Cyberbullying is defined as a version of bullying perpetrated through information and communication technology channels such as the internet, emails, mobile phone and the latest social media platforms like Facebook (Kowalski et al. 2012). Experts contend that cyberbullying is far more damaging than the traditional forms of bullying. For, in this day and age, anyone can be contacted through the use of digital mediums. Therefore, victims can be reached anywhere and any time.
Cyberbullying is perpetrated across numerous mediums and avenues in the cyberspace (Kowalski et al. 2012). Almost all teenagers and youths congregate in chat rooms, where most of the torment takes place. Recently, these teenagers have been drawn to social networking platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and video sharing channels like YouTube. This pattern has spurred increased reports of cyberbullying happening in these environments (Kowalski et al. 2012).
S. Pappas (2015) states that cyberbullying on social media is linked to depression in teenagers, according to new research that analyzed multiple studies of the online phenomenon. Victimization of young people online has received an increasing level of scrutiny, particularly after a series of high-profile suicides of teenagers who were reportedly bullied on various social networks. In 2013, for instance, a spate of suicides was linked to the social network Ask.fm, where users can ask each other questions anonymously. The deaths of teens who had been subject to abuse on the site prompted Ask.fm (which was acquired by Ask.com in 2014) to launch new safety efforts. Twitter, likewise, announced plans in April to filter out abusive tweets and suspend bullying users.
“Social media use is hugely common among teenagers,” said Michele Hamm, a researcher in paediatrics at the University of Alberta, “but the health effects of cyberbullying on social media sites is largely unknown.” Regular, face-to-face bullying during the teen years may double the risk of depression in adulthood, and bullying’s effects can be as bad or worse than child abuse, studies show (Pappas, 2015).
Numerous factors motivate perpetrators of cyber-bullying. Revenge motivates some people to engage in cyberbullying. As a victim of cyberbullying, one tends to think that tormenting others is natural because some individuals deserve to be harassed (Kowalski et al. 2012). Some studies show that perpetrators pursue targets that seem weaker than them. This is because they believe that bullying, occasionally, is never enough. Others engage in cyberbullying to boost their ego (Kowalski et al. 2012). Simply put, these people harass others to please themselves and their friends who are often not scared because they believe they cannot be caught. Some people seek attention. It is believed that such people did not gain attention from their family, and others suffer from family conflicts. Therefore, such people tend to starve for the recognition of being powerful figures.
Cyberbullying affects individuals from all lifestyles and ages including adults, teens, and children; they all feel alone and distressed when being harassed online (Kowalski et al. 2012). This behaviour can make one feel completely overwhelmed and embarrassed from what they are undergoing during such encounters. It worsens when there is no support for the bullied person. For children, they may feel uncomfortable to confide in their parents or adults because they assume they will be ignored, judged and barred from accessing information technologies such as their phones. For almost all victims, cyberbullying affects daily lives, and it is a never-ending cycle of anxiety and distress. With the wide availability of mobile technologies, cyberbullying is an ongoing problem and seems to be relentless. Besides proceeding after school, university and work, it tends to carry through the next day, and the cycle continues. Statistics reveal that cyberbullying can result in tragic events such as self-harm and suicide, so it is important to institute measures to protect vulnerable adults and children from cyberbullying (Kowalski et al. 2012).
Cyberbullying poses an immense danger to society. Not only does it harm individuals, but adversely affect the victim and the bully. It poses a serious global problem; therefore, it must be addressed.
References Kowalski, R. M., et al. (2008). Cyber Bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age. UK: Blackwell Publishing. Informative Speech on Cyberbullying. (2017, August 29). Retrieved from https://www.aceyourpaper.com/presentations/informative-speech-on-cyberbullying/ Pappas, S. (2015). Social Media Cyber Bullying Linked to Teen Depression. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/social-media-cyber-bullying-linked-to-teen-depression/