Cyberbullying: Locating The Problem And Finding Solutions To It

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Cyberbullying refers to a type of harassment that is carried out using electronic methods such as through social media platforms and other websites. Cyberbullying has become an issue of concern, especially among the teenagers who are the main users of social media platforms (Hinduja and Justin, 212). Cases of mental health disorders and suicide that is attributable to cyberbullying have continued to incline. Among the various forms of cyberbullying behavior include posting an individual’s personal information, offensive sexual remarks, threats, or rumors on social media platforms. Cyberbullying usually is characterized by repetitive behavior with the intention of hurting the feelings of an individual. 

This paper provides an in-depth description of the history of cyberbullying, the effects of cyberbullying, and the recommendations that could help to curb cyberbullying. Cyberbullying became prevalent in the late 2000s when social media platforms were introduced to the world. However, before the advent of cyberbullying, there was another form of bullying referred to as traditional bullying that was carried out through websites. Traditional bullying forced its way into the world in the 1990s with the advent of personal computers that were affordable to most of the nationals in the United States. In 2007, the cases of suicide that were attributable to cyberbullying started to incline compelling the US government to introduce laws that were meant to curb cyberbullying. However, the laws were not as effective as more social media platforms continued to be created. More than half of the world’s population currently own mobile phones, which are the most common method of engaging in cyberbullying (Whittaker and Robin, 17). 

With the help of a smartphone, an individual can share information such as photos and videos that are detrimental to the reputation of another individual within a very short period of time. Most of the victims of cyberbullying end up committing suicide. While victims of traditional bullying would escape by hiding behind the walls of their houses, victims of cyberbullying cannot escape as the internet is all over (Waasdorp and Catherine, 486). Accordingly, cyberbullying is deemed to cause more damage compared to traditional bullying for the reason that anyone can engage in the act through fake social media platforms. There are various methods through which cyberbullying can be carried out. Social media is the most common channel of cyberbullying. Among the various social media platforms that are commonly used, young people include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace. According to research, more than 93% of young people all over the globe had started using social media platforms by 2008 (Brewer and Jade, 257). Research further reveals that young people spend more time on social media compared to all other daily activities. Accordingly, over the last ten years, cyberbullying has been experiencing an inclining trend due to the increase in the number of electronic communication technologies. Social media has been found to be a major risk factor for cyberbullying. Every year, more than one million teens usually are harassed on social media. However, 90% of the teens indicated that they tend to ignore the cases of cruelty that they experience on social media as they view it as drama (Brewer and Jade, 257). More than half of the people that use social media cyberbullying experience the cases of cyberbullying frequently. Consequently, I would be right to state that social media has contributed significantly to the rise of cyberbullying all over the globe. 

A study that was carried out to investigate the prevalence of social media use revealed that 80% of the individuals who use social media usually post their personal information such as photos, location and contact information on these platforms (Brewer and Jade, 257). Accordingly, posting personal information on social media exposes victims to cyberbullying. Females account for the largest portion of individuals who carry out cyber bullying through social media. Online gaming is also another common channel of online bullying. Research has it that 16% of the cases of cyberbullying usually are a result of online gaming. Teenagers who engage in violent video games are more likely to execute cyberbullying. Men usually are the major victims of cyberbullying through online gaming. Harassment through online gaming usually takes place when one person blocks the other from accessing the games or ignoring the victims while playing the games. With the increase in the level of cruelty that is attributable to cyberbullying, the impact of cyberbullying on the victims has as well continued to increase. 

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Cyberbullying usually has both physical and emotional effects on the victim. First, victims of cyberbullying often feel powerless and susceptible. Accordingly, the victims lack the feeling of safety wherever they go. The reason for this is that the bullies usually are not known to the victims as most of them use fake accounts to avoid being caught up by the law (Brody and Anita, 110). The victims of cyberbullying, therefore, are not aware of who to associate or not associate with. The anonymous state of the bullies usually inflicts fear on the victims, especially the children, as some of them frequently pose threats to the victims. According to research, over 90% of cyberbullying victims usually portray a violent and vengeful behavior. The victims often get angry at the cyberbullies, and thus, they end up feeling the urge to hit back at their offenders. Most of the time, the victims usually revenge by posting irritating information about the bullies. Therefore, cyberbullying ends up becoming a continuous process. Cyberbullying is also a risk factor for the incline in violent cases in the sense that the victims become violent to the bullies (Kowalski and Susan, 14). 

Numerous cases have been reported where the victims attack the cyberbullies for ruining their reputation. Another emotional effect of cyberbullying is that it results in a decline in the self-esteem of the victims. The reason for this is that the patients usually feel humiliated in the online world that comprises of a wide range of people. An individual reputation usually is instrumental in building his/her self-esteem. Accordingly, if cyberbullies post offensive photos or videos about an individual, this will definitely harm his/her reputation. A survey on the behavior of the victims of cyberbullying g revealed that most of these victims usually portray withdrawal symptoms in the sense they do not associate themselves with friends or family (Kowalski and Susan, 14). Most students who face cyberbullying end up dropping out of school. The reason for this is that they usually feel demotivated to engage in any activity. Another reason for the withdrawal symptoms by the victims is that the patients feel isolated by their peers, especially in school, who, in most cases, are usually their bullies. The teenage victims that do not drop out of school usually record poor grades.

Cyberbullying also has adverse effects on the survival and physical fitness of the victims. Due to increased depression and anxiety, cyberbullying results in the development of mental health disorders of the patients. According to research, 20% of the victims of cyber end up becoming mentally ill. Also, the victims frequently suffer from headaches and stomach aches (Schacter, Shayna, and Jaana, 119). Among other ailments that are attributable to cyberbullying include skin disorders and stomach ulcers. Most of the victims of cyberbullying usually are binge drinkers, a condition that contributes significantly to the development of more chronic maladies such as cancer and liver cirrhosis. In addition, cyberbullying usually has an adverse effect on the sleeping patterns of the victims in the sense that most of the sleep for more hours than usual. Cyberbullying is a major risk factor for suicide. The victims, especially the teenagers and the children, feel tormented by the offensive messages, emails, and photos sent to them the bullies (Schacter, Shayna, and Jaana, 119). 

Consequently, they end up killing themselves due to increased anxiety and depression. Since the advent of social media, cases of cyberbullying related crimes have continued to increase. It therefore evident that cyberbullying is a threat to the welfare of teenagers, especially with the increase in the prevalence of social media use. As earlier mentioned, the cases of cyberbullying have continued to incline. One of the cases of cyberbullying took place in 2008 when a 13-year-old girl by the name Megan Meier who committed suicide after facing cruelty on social media platforms (Ingham, 1). Megan killed herself after a group of people, including a police officer, created a Myspace account in the name of a young man with the intention of teasing her. Later, the conversations of Meagan with the fake account were exposed to other social media platforms. The little girl felt humiliated and ended up killing herself. Another case of cyberbullying is about a ten-year-old y the name Ashlynn Conner to the extent of forcing her mother to homeschool her. Ashlynn’s schoolmates used to body shame her in school, and when she decided to adopt the homeschooling program, her peers decided to body shame her on social media. Due to immense depression and devastation, Ashlynn ended up hanging herself using a scarf (Ingham, 1). Hailee Lamberth, a thirteen-year-old girl, also committed suicide after her peers cyberbullied her for the reason that she was suffering from epilepsy. Kenneth Weishuhn is a teen boy that was cyberbullied after his peers realized that he was gay. His classmates created an anti-gay Facebook account, and even went ahead to threaten to kill him. After being harassed for a long time, the 14-year-old boy ended up killing himself (Ingham, 1). From the above cases, it is evident that females usually are more prone to cyberbullying through social media. 

These cases reveal that cyberbullying is detrimental to the welfare of individuals, especially young people. There are various ways through which cyber bullying can possibly be prevented. First, social media users should make sure not to expose their personal information in their social media accounts as cyberbullies use this information to create offensive content against the victims. In efforts to avoid the adverse physical and emotional effects that cyberbullying has on victims, the victims should make sure to speak out in case they are bullied on social media or other platforms. According to research, only 10% of the victims of cyberbullying usually speak out to their parents, guardians, or relatives. Lack of speaking out contributes significantly to the incline in depression rate (Watts, 271). Therefore, it is important for the victims to understand the relevance of telling someone in the event that they are bullied. It is the responsibility of every social media user to implement effective strategies that help to secure their data from cyberbullies. Another important recommendation that will help to curb cyberbullying is that victims of cyberbullying should not ignore cases of bullying; instead, they should work hard to ensure that they hold the cyberbullies accountable. The social media platforms also have a role to play in the prevention of cyberbullying. These platforms should implement preventive measures that are instrumental in cyberbullying. Besides, the platforms should provide flexible options for social media platforms whereby they can block individuals with the intention of cyberbullying (Raskauskas and Amanda, 120). 

The platforms should also make sure to punish users who misuse the platforms severely. Parents also have a role to play in preventing the negative effects of cyberbullying on their children. Parents are required to frequently monitor the social media accounts of their children to make sure that they are free from cyberbullying. In case a child is bullied, the parent is required to contact the parent of the other child who bullied his/her child. The government has the responsibility to set up rules that will help curb cyberbullying. In conclusion, cyberbullying has become an issue of concern, especially among teenagers. Traditional bullying was the main type of bullying in the 1990s before the advent of cyberbullying. Social media platforms and online gaming are the major channels of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying usually has adverse effects on both the emotional and physical welfare of an individual. Cyber bullying has contributed significantly to the increase in the cases of teenage suicides all over the globe. The parents, government, and social media platforms have a role to play in curbing cyberbullying. Parents are required to regularly monitor the social media platforms of their children while the platforms should make sure to incorporate effective preventive measures. 

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