by scholars across various disciplines and especially the healthcare sectors have concluded that, usually, these victims are at higher risks of suffering mental illnesses. Also, consistent cyberbullying has been reported to have extreme effects like suicide. For instance, in 2010, a 15-year-old freshman student who was originally from Ireland committed suicide in rural Massachusetts, America. This student was a victim of constant cyberbullying on Facebook and also physical bullying at school (Osterman et al., 2012).

Like the traditional form of bullying, cyberbullying has lasting effects on the victims health and well-being. Research consistently substantiates that people who have been bullied at some point in their lives are at risks of health problems both at their current ages and also in their adulthood. Additionally, these victims are likely to fall into depression over six times more than those who have not suffered bullying. In America, State and local lawmakers have therefore taken action in preventing cyberbullying as a measure to protect children and their emotional wellbeing. Nevertheless, these laws by different states are not similar since different laws address different issues relating to both cyber and the traditional forms of bullying. Hines (2011) argues that cyberbullying is perceived as a vice that is likely to be more harmful and severe among teenage girls than boys. This is due to the fact that while in their adolescent stages, girls perceive their self-esteem as well as their social statuses to be of higher importance than their male counterparts. For this reason, cyberbullying is likely have more and lasting effects on female adolescents than the males.

Gradinger et al. (2009) highlight that there are very high chances of the cyberbullying victims to be already experiencing the face-to-face traditional cyberbullying method. Thus, research demonstrates that cyberbullying can extend into the victims lives at all times or even in the through the 24 hours in a day. This is devastating to the target, and as a result, they are at additional risks which may substantiate emotional and self-esteem damage. In the same vein, Schenk & Fremouw (2012) demonstrate that those college students who are victims of cyberbullying have higher matched controls on measures of anxiety, paranoia, and depression as compared to the victims of other forms of bullying. These victims are therefore at heightened risks of depression, and various psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches, sleeplessness, strained social relationship and behavioral difficulties such as drug abuse. So as to give explanations to the adversities associated with cyberbullying, scholars contend that it is due to the online anonymity that the effects of cyberbullying become more extreme and crueler than the traditional forms of bullying. Additionally, bullies take advantage of the anonymity to go to get to extremes such as crossing moral and ethical lines to irrevocably hurt their targets since they are sure that it is hard for them to face the ramifications of their actions.

In conclusion, cyber bullying is a vice and a growing cancer among todays youth. As compared to traditional forms of bullying, cyberbullying has even more severe and lasting effects which can be mentally taxing. Ranging from emotional distress to psychological disorientations cyberbullying is a sophisticated social phenomenon with long-term effects on both the targets and the bullies, themselves. As evidenced by studies, cyberbullying victims suffer various difficulties which many at times are as a result of feeling unsafe, unwanted and isolated by both their peers and the society at large. Additionally, bullies too suffer almost similar effects as the victims that they bully. Basically, all bullies are aware that bullying is illegal and uncalled for. For this reason, they are also known to suffer a range of emotional, social and psychological distresses. This can be attributed to feelings such as; perceptions of feeling unsupported by the society, feeling unsafe in social places especially at school for school going children, and much more. As indicated by several existing studies, most cyberbullying victims suffer the effects of the cruelty that is imposed on them silently since they are never sure of whom to report such cases to because most online bullies are anonymous. Therefore, since cyberbullying is most prevalent among the youth, parents and teachers can proactively stop this by encouraging the young people to refrain from the vice and also encouraging those that are bullied to come out and report the issue.

References

Gradinger, P., Strohmeier, D., & Spiel, C. (2009). Traditional and Cyber Bullying and Victimization Scales. Journal of Psychology Research on Cyberspace, 4(2). doi:10.1037/t39132-000

Hines, H. N. (2011). Traditional bullying and cyber-bullying : are the impacts on self-concept the same? Retrieved from Western Carolina University Cullowhee, North Carolina website: https://libres.uncg.edu/ir/wcu/f/Hines2011.pdf

Kowalski, R. (2008). Cyber Bullying: Recognizing and treating victim and aggressor. Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 25(11). doi:10.1002/9780470694176

Mason, K. L. (2008). Cyberbullying: A preliminary assessment for school personnel. Psychology in the Schools, 45(4), 323-348. doi:10.1002/pits.20301

McQuade, S. C., Colt, J. P., & Meyer, N. B. (2009). Cyber bullying: Protecting kids and adults from online bullies (1st ed.). Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Osterman, K., Bjorkqvist, K. B., & Backstrom, H. (2012). The Relationship between Physical Abuse During Childhood, Cyber Bullying, and Traditional Bullying in Adolescence. PsycEXTRA Dataset. Doi:10.1037/e554382012-170

Schenk, A. M., & Fremouw, W. J. (2012). Prevalence, Psychological Impact, and Coping of Cyberbully Victims among College Students. Journal of School Violence, 11(1), 21-37. doi:10.1080/15388220.2011.630310

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