The Internet and social media have become a significant part of our lives. Not just teens, but adults also love spending most of their time online. And why shouldn’t they? After all, it is an effective way of connecting with people in the 21st century. Social media is being widely used as a platform to share one’s opinions and thoughts with the world. Everyone wants to be heard, and platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat offer just the right amount of attention to them.
But what if a group of people starts misusing these platforms? What if sharing these opinions become targeting a particular person and directing hate towards them? Social Media is an excellent way to interact and engage with people, but things spread faster than you can imagine.
Teens are using social media, and digital messaging as a convenient method to befriend people, and build and maintain relationships with them. But this level of easy connectivity might result in possible troubling and non-consensual exchanges. In fact, the majority of teens who actively use social media have experienced this more than once. They’ve either been a victim of offensive name-calling, false humiliating rumors, physical threats, or sharing of explicit pictures (sometimes even theirs) without their consent. These are all forms of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying can be a very unpleasant and challenging part of adolescent life. All genders have equally been a sufferer of online harassment. The reason why it has become so easy for people to bully someone online is that they don’t have to face the repercussions which they would’ve in person. They can walk away with anything because they don’t see the real emotional damage their actions caused or get a physical reaction online. This has given the bullies the freedom to do or say anything without getting the appropriate punishment.
Cyberbullying can lead to psychological distress, and just like any other bullied person, a cyberbullied person can go through fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. Moreover, they might also experience physical symptoms and struggle in studies. However, this isn’t just limited to this.
Real-Life Impacts Of Cyberbullying On A Person’s Mind
Depending on person to person, some might develop negative feelings and different symptoms. It is essential to know them, considering how increasingly common cyberbullying has become. If you know a person who has been a victim of cyberbullying or is showing any of these symptoms, make sure they get the required help.
- Feeling Overwhelmed
Getting targeted by bullies can crush a person, especially when a lot of people are taking part in bullying. It might make the victim feel like everybody knows what’s happening with them. At times the pressure of dealing with these bullies can become too much to handle, leaving the victim feeling devastated.
- Feeling powerless
Often the bullies remain anonymous, and this makes the victim feel like the bully can be anywhere watching him or maybe even sitting with him because bullies usually choose someone they know.
The victims feel like they can run nowhere to feel safe because the bullies can invade their privacy anytime through laptops or phones. They feel vulnerable and powerless, not having control of the situation and not even knowing who is doing this to them. Also, home doesn’t feel safe for these victims.
- Feeling humiliated
Since cyberbullying takes place in cyberspace, the victims feel that this will be permanent. They think that once something is revealed, it will forever be out there, making them feel exposed. When cyberbullying happens publicly, cheap posts, comments, or texts are circulated among many people.
Knowing that so many people are making fun of them or are aware of this bullying makes the victim feel ashamed.
- Feeling worthless
Cyberbullying targets the most vulnerable side of the people. Victims start feeling terrible disappointment with themselves. This leads to the bullied doubting their worth and value. Furthermore, they might react to these feelings by harming or trying to change themselves.
For example, when a victim is called obese, he/she might start dieting, believing that once they change their appearance, the bullying might stop.
- Being vengeful
In some cases, the bullied person might get furious about the pain bullies are inflicting on him/her. As a result, they start seeking vengeance and engage in a counterattack. However, this approach can be dangerous as it will keep them coiled in the never-ending bully-victim cycle. Forgiving them is better than trying to make it even.
- Become Uninterested
When cyberbullying is happening, the victims often see the world differently than others. Most of them start feeling hopeless, and life might seem meaningless to them. The things once they enjoyed doing, now bores them. They start spending less time with their family and friends. During this time, depression or suicidal thoughts might find their way in their minds.
Bullied teenagers lose interest in school. They start skipping classes to avoid the humiliation from those awful things shared about them. Their absenteeism rises, and grades fall. They develop a lack of concentration or interest in academics due to the anxiety and stress bullying has caused them. Moreover, in some cases, they might even drop out of school or feel uninterested in continuing their studies.
- Feel isolated
Young minds need friends, and cyberbullying can cause the victims to get left out or ignored at school. The child feels alone and isolated, which can be really painful for their age.
Usually, when cyberbullying happens, they are advised to take a break from social media, switch off their phones and laptops. But since these are the primary keys to communication, doing so might feel like cutting off their only way of communication and leaving them again in a position of feeling isolated.
- Developing depression
The targeted person becomes not only a victim of bullying but also depression, stress, and anxiety. Cyberbullying crushes their self-esteem and self-confidence. And dealing with cyberbullying every day destroys their feeling of happiness or contentment.
- Get physically sick
Bullied children often experience physical ailments like headaches, stomach ulcers, or skin problems. These occur due to stress. Also, they might develop a change in eating habits, either skipping meals or overeating. They might have insomnia or sleep a lot more than usual or have nightmares.
- Suicidal thoughts
Cyberbullying also leads to victims having suicidal thoughts. The constant bullying, teasing, offensive messages, public humiliation can make them feel hopeless about life. As a result, they start fantasizing about ending their life and being free of this distress as they think this is the only way out.
If your friend or relative or sibling or any family member is going through cyberbullying, make sure they are getting the necessary support. Take the necessary steps and report the bullies as it is a cybercrime. Keep checking on them to ensure they are in good health, both mentally and physically. Take help from a health professional or counselor if needed. Do not take this lightly. We hope this information was helpful to you.