The communication technologies are increasing to respond to human demand in entertainment. It has created the latest phenomenon called cyberbullying which affects mostly children and adolescents by online harassment, cyberstalking, and denigration. As the results from this type of harassment, the victims are likely to experience lower self-esteem (Schäfer et al., 2004), loneliness (Marini, Dane, & Bosacki, 2006), or lack of empathy (Brewer & Kerslake, 2015) in terms of the psychological aspect. Moreover, social anxiety (Reid & Reid, 2007), depressive mood (Hinduja & Patchin, 2009), stress and suicide notions (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010) are the visible signs of the negative emotional state. In physical side, cyberbullying can lead to the eating disorders (Maddy Savage, 2009), aggressive behavior, and poor social skills (Marini et al., 2006). In other words, the focus is situated in three different considerable impacts which include the psychological, emotional, and physical aspects of online bullying, as well as the strategies to create a safe social network for the young generation.
2.0 Background information of Cyberbullying:
The word “bully” can be found from the 1530s (Harper, 2008). In the simplest sense, the bullying comes from two people, an intimidator and a victim. Traditional bullying and online bullying share some similar technical characteristics but they also have many differences. In cyberbullying, it allows the users to hide their identity behind a computer which can make it easy for the offender to attack the victims without seeing their physical response. It can happen in different forms including harassment, gossip, rumors, and seriously it can be death threats for young generation via mobile phones, email, social networking site such as Facebook, Instagram, Youtube. The bar chart below will provide the percentage of children who are bullied while using cell phones or order electronic devices in the Midwestern U.S.
Figure 1: The percentage of cyberbullying victimization ( Hinduja & Patchin, 2015)
The graph illustrates the percentage of cyberbullying victimization with the highest percentage is “I have been cyberbullied (lifetime)” as 34.4% and the lowest one is “posted a mean or hurtful picture online of me” as 4.6%. Due to being affected by bullying online, psychological, emotional and physical are three main issues that many children and adolescents are suffering from.
3.0 Psychological issues:
Psychological is one of three major impacts which are caused by the cyberbullying. The psychological problems are constituted by the changes of human characteristics such as lower self-esteem (Schäfer et al., 2004), loneliness (Marini, Dane, & Bosacki, 2006), or lack of empathy (Brewer & Kerslake, 2015). Cyberbullying causes directly or indirectly to the psychological, because of the long duration of interaction between children and social media. First of all, lower self-esteem is one of the pathological causes in the psychological side by online bullying. Valkenburg et al. (2006) define it as “an adolescents’ evaluation of their self-worth or satisfaction with three dimensions of themselves: physical appearance, romantic attractiveness, and the ability to form and maintain close friendships” (p.585). Obviously, self-esteem can be recognized primarily on the basis of perception. Secondly, Facebook is one of the psychological influences of increasing loneliness or isolation in victim’s behaviors (Ryan & Xenos, 2011). Because of the lack of interaction between parents and children, when they encounter bullying issues online, they neither can open their mind, nor expose their story to parents. They may feel overwhelmed and loneliness becomes the factor that affects to children. Furthermore, empathy is an attitude to keep children open to the world. As a result of cyberbullying, lack of empathy is an inevitable consequence. Moreover, not only these three negative problems but also many other impacts to psychological side on children and adolescents which are caused directly and indirectly by the online harassment. Though lower self-esteem, loneliness, and lack of empathy are three impacts which are commonly existed in children and adolescents.
In addition, the second impact which is caused by the cyberbullying is the emotional. It is the condition which leads to the uncontrollable deed of person’s behaviour and thinking. Emotional is the serious problem which creates many substantial sentiments such as social anxiety (Reid & Reid, 2007), depressive mood (Hinduja & Patchin, 2009), stress and suicide notions (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010). As same as the psychological effect, children who are fearful of being harassed for a long time may have a social anxiety disorder that will influence their emotions. Students are overwhelmed with worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. The fact is that individuals with social anxiety often seek the ease of social media and online messaging as a form of communication. This shows that individuals who want to get rid of fear may share more personal and emotional information. Moreover, depression has implicated affect to children and adolescents victims and offending (Hinduja & Patchin, 2009). Depressive mood or autism which is identified as depression in the low mood with negative thoughts such as helpless, hopeless, uncontrollable of feeling and anxious. Besides, stress is one of the common problems and suicide notions are occurred when victims have some difficulties in solving the problems and choosing to face their issues by themselves. In other words, cyberbullying is more likely to cause emotional symptoms such as social anxiety, depression, stress and suicidal ideations, therefore emotional totally becomes a serious problem which is contributed by the online harassment in children and adolescents
5.0 Physical issues:
Finally, the third impact caused by the cyberbullying is the physical issue. Physical impact is the decrease or change of one more functions of a sense of the body by affected directly or indirectly to negative things in long-term condition. Hence, the number of children who are intimidated tendency will have many physical issues such as the eating disorders (Maddy Savage, 2009) with aggressive behaviors and poor social skills (Marini et al., 2006). Due to being intimidated, children and adolescents are more likely to have some neglect of self-care behaviors such as skipping meals, consuming large amounts of food unconsciously, which will result in eating disorders. Moreover, children who are directly affected lead to aggressive and poor social skills that reduce their ability to communicate to the social community, especially in school. In the physical side, eating disorders in the long phase affect the children’s development because the foods are absorbed poorly and inadequate nutrients provide to the body. Consequently, similar to psychological and emotional, physical problems which are contributed by cyberbullying also become a serious impact on the youths.
6.0 Strategies and solutions:
However, there are many strategies and solutions to prevent the cyberbullying in children and adolescents. To avoid the online harassment to young people that not only the role of parents and school but also children. Parents should use their control mode to prevent the online bullied by creating online agreements or contacts for computer use. Moreover, educating children how to protect their privacy such as password, personal information to the others. Parents can also teach them to notify adults as soon as the first sign of the threat. Kids refuse to trust their family as they are afraid that parents will cut off the Internet and take away cell phones when recognize they have been bullied online, so only 8% of the youths exposed confidences to their parents (Mishna, McLuckie, & Saint, 2009). As same as parents, teachers in school need to be more proactive in preventing and protecting kids and teenagers from bullying online. Utilizing the KiVa program which applies the whole-school anti-bullying policy, awareness-raising activities in cyber world (Salmivalli, Kärna, & Poskiparta, 2011), helps students to understand and deal with cyberbullying. In addition, use the “Quality circle” which helps students in self-research about the impacts and the strategies of cyberbullying (Paul, Smith & Blumberg, 2012). Besides, teach young people to make wise decisions and help them to think prudently before they act while communicating online. Obviously, self-protect is also an important way to stop being online harassment. The younger generations should safeguard their password and private information, neither allow anyone can see it nor give it, even your best friend, and set up privacy control to notice when someone logs in. Raising awareness and never open unidentified and unsolicited messages (Hinduja & Patchin, 2012). Although these strategies to prevent children from cyberbullying, there are many kids still suffer from the bullying because of the lack of self-awareness and non-compliance.
In summary, to be attracted in interaction for long-term conditions between not only children but also adolescents in the social network that leads to the online bullying. Cyberbullying becomes a critical issue that has spiraled out of control because our young generations are suffering from its various impacts through three main aspects, which are psychological, emotional and physical. These three main impacts lead to both the unstable mood in family and the poor performance at school. Parents as well as teachers must be aware of the effects of cyberbullying on children and adolescents. Therefore, it is important to reduce the number of victims and avoid the afterward consequences by implementing those strategies and solutions. Nevertheless, children who know how to guard themselves by raising awareness together with cautioning against everything will deteriorate cyberbullying as well as become more flexible and intellectual in the way they learn at the present and in the future.
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