Cyberbullying is becoming one of the leading causes of depression and suicide among youths now. As peer pressure grows and with more bullies hitting on unassuming targets, the number of victims of cyberbullying constantly increases. It can happen anywhere and everyone can be a victim. One such case is the recent cyber bullying that took place in Fort Collins, Colorado, where several girls from school were believed to be targeted as victims. What officials suppose is that the experience could lead to long-time emotional and psychological scarring; prompting school officials to work double-time and begin psychological debriefing of the girls.
Cyberbullying is the "willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices" (Hinduja & Patchin 2007). It is not much different from traditional bullying because the factors that drive bullies to do it are the same. Cyberbullying causes the same emotional high for the bullies and the impulse for bullying is brought by the bully's need for power, greed, and the desire to control another individual. It is also their form of hiding their own weaknesses. Therefore, individuals who possess such characteristics could become bullies as well.
Generally, bullies choose those whom they think are weaker than they are and do not have the guts to fight back. The power they derive from bullying gives them a high as it provides them a false sense of worth. According to research, those who were bullied in the past or have untold problems at home become bullies themselves (Ehiorobo). A bully's childhood also leads to a lot of conclusions as to what causes bullies to hurt other people. Typically, they are the ones who have experienced parental neglect, where physical abuse and verbal tussles are the norm. They see shouting and physical aggression as an easy way to get what they want. Other causes of cyberbullying are anger, low self-esteem, envy, jealousy, and bitterness, which prompt them to load off their emotional baggage on others.
These actuations cause long-term negative effects not only on the victims but on the bullies as well. For the victims, they withdraw socially in order to avoid being seen by the bullies. Because of this, they often feel depressed and restless, which makes them anxious about going to school. They also display decreased interest in activities that they used to enjoy and begin doing poorly at school. They experience feelings of insecurity, loneliness, and humiliation, self-pity, and struggle with making emotional attachments with people. As such, they harbor feelings of anger and vengefulness towards the bullies, resulting to the victims either exacting revenge or opting for suicide (Hinduja & Patchin 2007).
For the bullies, these negative behaviors become apparent even in adulthood thus, they remain a bully all their lives. As a result, the bullies do not complete their education, become verbally and sexually abusive towards their partners and children, drug addicts, and alcoholics, among others.
The best way to approach this problem is to keep the parents and children informed about the repercussions of bullying and what they can do to address the problem. The consequences of bullying are far-reaching and can permanently harm the psyche of many adolescents. Thus, the approach of school officials on the Fort Collins cyberbullying is very much appropriate, considering that as soon as word got out regarding the matter, school officials initiated a meeting with the concerned students and began their counseling sessions immediately.
Ehiorobo, Terry. "Bullying in School: The Traumatic Effects of Bullying in Children." Crisis Prevention Institute. 2012. Web. 30 March 2013.
Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J.W. (2007). "Cyberbullying Research Summary – Emotional and Psychological Consequences." Web. 30 March 2013. < http://www.cyberbullying.us/cyberbullying_emotional_consequences.pdf>.