Cyberbullying has been defined as an act of employing electronic communication to perform an act of bullying a person often by sending messages of threatening or intimidating nature (Winterdyk). Cyberbullying can be performed by an individual or a group of individual and the target can be an individual or group of individuals. The various kinds of electronic technology that can be used to carry out the act of bullying are tablets, phones, and computers. Previously, the act of bullying used to take place when people were physically closer together. Later some bullying used to take place by use of letters where people who used to engage in bullying acts would send threatening or intimidating message or letters to other people. The advancements that has been achieved in the IT has expanded the arena of bullying. The internet and other sectors of the communication technology such as short messaging services has provided a platform where the acts of bullying takes place. The platforms not only provide a convenience means of bullying but also an effective platform. The social media has also made it possible for the culprits to hide their identity but also give them an opportunity where they can attack their victims multiple times by sending the messages since the cost sending is almost free. Cyber harassment is a form of cyberbullying. Several social media platforms have been used to perform acts of cyberbullying. Among the most popular platforms are twitter and Facebook. Studies conducted about cyberbullying has revealed a lot about not only what happens in cyberbullying but also effects it has on affected individuals. Cyberbullying has been shown to affect the targeted individuals in many ways.
Research in cyberbullying is rapidly gaining popularity past studies has not only tried to relate the traditional face-to-face cyberbullying but they have also tried to investigate the impacts of cyberbullying on the victims. For example, evidence has indicated that while suicides rates attributed to cyberbullying have attracted the attention of the media, it is neither the most prevalent nor the most likely type of impact on the victims. Even in circumstances where it has been shown that suicide was attributed to cyberbullying, the suicides cannot be associated singly to cyberbullying. Previous investigations support the view that cyberbullying is strongly associated with low self-esteem among the victims (Patchin 614-621). The results of the modern bullying that takes place in the internet are consistent with investigations of impacts of traditional face-to-face bullying which revealed that the impacts on the victims included lowered self-esteem (Patchin & Hinduja, 2010). Studies have suggested that besides the impacts of cyberbullying the decision to commit suicide among the victims is associated with other factors such as the well-being or health of the individual prior to the death. Other than, cyberbullying has been shown to cause other negative impacts on the victims. The impacts have been shown to be strongly associated with the impacts which used to be experienced by victims of the traditional face-to-face bullying. The modern cyberbullying has been found to affect the victims in many ways including but not limited to suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, psychosomatic problems such as sleep disturbances and headaches, and also poor self-esteem (Kowalski and Fedina).
The impacts of cyberbullying on academic performance is another area that has been widely studied. Some of the impacts of the cyberbullying that has been strongly associated with the wellbeing in the school include school avoidance, reduced concentration in class, and lower academic achievement at school (Kliegman et al.). In most of the circumstances, the act of cyberbullying had varying impacts on the health of the victims that included anger, confusion, sadness, loneliness, frustration, hatred, and distress (Manuela). The victims also reported cases of helplessness, serious relationship disruption, low self-esteem, increased feelings of vulnerability and loneliness, depression, emotional problems, suicidal ideation, fear, diminished self-worth, peer and emotional problems.
Investigations conducted on the basis of gender showed that there were varied impacts on the boys and girls. Research findings revealed that girls were more likely to encounter certain forms of cyberbullying that include exclusion, harassment on the basis of gender, and personal information about them displayed online (Bullying Statistics). They were also found to be more negatively affected by the messages they received. The findings showed that girls reported more frequently that they felt their reputation was negatively impacted by the cyberbullying they were subjected to. For example, they reported that their concentration was strongly affected and this largely affected their ability to relate and make friends with others. The experience they were exposed to made them have feelings of wanting to bully back. This further caused them start harboring suicidal thoughts. A study conducted among the university students showed that individuals who have been subjected to sexual harassment exhibited varying impacts. Some felt saddened while others were hurt. Still others developed poor concentration, developed anger, showed signs of anxiety, cried, and became fearful. In addition to reporting low levels of academic achievement some were also found to have been absent from school for a long time. The study conducted in the university students was a mirror to results of previous studies conducted on middle school children.
People communicate for a number of reasons. Communications skills vary across individuals. Beyond communication skills, other factors have been found to influence the way people communicate. The impact of self-esteem on communication has been widely investigated by many researchers. There has been an interest to find out the relationship between self-esteem and communication. In their study of the relationship between internet communication and self-esteem, Lindsay and Gant (157-171) found out that self-esteem has as strong influence on the internet communication. Contrary to what has been previously thought as a technology that isolates people, findings suggest that the internet can be linked to social involvement. The level of communication taking place on the internet can be used to assess many factors among individuals. In this context, the issue is self-esteem and communication. Individuals with low-self-esteem has been found to exhibit decreased levels of communication. In the social media arena, people who has low levels of self-esteem are not expected to communicate as they used to communicate before they developed a low self-esteem. A study on the relationship between personality and self-esteem in their use of communication technology showed that individuals who are disagreeable spent a lot of time calling each other while extraverted and neurotic individual spent a lot of time texting each other. On the other hand, individuals with lower self-esteem spent a lot of time communicating using instant messaging (Ehrenberg et al. 739-741). These results show that individuals who have been bullied and they end up developing self-esteem are more likely to change their pattern of communication. Drawing findings from previous research, they are more likely to communicate using instant messaging.
Bullying Statistics: Fast Facts About Cyberbullying. Covenant Eyes. N.p., 17 Jan. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.
Ehrenberg, Alexandra, et al. "Personality and self-esteem as predictors of young people's technology use." Cyberpsychology & behavior 11.6 (2008): 739-741.
Kowalski, Robin M., and Cristin Fedina. "Cyber bullying in ADHD and Asperger Syndrome populations." Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 5.3 (2011): 1201-1208.
Kliegman, Robert M. et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2015. Print.
Manuela, Cruz-Cunha, Maria. Handbook of Research on Digital Crime, Cyberspace Security, and Information Assurance. IGI Global, 2014. Print.
Patchin, Justin W., and Sameer Hinduja. "Cyberbullying and selfesteem." Journal of School Health 80.12 (2010): 614-621.
Shaw, Lindsay H., and Larry M. Gant. "In defense of the Internet: The relationship between Internet communication and depression, loneliness, self-esteem, and perceived social support." Cyberpsychology & behavior 5.2 (2002): 157-171.
Winterdyk, John A. Juvenile Justice: International Perspectives, Models and Trends. CRC Press, 2014. Print.
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