Cyberbullying is an issue that is causing many mental health issues amongst young people. Relationships are easily threatened thanks to this new form of bullying. The internet is to blame for this distress.
In his article, Steven Walker discusses how cyberbullying is possibly more harmful that common forms of bullying for 3 reasons:
- the secretive nature of the attack
- the invasion of personal space
- the idea that potentially harmful messages can be displayed publicly to a large audience
The secretive nature is a huge issue, which makes cyberbullying so easy to do. People hide behind their devices, as they gain the confidence to say the things that they may be too afraid to say in person. Without the technologies to shield their faces, bullying rates would probably drop significantly. A female victim of this form of bullying stated, “There is no hiding place from cyber-bullying.” Anyone can be a victim at any moment, publicly attacked for many people to see. It can occur anywhere, at any moment. There truly is nowhere to hide- nobody is safe.
Another issue with cyberbullying that Walker proposes is that people can use social media to post images or videos, send hurtful text messages, and even steal identities online, similar to the MTV show Catfish. Things like this aren’t possible through common forms of bullying. It is clear that in some ways, technology is tearing apart relationships. By being so simple and accessible, it seems to be occurring more frequently. Research states, “more than 80% of children in the UK have access to home computers and more than 75% of children aged eleven own a mobile phone.” Because of the accessibility, bullying becomes so easy to do, in such a quick fashion.