Why it matters to fight against abuse on the internet
Victims of cyberbullying are more likely to use alcohol and drugs and skip school than other students.
As also reported in our previous articles, are reports on abusive behaviours on the internet growing at an alarming rate. These trends seem to especially hit teenagers and cause concern among parents but also teachers and other important figures in society. Social networking sites have been criticized for being a breeding ground for cyber-bullying and harassment.
Abuse on the internet can cause emotional distress, psychosocial trauma and have serious mental health consequences for teenageres (link).
This study finds support for the view that online attitudes and behaviors of teens, including the amount of information they disclose in the public domain, the way they use the internet (privately or publicly) and the manner in which they interact with people online play a key role in determining whether they eventually become victims to online harassment and cyber-bullying. Uploading pictures of themselves accessible to all users, disclosing information about the school they attend or home phone number and instant messenger id, flirting with unknown people, visiting online chat rooms and privately accessing the internet are all key to unsolicited stranger contacts or being bullied online
In extreme situations, cyberbullying has led to suicide.
Cyberbullying can cause profound harm as it can quickly reach a wide audience, and can remain accessible online indefinitely, virtually ‘following’ its victims online for life. Bullying and cyberbullying feed into each other, forming a continuum of damaging behavior. Victims of cyberbullying are more likely to use alcohol and drugs and skip school than other students. They also are more likely to receive poor grades and experience low self-esteem and health problems. In extreme situations, cyberbullying has led to suicide. On Safer Internet Day, UNICEF is reminding everyone that kindness – both online and off – is a responsibility that begins with each of us.