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According to latest 2020 cyberbullying statistics, 37% of middle and high school students reported to have been cyberbullied during their lifetime[1]. Due to constant development of technology and popularity of social media sites, online bullying is considered to be one of the easiest means of harassment, as well as the most common online risk for all teens[2]. Cyberbullying is excessively dangerous because it can lead to physical self-harm, substance abuse, and self-isolation.

Online bullying can cause people to intentionally injure themselves. There are people in the world who are more strong-willed than others. Those, who do not have an especially strong personality against mean replicas, can become easy targets to bullying that takes place in various internet platforms. Such actions can become one of the reasons for a desire to cause pain to one’s body. As reported by a 2017 study, one in four students who suffered from online harassment, started to self-harm[3]. This is due to the fact that negative feelings, that are caused by mean comments, may result in the victim feeling like they have little to no control over their emotions. It is found that by harming their body, a person wishes to release their anger and frustration, replace the emotional distress for the physical pain, or in some cases, start to feel something other than emptiness[4]. The intentional self-infliction of pain can become a common way to deal with similar situations. For instance, the individual may feel like they have no other choice than to ease the hurt by harming their body. This can be extremely life-threatening and as a result, one may unintentionally end their life by feeling like they do not have enough strength to overcome the hate expressed by other people.

Exposure to malicious comments from different accounts may trigger drug abuse. There are different substances that can be listed as drugs. They can be gulped, snorted, injected, or smoked. It is easy to become addicted to them when they are being used frequently. However, for some people, they can be considered as way to lift their mood or forget hurtful opinions caused by others[5]. In addition, studies have shown, that the victims of bullying have a higher probability to turn to drug use[6]. What might encourage them to act in such a way, is the fact that the bullied person might have a history with experimenting harmful substances or perhaps they have grown up around similar environment. To give an example, after seeing offensive words directed at them, the individual feels that they need a quick way to relieve their mind and calm them down. This idea might motivate them to grab a bottle of an alcoholic drink, take a pill, or pick-up a cigarette. There is evidence, that drugs such as Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan generally bring relief within thirty minutes to an hour after consumption. Nevertheless, when taken regularly, they will intensify a person’s dependence and tolerance to them, as well as expose the person to various side effects[7]. Consequently, this might lead the abused one feeling like they need to take larger amounts of drugs to feel better.

Harassment in the cyberspace could potentially lead to self-isolation from others. If a person is comfortable, confident, can relate to others, and has a feeling that they belong in the community, they are experiencing what is called to be the social connectedness. Due to cyberbullying, these types of feelings can disappear, and the person may feel alone, have a lower self-esteem, do not trust others, and think that they do not belong anywhere[8]. To give an example, the bullied person could have a lot of friends and big loving family or be a dedicated introvert who prefers to spend the majority of their time alone. Being bullied in the online space, could possibly make them feel socially excluded and unloved. Studies have shown that victims of cyberbullying have a lower self-esteem[9]. While According to a 2015 study, people who had been victims to online based bullying were less socially connected when compared to those who have not experienced the act of receiving hurtful messages on Internet apps[10]. When bullying is done in the online space, a person’s opinion of themselves can be severely impacted. As a result, the need to close off may overshadow their mind and leave them feeling more alone than ever before.

Bullying in the online space can be the cause of people starting to purposely harm themselves, consume different types of drugs, or consciously close off from others. A solution on how to minimize the possibility of hurting their bodies due to someone’s constant harassment, would be to ask for help from a professional or someone that they trust.

Reference list

Crisp, S. (October 13, 2013). “Explainer: what is self-harm and why do people do it?”

https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-self-harm-and-why-do-people-do-it-11367

Ditch the label. (July, 2017). “The Annual Bullying Survey 2017”.

https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/The-Annual-Bullying-Survey-2017-1.pdf

Dualdiagnosis.com. (n.d). “Depression and Addiction” https://dualdiagnosis.org/depression-and-addiction/

Extremera, N., Quintana-Orts, C., Merida-Lopez, S., Rey, L. (March 22, 2018). “Cyberbullying Victimization, Self-Esteem and Suicidal Ideation in Adolescence: Does Emotional Intelligence Play a Buffering Role?” https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00367/full

McLoughlin, T. L., Hermens, F. D. (October 8, 2018). “Cyberbullying and Social Connectedness”. https://kids.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/frym.2018.00054

Schrader, J. (May 14, 2012). “Cyberbullying Versus Traditional Bullying”. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/teen-angst/201205/cyberbullying-versus-traditional-bullying

Security.org Team. (May 14, 2020). “Cyberbullying: Twenty Crucial Statistics for 2020”. https://www.security.org/resources/cyberbullying-facts-statistics/#resouces

Smith, M., Robinson, L., Segal, J. (September 2020). “Anxiety Medication”.

The Recovery Village. (January 20, 2021). “Bullying and Teen Substance Abuse”.

https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/teen-addiction/related/bullying-substance-abuse/

 

[1] Security.org Team. (May 14, 2020). “Cyberbullying: Twenty Crucial Statistics for 2020”.

https://www.security.org/resources/cyberbullying-facts-statistics/#resouces

[2] Schrader, J. (May 14, 2012). “Cyberbullying Versus Traditional Bullying”.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/teen-angst/201205/cyberbullying-versus-traditional-bullying

[3] Ditch the label. (July, 2017). “The Annual Bullying Survey 2017”.

https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/The-Annual-Bullying-Survey-2017-1.pdf

[4] Crisp, S. (October 13, 2013). “Explainer: what is self-harm and why do people do it?”

https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-self-harm-and-why-do-people-do-it-11367

[5] Dualdiagnosis.com. (n.d). “Depression and Addiction”. https://dualdiagnosis.org/depression-and-addiction/

[6] The Recovery Village. (January 20, 2021). “Bullying and Teen Substance Abuse”. https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/teen-addiction/related/bullying-substance-abuse/

[7] Smith, M., Robinson, L., Segal, J. (September 2020). “Anxiety Medication”.

[8] McLoughlin, T. L., Hermens, F. D. (October 8, 2018). “Cyberbullying and Social Connectedness”. https://kids.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/frym.2018.00054

[9] Extremera, N., Quintana-Orts, C., Merida-Lopez, S., Rey, L. (March 22, 2018). “Cyberbullying Victimization, Self-Esteem and Suicidal Ideation in Adolescence: Does Emotional Intelligence Play a Buffering Role?” https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00367/full

[10] McLoughlin, T. L., Hermens, F. D. (October 8, 2018). “Cyberbullying and Social Connectedness”. https://kids.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/frym.2018.00054