More than 25 percent of youth reported to either experiencing or taking part in cyber-bullying. The American Academy of Pediatrics described the online-bullying as the most common online risks for the teens. Unlike traditional face-to-face bullying, the online bullying can be completely anonymous which makes the victim feel more helpless because they do not know the source of the attack. Whether it is traditional bullying or cyber-bullying, it can have disastrous impacts on the psychological, physical and mental health of the victim. A cyber-bullied may deal with physical ailments, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, fear and suicidal behavior. If not stopped, the bullying can even take the victim’s life. This article discusses the feelings cyber-bullying victims experience.
Feel Isolated and Ostracized
Cyber-bullying causes the victim to feel alone, isolated and ostracized. This experience is more painful for teens and tweens because friends are crucial at this stage and having no friends can lead to more bullying. Turning off the mobile phones and computers can help preventing cyber-bullying but shutting down these digital technologies and cutting off communication with the rest of the world is, of course, not a rational decision. It can trigger the feelings of loneliness and seclusion.
The cyber-bullies target victims where they defenseless. They can make a fun of your physique, your color, religion or anything you are sensitive about. The emotionally sensitive teens and tweens may lose their self-confidence and self-worth feeling dissatisfied with who they are. It can also cause depression and anxiety.
No Safe Heaven
The school bullying makes kids lose their interest in studies and attending school. They feel that they would be safe in their homes. But in case of cyber-bullying, the victims fail to find a place to escape. The bully can invade their homes with their phones or computers at any time. Moreover, the anonymity of the cyber-bully accelerates the fear in the victim.
Disinterest in Life
The cyber-bullying victim sees the world from a different perspective. They lose interest in the things they used to enjoy once. They feel unvalued, hopeless and find their life meaningless. In severe cases, the suicidal thoughts can take root.
Feelings of Humiliation
The cyber-bullying occurs in the online world where once something is out, it will be there forever. The posts, messages or comments that the cyber-bully makes can be seen by anyone and even shared with many others. When more people know your secret or find you in an embarrassing situation, the more humiliated and exposed you feel.
Sometimes, the bullied plot revenge and engage in vengeance. This can make the situation worse and stimulate bully and victim to continue attacking each other. In some cases, they are likely to break the laws and get in big trouble.
Cyber-bullying increases the risks of suicide. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, more than 20 percent of the cyber-bullying victims reported having suicidal thoughts. The teens and tweens that are consistently persecuted by their bullies through messages, emails, social media and other online sources feel them unsafe everywhere. Sometimes, they feel like the only ways to escape the torture is through suicide. They fantasize about ending their lives to escape their bullies.
The cyber-bullied often experiences a headache, stomachache and stress-related conditions like stomach ulcer and acne. Meanwhile, they may experience the change in eating habits like skipping meals or binge eating. Their sleep habits also get affected as they may suffer from insomnia or sleep more than their routine or see nightmares.
Use of Alcohol or Drugs
Many teens and even adults find escape in narcotics. They overuse drugs and alcohol to overwhelm their depression, anxiety and fear. Instead of resolving problems, the alcohol and substance abuse can increase your problems and lead to several health issues.
The cyber-bullying victim loses social contact with family and friends because of losing confidence in their abilities to manage relationships. Also, they no longer trust anyone which increases the emotional problems and can trigger suicidal thoughts.
The Bottom Line
The effects of cyber-bullying on children can be worse than that of a disease. It ends your kid’s social life, damages her self-esteem and makes her lose interest in life. If your child is being cyber-bullied, pay special attention to him. Make sure to communicate daily, take measures to stop bullying and use parental controls to monitor your kid’s online and offline activities. Counseling can also help heal the emotional damage and regain self-confidence. Plan fun activities to distract your kid from mobile phone and social media, and divert her attention from what others are saying or doing. Help your child navigate online behavior setting up boundaries and time limits for the use of mobile phones and computers. Many kids do not report bullying because they fear of losing their phones. Assure them that they would not lose any privilege if they report about bullying.