Cyberbullying is defined as a form of bullying or harassment using electronic means of communication, such as cellular phones, laptops, computers and tablets. From these devices, bullies are able to reach their targets via text messages, messaging apps, or social networking sites. While all harmful behavior occurs on the internet, the effects of cyberbullying can be very much felt in real life and can have disastrous consequences if allowed to go unchecked.
Tracking a cyberbully and making them own up to their actions is usually one way to make the abuse stop. However, there are various long-term repercussions that can affect a person’s psyche due to cyberbullying.
Read on for how you can identify the most common signs of cyberbullying and how they can affect individuals in real life:
Increased Emotional Distress
Typical and immediate responses to being victimized by a cyberbully include anger, frustration, and sadness. Usually, the degree of problems offline is directly proportional to how much bullying behavior is experienced online. Victims of cyberbullying are often stressed – making it difficult for them to identify where the harmful online behavior is coming from. In the victim’s distress, these bullies can easily obfuscate their movements by creating several social media accounts and personas in order to hide their identities, as well as make it seem as though the victim is disliked by many as opposed to just one person.
Bullying, at its core, reduces the victim’s self-esteem as they perceive that they are disliked by their peers or their colleagues. If your child or a loved one used to be bubbly and vivacious, but has seemed less confident or brave lately, it may be time to look into what’s happening in their life.
Isolation and Withdrawal
Bullied victims often fold into themselves, withdrawing from family members, relatives, and friends. They may spend a lot of time alone as a result of the bullying. They may also be led to believe that being around other people only hurts or that most people are out to cause them pain or emotional harm. Being cyberbullied can cause them to be excluded or ostracized at school or in the workplace, meaning they end up alone as a matter of course.
Indulging in Harmful Habits
Many victims of cyberbullying turn to outlets such as smoking or consuming alcohol in response to being bullied. They are also more prone to having behavioral problems and taking less of an interest in school, work, or other productive activities. The stress of being bullied sometimes causes victims to skip school or work and become less responsible, causing grades to plummet or decreased work productivity.
Becoming the victim of bullies is never an easy situation to deal with. If you notice someone displaying these telltale signs, you might want to consider getting help for them. Ignoring these symptoms is a sure way for your bullied friend or loved one to get worse. Providing them the much needed support that they need is but the first step towards their road to recovery.