Cyberbullying: The Rise Of A Problem Because Of Social Media

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Social media has increased over the years of the 21st century and is a way for many teenagers to explore and communicate. Social networking sites, also known as SNS, or social media are places of communication that allows users to get involved, interact, and create content. Popular social platforms including: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Using these sites makes cyberbullying invisible behind screens and is no longer done physically but online. Teens are more likely to experience cyberbullying because of the easy access they have to technological devices. I will explore the effects cyberbullying has on teenagers and the LGBTQ community.

Teenagers are now facing a new way of (traditional) bullying that is known as cyberbullying. Traditional bullying is defined as aggressive behavior that is repeatedly and intentionally carried out against a defenseless victim (Olweus 1993). Cyberbullying is defined as aggressive behavior that is repeatedly and intentionally out against a defenseless victim using electronic forms of contact (Smith 2008) such as cellphones and the internet. The difference between both traditional bullying and cyberbullying is the use of electronic devices to form contacts. The use of electronic devices and media is increased to reach a larger public audience. It is very unlikely of direct feedback between the bully and the victim.

Cyberbullying is a modern form of bullying using social contacts and has been considered to be worse than traditional bullying. It is important to acknowledge the overlap between traditional bullying cyberbullying. 60% of teenagers had been bullied and also experienced cyberbullied (Schneider 2012). In the article “Is Cyberbullying is Worse than Traditional Bullying?” examines which one is worse based on study done on hypnotical scenarios between traditional vs. cyber. The study consists of ranking of scenarios from most or least severe, as well as considering the aggression and humiliation behind it. One of the questions used was “Since few days one of your schoolmates finds offensive message…” students had to option to choose cellphone, email, closet, and desk. Also, if they knew where the message was coming from.

In this study cyberbullying have found that anonymity increases the level of experienced fear, since potentially anyone could be the bully, including friends or other trusted people (Badiuk 2006; Mishna et al. 2009). Cyberbullying scenarios were perceived as worse than traditional ones in public scenarios, although the effect size was found to be small. The role of publicity, results showed that public scenarios were perceived as worse than private ones in both traditional and cyber scenarios, with large effect sizes. The result of this study clarify that cyberbully is not perceived as worse than traditional bullying. That does not mean that there are no that cyberbully does not affect teenager’s everyday life.

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In the article, “The Mitigating Role of Ecological Health Assets in Adolescent Cyberbullying Victimization” mentions reports of cyberbullying prevalence have varied; a recent systematic review identified lows of 3% and highs of 72% for cyberbullying victimization in the United States (Selkie 2015). Cyberbullying can increase the risky health problems and behavior among teenagers. In an article about Thai adolescents, it was discovered that the victim group had more general health issues such as: stress, anxiety, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, or problems in daily life, where adolescents have to hide from others or avoid questions from others about events encountered by them in cyberspace” (Charoewanit). In worst case scenarios cyberbullying victims can have suicide thought or commit suicide. Teenager can be affected by “psychological distress through communication overload and reduced self-esteem” (Guinta).

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 93% of teens go online on a daily basis sand 56% access online material several times a day (Lenhart [36]). When it comes to online risk behavior research has shown it is different among boys, and girls they can either be the victims or be the cyberbullies. For girls that the probability of cyberbullying involvement increased due to patterns of online communication (Festl, Ruth, and Quandt 2016). Compared to boys their involvement only influenced by the exposure to certain contents (Festl, Ruth, and Quandt 2016). Depending on social media interaction teens can face the risk of cyberbullying.

Parent Should Be Monitoring Their Devices

Data has showed a higher level of cyberbullying participation among younger girls during early and middle adolescence. In the finding, girls start to use cyberbullying earlier as an advanced aggressive social tactic can be explained from a developmental perspective: A large array of studies have confirmed that early maturing girls experience more external problematic behavior (e.g., Mendle et al. 2007). As well as for boys they also have a high level of cyberbully involvement in perpetration. Cyberbully seems to be a more common behavioral patterns for boys in lower-track education schools.

Explanations for this finding might be for boys and extend from an absence of rules from parents and teachers. As well as social groups they are involved with. It is commonly seen in boys that are in an environment of aggressiveness and are within lower-education track schools. It is different for female adolescent, as highly educated girls were more prone to perpetrate cyberbully in our study. Online communication technologies are often used the radar of authorities (see Vanden Abeele 2015). So that using them for rule breaking behavior might be a suitable strategy for higher-educated girls, who strive to maintain their image as diligent and well-behaved. Although online girls tend to communicate with much more aggressive behavior with others. In the article findings indicate that female victims compared to male victims tend to respond to their victimization experiences with aggressive behavior of their own.

The LGBTQ community are known to face cyberbullying on the daily basis about 9.7% experienced cyberbullying and 10.1% experienced both cyberbullying and traditional bullying (Abreu 2018). LGBTQ students have higher rates of depression, low self-esteem and more suicidal attempts. LGBTQ students reported experiencing more cyberbullying; approximately 14.8% more than heterosexual students. Bisexual students reported higher incidents of cyberbullying than heterosexual and LGTQ students; approximately 25.5% more than heterosexual and 10.7% more than LGTQ students (Abreu 2018). found that 35% of LGBT participants reported having suicidal thoughts while 14% reported attempting suicide as a result of being cyberbullied. Also, (Duong and Bradshaw [17] ) found that LGB participants attempted suicide in the past 12 months at a rate of 3.07 times higher after being cyberbullied.

Students should be by their parents of all cyberbullying threats that are in all of these social platforms. We should also have stricter laws about cyberbullying and how it a real big issue. In an article, the author mentions that, “This bullying can have detrimental effects; thus, criminal liability may be appropriate if the harm inflicted rises to a level that constitutes a crime.” If we cannot find ways to protect teenagers from online harassment form cyberbullying it can lead to a greater increase in mental health and self-harm.

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