The world is gradually starting to understand the different types of bullying that exist out there, especially cyber-bullying, which is the newest member of the bullying family. While extensive research has been conducted on the typical forms of physical bullying that exist at homes or at schools, the understanding about online bullying is still lacking on many fronts. One thing that every adult agrees upon is that cyber-bullying is proving to be more dangerous for the mental health of teenagers than physical bullying. There are many reasons for this new revelation regarding the impact of online bullying on the psychology of teenagers. Some of the reasons for online bullying causing mental stress are discussed below to help you grasp the concept in its entirety.
Virtually stressed out
The Family Institute is an organization committed to helping families from all walks of life to heal from psychological problems and as a result provides them with motivation to strengthen their mental capacity. Hollie Sobel, PhD, a Family Institute clinician who specializes in treating adolescents and their families, said, “While social media can serve to augment peer relationships in adolescence, it can also provide a forum for negative exchanges that can be quite hurtful.” She added, “Teenagers can’t emotionally process these painful experiences in the same way they do their face-to-face equivalents. There aren’t the same opportunities to work it out online.” This statement is important because the failure to pacify tense situations online can lead to stress among teenagers. After all, the human mind was designed to respond to facial expressions, tone of voice, and the general mood of the surroundings. The only virtual expression that can actually start a reaction in the human brain is a selfie of a pouting teenager. It makes the brain go cuckoo because no where does the theory of evolution suggest that it makes you look sexier.
Out of sight
The greatest problem with handling online bullying is the anonymity that the internet provides to its users. A victim of bullying cannot see the bully nor make sense of all the messages coming their way. Moreover, the help coming in from online friends in the shape of kind words might not be as effective because the victim can neither see them nor feel their presence in their immediate surroundings.
There is no such thing as an internet police yet that can intervene and stop cyber-bullying from taking place. The speed with which information flows in the virtual world can even put The Flash to shame. Therefore, if a teen is being bullied with taunting remarks online, other users can quickly jump into the fray and bombard the target with under harsh negative statements under the cloak of invisibility. Teens have a greater chance of succumbing to pressure in such cases where the attacks cannot be traced back to a single person.
In the eyes of parents, academics and clinicians, the greatest long-term effect of cyber-bullying on teens is the demotion of home from the level of safe-zone. In the old days children would get respite from bullying for a while once they entered the secure confines of their homes. Traditional bullies could not just walk into someone’s house and beat the living stars out of a weak soul. With the advent of social media, the safe boundaries of a house are safe no more because the victims can be attacked once they are online. This keeps teens mentally stressed throughout the day and makes them fearful 24/7. When the pressure becomes too much to handle for kids, they would break down mentally and plunge themselves into deep depression.
The next time you check your cyber-bullying facts, don’t forget to tick online bullying as the most dangerous form of bullying that destroys the mental health of kids more effectively than traditional bullying.