Good Evening. My name is Chioma Ogbonnaya. I attend Paul Public Charter School and I am in 7th grade. The topic of my discourse is Cyberbullying among our young people in elementary, middle, and high school, who are between 9 and 18 years old, and its impact on their psychosocial well being.
To start with, for the benefit of my peer readers and others alike, it is fundamental for me to define and explain what Cyberbullying is and also explain different kinds of Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is seen as the modern way of bullying. It is the use of electronic communication mediums such as computers, cell phones, Ipad, etc. to post mean-spirited messages about a person and it is often done anonymously (Merriam-Webster,2017).
CyberBullying comes in different forms but there are generally 7 types of Cyber Bullying. However, due to a shortage of time and space, I will discuss a few in this forum. Flaming cyberbullying involves sending angry, rude, or vulgar messages via text or email about a person either to that person privately or to an online group. Harassment CyberBullying involves repeatedly sending offensive messages, and cyber-talking attitudes toward the victim online. It also can involve publishing sensitive personal information online—including home address, email, phone number, social security number, photos, etc. —to harass, intimidate, extort, stalk, or steal the identity of a target. Bullying leads up to horrible things like suicide, depression, self-consciousness, and eating disorders. To stop this, adults and parents need to talk about the issue of cyberbullying in schools and make it known that it is wrong at home.
Indeed, many young people spend a lot of their precious time browsing social media forums such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., in an attempt to do fun activities and gain knowledge. Regrettably, what most of them find instead, is Cyberbullying of different dimensions. The negative impact of Cyberbullying on the life of our young people can never be over-emphasized. Cyberbullying has an inherent social effect on the victims. Much literature suggests that CyberBullied victims tend to manifest psychological problems such as depression, loneliness, eating disorders, low self-esteem, school phobia, and social anxiety (Grene, 2003, Juvonen, 2003 sciencedirect.com).
Additionally, with more teens getting into social media there has been a rise in mental health issues affecting a large number of teens. According to The National Institutes of Health, “A review of the evidence suggests that cyberbullying poses a threat to adolescents’ health and well-being. A plethora of correlational studies has demonstrated a cogent relationship between adolescents’ involvement in cyberbullying and negative health incidences. Adolescents who are targeted via cyberbullying report increased depressive affect, anxiety, loneliness, suicidal behavior, and somatic symptoms. Perpetrators of cyberbullying are more likely to report increased substance use, aggression, and delinquent behaviors.” This shows some of the many effects of cyberbullying and how it affects the well-being of teens and adolescents. These effects on children and teens need to be taken seriously by the adults in their lives.
Besides, Cyberbullying also influences the academic, social, and emotional development of the victims. It disturbs the peace of mind of a person who is Cyberbullied; hence, Cyberbullying is not a light matter. It needs to be taken seriously as it does have a lot of dangerous effects on the victims and their loved ones.
In the light of the above analysis, one may well ask, what is the solution to the Cyberbullying menace plaguing our young people? Some will say the solution to Cyberbullying is stopping young people from spending a lot of their time on the internet, which may decrease their exposure to the negative effects of cyberbullying. Others suggest asking young people to ignore the negative statements made toward them by the perpetrators.
As a matter a fact, The American Psychological Association states, “Schools and classrooms must offer students a safe learning environment. Teachers and coaches need to explicitly remind students that bullying is not accepted in school and that such behaviors will have consequences. Parents, teachers, and school administrators can help students engage in positive behavior and teach them skills so that they know how to intervene when bullying occurs. Older students can serve as mentors and inform younger students about safe practices on the Internet.” Thus, the evidence above demonstrates the need for collaboration by many stakeholders such as teachers, student mentors, administrators, and parents to help mitigate or eradicate the impact of cyberbullying on our young people.
Cyberbullying is a cruel practice that has tragically caused victims to take their own lives. So parents and adults should talk about these issues in schools and at home. I hope that I have compellingly shown what a serious issue cyberbullying is and what some effective solutions could be. I am calling on everyone who reads this to demand programs that fight cyberbullying in our schools and other settings NOW. Remember: what we do today can save lives tomorrow.