Online bullying creates a constant feeling of insecurity
Cyberbullying has a long-term negative effect on mental and physical health. This is shown in research by communication scientist Sara Pabian. Social media do not intervene sufficiently strong. And adults and teachers are not always aware.
The current generation of young adults is the first generation that may have been bullied both offline and online during their childhood. According to research by associate professor Sara Pabian, bullying has been shown to have a long-term negative effect on the victim. “You’re then more likely to have lower self-esteem, and you’re less satisfied with your current life,” she said. Bullying also makes it difficult for young adults to engage in social interactions, and it affects their physical health.
In addition to negative effects, Pabian also found positive ones. “These people can also actually feel stronger and more resilient as adults and deal with difficult situations more easily.”
Social media ensures that everyone is available 24 hours a day. When you are being bullied, it can be hell. Pabian: “It used to be that you came home from school and the bullying was over for a while, now it continues, so that a safe home environment is also gone.”
Cyberbullying plays a particularly large role among young people between the ages of 12 and 14. Around this age, young people often switch to a new school and environment. According to Pabian, this group is extra vulnerable. “These young people are still developing and have yet to learn what appropriate behavior is online. They take more risks and share personal information, which makes them vulnerable.”
When you are being bullied via social media, hundreds of people can read along with you. There is also a good chance that none of those readers will stand up for you. According to Pabian, it is crucial that a victim is supported at such times. “For the victim, it then seems like everyone who reads along agrees with this, which is very disappointing.”
So support is very important for a victim. Pabian explains that this can also create long-term close friendships. “That can be with a friend but also with an adult, like a psychologist or a teacher.”
Victims of bullying can be traumatized by it. According to Pabian, it is important to talk about it: “Many adults still blame themselves after all those years, they should let go of that.” Also, according to Pabian, you can look at what was happening with the bully. “That way you can understand the situation better and place less blame on yourself.”
Translated by Language Center, Riet Bettonviel