Cyberbullying is the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature. According to firstsiteguide.com, recent studies have shown that 7 in 10 young adults experience cyberbullying before they hit the age of 18, and cyberbullying is the use of any type of harassing, threatening, and demeaning language with the intent to cause emotional and psychological harm. The most common types of online bullying are posting mean comments, starting online rumors, make sexual remarks, sharing screenshots of other’s posted content; and are most often posted to make fun of a person’s appearance, intelligence, race, or sexuality.
Adolescents that have reported being cyberbullied also report experiencing low self-esteem, low self-worth, social anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Recent studies also show that more adolescent suicides are connected to teens being bullied online.
With the internet already dubbed as a dangerous and influential platform, most people are shocked to find out that not only are teens more prevalent to being bullied online, but that 35% of them participate in cyber self-harm aka self-trolling. In other words, teens are anonymously bullying and trolling themselves online.
According to goodtherapy.org, this new trend also known as digital self-harm, is more common among males than females. Multiple studies also show that most males do it for attention while females participate in it to cope with depression and psychological pain.
In addition, sites like cybersmile.org and firstsiteguide.com report that, researchers believe that most teens who practice this trend are doing it for the following reasons:
- A cry for help
- To gain popularity
- Buildup their self-esteem by triggering compliments
- To get attention
- To test friendships
- To regulate emotion
- To punish oneself
- To gain a sense of control
- To combat dissociation
The concept of Cyber Self-Harm is relatively new to most people; but is a growing issue among adolescents. Any form of self-harm that is not treated can ultimately become a habit. According to whatis.com ways that parents can help and support their child if they suspect this is occurring is too:
- Maintain open communication
- Monitor online usage on all social media platforms regularly
- Avoid judgement and listen with an open mind
- Build a positive support system
- Consult a professional if deemed necessary
It is important to also understand that most parents will want to blame technology for their child’s behavior. However, technology and social media platforms are merely a tool for expressing the behavior.