A new analysis reveals that cyberbullying causes chronic depression among teens and that one in four (1 in 4) of them is being targeted by ill intended people. Most of the victims are also likely be female users that are being blamed for past relationships gone wrong.
Cyberbullying is defined by receiving offensive messages and threats in great numbers. These message take the shape of direct messages send on social media platforms, posts on someone’s social media profile, emails and mobile text messages.
Michele Hamm, lead author and research associate with the Edmonton University, gave a statement saying that “Within the depression category, there was a consistent association between exposure to cyberbullying and an increased likelihood of depression”.
She went on to offer an explanation, saying that when kid and teens are being cyberbullied, they usually don’t feel compelled to talk to anyone about the experience, or even tell them that it is happening. The reason is that most young interned users are afraid parents would take away their internet access if they were to find out about it.
She added that management and prevention efforts have to take place at multiple levels if we are to make a difference – teens, parents, teacher and health experts all have to be educated in the subject.
For their review, published earlier this week, on Monday (June 22, 2015), in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, Hamm and her team looked at 36 studies previously conducted by experts at the Ontario Centre for Excellence for Child, the University of Alberta and the Adolescent Mental Health from Ottawa.
The lead author informed that the motivation behind the projects was to find out whether or not social media could affect kids and teen negatively since it is so common among them. They also had the intention of developing prevention strategies if the risks proved to be real.
The results showed that female users are being cyberbullied much more often than male users, and that the attackers typically blame them for past friendships and romances that have ended.
Hamm shares that female users are also being attacked for being popular and insulted for their physical appearance, while male users are usually being attacked with homophobic comments and insulted for their poor physical abilities.
Depending on each study examined, the prevalence that cyberbullying had ranged between five percent (5%) and 74 percent (74%). Averaging the results of all 36 studies, the team came to a rate of 23 percent (23%) kids and teen that are being cyberbullied. What this means is that roughly one in four (1 in 4) young users have had one of these unfortunate experiences.
Users being targeted have been found to become depressed, withdrawn, embarrassed or angry. It is not yet confirmed whether of not lower grades and a fall in school attendance are the result of cyberbullying or of the above mentioned emotional state, however users who have been attacked online have exhibited this behavior.
Rob Frenette, co-founder and co-executive director of Bullying Canada Inc. gave a statement warning that the effects of such an experience most likely last well into adulthood and that depression is a very common response.
Defense mechanisms that teens and kids adopt include blocking a cyberbully, but rarely reporting them, or even living the social media website where the experience occurred.
Image Source: antibullyingpro.com