The Psychological Toll that Cyberbullying has on Mental Health

Cyberbullying is unique, especially in comparison to other forms of bullying. The umbrella term encompasses many repercussions.

First, the social platform allows the harassment to reach an unlimited audience despite being directed towards an individual. Once the comment is in the internet sphere, other individuals can easily contribute, whether that includes joining or reporting the account. The harassment is semi-permanent due to the accessibility of screenshots and the viral aspect. Lastly, individuals feel more empowered on social media platforms, which makes harassment easier to communicate online.

A study conducted by Charisse L Nixon discussed the impact of cyberbullying on adolescent and college students health. The general effect was psychosocial and psychosomatic. Psychosocial refers to anxiety and depression, and psychosomatic refers to stomachs and headaches.

Cyberbullying has impacted a wide spread of youth. Studies ranging from Turkish to Taiwanese youth indicate the diverse problem, 35.7% of Turkish youth displayed bullying behaviors and 39% of Swedish youth reported publishing harassment remarks. Another high statistic originates from Israeli youth, 32.5% reported knowing someone who was a victim of cyberbullying. America and Australia both report in various studies a statistic of 15% of youth that has engaged in harassment. The studies aim was to identify how many people displayed cyberbullying qualities and how victimization was interrelated to their mental health. Overall, the study found that with the higher levels of cyberbullying there were higher levels of psychosocial and psychosomatic impact. The study by Nixon reported that 93% of victims reported feeling powerless. Additional feelings were stress, which was notably reported at 32%.

A contextual framework is necessary towards fostering a proactive discussion as cyberbullying affects mental and physical health. Social support plays a significant role in helping the victim as it is common for targets to isolate themselves from friends and family. Building a framework that is inclusive of breaking down myths through education is a prominent aspect of building social support. The act of creating supportive environments off and online can establish communication and help set boundaries between the user and the social platform.

Works Cited:

Anderson, M., & Anderson, M. (2018, November 30). A Majority of Teens Have Experienced
Some Form of Cyberbullying. Retrieved from https://www.pewinternet.org/2018/09/27/a-majority-of-teens-have-experienced-some-form-of-cyberbullying/

2019 Cyberbullying Data. (2019, July 10). Retrieved from
https://cyberbullying.org/2019-cyberbullying-data

Nixon, C. L. (2014, August 01). Current perspectives: The impact of cyberbullying on adolescent
health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4126576/

Article by: Alexis Takagi

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