Cyberbullying is on the rise and has become a major threat to certain young people. Perhaps the reason is that so many kids now spend more time online. They all have social media accounts. They spend quite a bit of time texting and chatting using popular apps like Facetime. This type of free Internet access by kids who are really not old enough to be good decision makers has led to greater, more frequent cyberbullying.
The victims don’t share much in common except that they are somehow different than their mainstream counterparts. Maybe one student has large ears or another boy is too effeminate. It’s often hard for professionals to say why one child bullies or is bullied by others. But one thing is true: the Internet makes this crime much easier than in the past.
Students often bully now using digital mediums like computers and phones. This crime can occur in many ways including:
The bottom line is that these actions cause emotional harm to kids who aren’t really guilty of any crime. Victims might hold their feelings in for years before telling anyone that they were bullied. It’s a crime that often bestows shame on its victims. They somehow feel guilty, like they were in part to blame for the bullying or cyberbullying.
Professionals have conducted a great deal of research over the years to try and understand why bullying takes place to begin with. Now that it has spread to the Internet, many child psychologists are even more curious about why and how this occurs. One particular fact is both eye-opening and troubling:
As on the traditional playground, a cyberbully may act alone or in groups. In days past, at least a cyberbully could be seen coming across the playground toward you. But today, because everything takes place online, cyberbullies can follow their victims anywhere and everywhere they go. Victims never see them coming. With the prevalence of computers, smartphones and the Internet, a cyberbully can be more relentless than ever.
Victims often have no way to escape. In many cases, negative information that may be a complete lie is posted online for everyone to see. Altered and very damaging photos may be placed online as well. Kids can be cruel. Instead of reporting this crime, they may join in the laughter, making a victim’s life even more miserable. In some cases, these lies follow the victim right into adulthood.
Cyberbullying and bullying often cause the student to do poorly in school. Let’s face it! They don’t even really want to go to school for fear of being humiliated in front of their friends. For kids, who are much more sensitive than adults, this pain can be unbearable.
Kids who are bullied online or in traditional settings usually find it hard to make friendships. They almost never get involved in healthy relationships with the opposite sex. This alone is a pretty big deal for kids. Many times, people who have a difficult time accepting love and getting married can trace all this back to negative events that occurred when they were in school.
Maybe you asked a girl or guy out on a date and they laughed at you. Maybe you tried to talk to someone of the opposite sex and they treated you rudely. Though this does happen to everyone at times, when it happens to young people, it can cause them to avoid relationships altogether. Nobody wants to feel the pain of rejection no matter their age. And adults often forget how sensitive most young people really are. Though they may pretend that certain things don’t hurt them, that’s honestly not true. These awful things can have a lifetime of negative results.
One of the more important areas where parents and educators alike need more information is cyberbullying. As long as parents aren’t aware and don’t believe their kids could ever be involved in anything so awful, this crime will continue. Most professionals believe that cyberbullying has reached epidemic proportions and must be taken more seriously both at school and at home.