Cyberbullying is a form of communication posted or sent online by minor oran adult to offend a minor. Initially, Bullying was considered aspart of growing up process. However, this is not the case anymore. Inthe olden days, bullying occurred in two ways. First, it was throughaggressive behavior. This refers to the use of force such as kicking,spitting, physically hitting the victim. This bullying is physical,and the victim does not provoke the offender. Secondly, bullying wasthrough verbal abuse. This is whereby the offender verbally abusesthe victim by ridiculing, teasing, and being sarcastic to the victim.However, cyber bullying has many negative impacts on the victims.
Firstly,cyber bullying can lead the victim to commit suicide. Some newspapershave recorded cases of people who have committed suicide as aconsequence of cyber bullying. In fact, more than 19000 cyberbullying kids’ victims try to commit suicide every year (Shariff,57). Also, the research shows that a kid who is a victim of cyberbullying is twice likely to attempt suicide than a fellow peer whohas not been bullied. Victims think that by committing suicide, theyare escaping the pain. According to ABC News, Amanda Todds, is ayoung girl who committed at the age of fifteen. For more than twoyears, a strange man befriended her on one of the social media.Occasionally, Amanda made a new friend on internet and thought theman would also be a good friend. On the contrary, the man startedthreatening her and circulating her photo all over the internet. WhenAmanda would not hold any more cyber insult, she decided to commitsuicide. At first, she attempted to commit suicide by consuming ableach solvent. Luckily, her parents rushed her to the hospital ontime, and the doctors saved her life. Eventually, on October 10,2012, Amanda committed suicide by hanging herself at her home (Ngn.p).
Secondly,cyber bullying is humiliating to the victim (Shariff, 46). In thefirst place bullying is humiliating hence, cyber bullying is morehumiliating. This is especially if the victim realizes that evenother people are aware of the bully. Insults posted on the internetare visible to any public user using the internet. In most cases, theoffender uses the social sites such as twitter Facebook, as well asYouTube where it is most likely that the victim’s friends will readthe message. In the case of Amanda, the strange man went as far ascreating a Facebook profile with Amanda information. He used Amandaimage and name as the profile picture and name respectively. He wouldthen invite Amanda friend to chat with them pretending to be Amanda.Amanda was so humiliated by these actions, and specifically sincethere was no approach he would stop the victimization. In anotherincidence, the man’s girlfriend together with another group withother ladies confronted Amanda, insulting her in front of herschoolmates. This made Amanda feels so humiliated, that she hidherself in a trench out of shame.
Further,Cyber bullying also results to stress and depression. This is whenthe victim thinks about the whole situation, the feeling, and theresults of the bully (Shariff, 08). The victim may end up havingsleepless nights, headaches, worry, among other problems. Eventually,the victim can end up having depression as a result of cyber bullying(Bridvik, 385). This is as a result of low self-esteem. In fact,cyber bullying results to more depression than typical face-to-facebullying. A depressed student may end up losing hope for the future,and start using alcohol and other illegal drugs. This leads to poorperformance in school. To some extreme side of depression, victimsmay suffer from an eating disorder, or may start harming themselvesphysically such as cutting themselves. In the Amanda case, herdepression was so great that she engaged herself in unhealthybehaviors. For instance, she engaged herself in consumption of harddrugs and alcohol. Prior her death, Amanda posted a video on theYouTube to air her grievances. She explains how she developed anxietydisorders and depression. Her parents made an effort and took her toanother different school. Likewise, Amanda changed her friend.Unfortunately, this did not trigger the man from bullying her. Amandaexplains how she would spend days and night crying.
Bulliedstudents lack interest in school, and results higher cases ofabsenteeism than the non-bullied students (Bridvik, 382). They oftenskip school to avoid eye contact with the bully, or to avoid physicalbullying. This affects student’s concentration in class, hencereducing the victim performance. To some extent, some victims opt todrop out of school to avoid meeting with the bullies. Fear is anothereffect associated with cyber bullying. Sometimes, the bully may makethreaten to attack the victim physically. Therefore, the victim endsup living with the fear because the bully may appear any time.Immediately after Amanda moved to a new school, the situation wasimproving. However, after some time, the strange man startedthreatening her again. According to Ng, (n.p) Amanda was insulted bythe man’s girlfriend. In her video, Amanda states this incidence asone of her most traumatizing moment. Further, she says that she hatedschool for the fear of insults.
Further,some cases of cyber bullying results to isolation among victims(Aitken, 42). Often, victims of cyber bullying feel they are alone inthe struggle against cyber bullying. This reduces their self-esteem.When bullying is continuous, and offenders are more than one, thevictim may wonder what happening to him or her. The victim may end upblaming himself or herself for the bullies, and think that he or sheis the one with a problem. To avoid bullies, the victims may start toseparate themselves amongst the rest of their peers and friends.Students exclude themselves from school activities like sports,music, and clubs. In addition, when cyber bullying occurs, the victimmay opt to switch off them the cell phone of the laptop to avoidfurther insults. This means cutting communication with the rest ofthe world. As information reduces, the victim feels secluded and farfrom the world. In school, Amanda lost all her friends leading her toisolation. Immediately after the strange man posted photo exposingher nudity, most of her family members and friends could not retaintheir relationship any more. As soon as Amanda made new friend, theywould run away from her after they discover the kind of herinformation on the internet (Ng n.p). In her video, she states thatshe does not have friends anymore and people do not respect her likeearlier before cyber bullying.
Whereasit may seem to take a long time and much work to stop cyber bullying,parents, teachers, and the government should work hard to minimizeit. They have the responsibilities of taking care of the childrenwelfare and ensure they are not subjected to such crime. There is acounter argument of the body responsible for the cyber bullying.However, most people urges that government is the one to play themajor role while teachers and parents can only respond in limitedways. The government has more powers and can use various strategiesto punish the offenders than parents and teachers (Shariff 102). Forinstance, the government can illegalize cyber bullying. It canestablish rules and regulations of using computers, mobile phone, andthe modern technology without hurting anyone. For example, they canclearly state the healthy and unhealthy site for young children. Inschool, the government should introduce a subject of cyber bullying.In this way, children can learn about it and tactics to avoid it. Thegovernment should also educate young children on the kind of imagesand information to post on the internet. Further, it should teachthem on the importance of passwords, and the negative effects ofsharing a password. As a result, very few children can fall victimsof cyber bullying.
Further,the government can organize conferences and seminars to raiseawareness of cyber bullying. For instance, in 2013, a Canadianminister Steven Blaney launched an anti-cyber bullying awarenesscampaign. The theme of the campaign was, “stop hating Online.”The goal of the drive was to generate awareness among Canadiansschool children on the effects of cyber bullying. In addition, thecampaign also aimed at educating them on the prevention of the same.Hence, other states government should eliminate the same strategiesin their countries. The government can use television as a media toteach children and their guardians on the best usage of technology.In this way, parents are more informed, hence they can also take agreat step to protect their children. With information, it ispossible to help victims and understand the impact of online crimesin the real world.
Althoughthe internet has opened opportunities for children, cyber-bullyingresults devastating effects on a victim’s well fair. The victim cansuffer from depression, isolation, reduces self-esteem, or evencommit suicide. The effects of cyber bullying are very serious andshould come into an end. Parents, teachers, and government shouldwork toward minimizing chances of cyber bullying.
Aitken,Amanda. "Suicide and the internet." BereavementCare28.2 (2009): 40-41. Print.
Bridvik,Louise. "Suicide after Suicide Attempt in Severe Depression: ALong-Term Follow-Up." Suicideand Life-Threatening Behavior33.4 (2003): 381-388. Print.
Ng,Christina. "Bullied Teen Amanda Todd`s Death UnderInvestigation." ABCNews.ABC News Network, 16 Oct. 2012. Web. 19 May 2014.<http://abcnews.go.com/US/bullied-teen-amanda-todds-death-investigation/story?id=17489034>.
Ng,Christina. "Bullied Teen Leaves Behind Chilling YouTube Video."ABCNews.ABC News Network, 12 Oct. 2012. Web. 18 May 2014.<http://abcnews.go.com/International/bullied-teen-amanda-todd-leaves-chilling-youtube-video/story?id=17463266>.
Shariff,Shaheen. Truthsand Myths of Cyber-Bullying: International Perspectives onStakeholder Responsibility and Children`s Safety.New York: Peter Lang, 2010. Print.