The effects of cyber bullying are just as damaging as real, in-person bullying – both to the emotional and psychological health of the victim.
Cyber bullying is the use of technology to harass others in a deliberate, abusive manner – either through email, text message, instant message, or through posts on website forums and social media pages like Facebook and Twitter.
Various studies have shown that children and teenagers who are subjected to daily abuse at the hands of their peers have an increased risk of developing anxiety and panic disorders, as well as depression. This can persist well into adulthood and later manifest into other physical health issues.
The same can be seen with cyber bullying victims, as one in four children on average are bullied online.
While the assailant is not physically shoving them around, they are still able to instill a sense of fear and hopelessness in their victims; tormenting, threatening, and harassing them through online mediums and cell phones. Nearly 80 percent of kids believe it is easier to get away with cyber bullying than it is in-person, says DoSomething.org. And girls are twice as likely to be both the victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying.
Bullying victims are up to nine times more likely to entertain thoughts of suicide, according to Yale researchers.
The death of Megan Meier, who hung herself in 2006, was attributed to cyber bullying through her MySpace account. Phoebe Prince’s death, led to the criminal prosecution of six teenagers who were charged with statutory rape. Prince committed suicide in 2010 after months of merciless bullying from her classmates following the reported sexual assault.
In the 2013 case of Rebecca Ann Sedwick’s suicide, two girls were arrested for terrorizing her online, posting ugly taunts and gossip on Facebook even after the girl was dead. One of the girls was quoted as saying in the Huffington Post, “Yes, I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but I don’t give a …”
The hate-speak is more than just words on a screen and can be just as damaging as taunting someone in person.