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Problem Solving Piece on Mental Causes and Effects of Cyberbullying

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Introduction

With the advancement of technology in our society comes a variety of ups and downs. Unfortunately, one of the biggest issues with the multimedia world today is the prevalence of cyberbullying. According to Pew Research on 2007 research found 32 percent of teens were cyberbullying victims. By 2016, just under 34 percent of teens reported they were victims of cyberbullying. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, research presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting revealed the number of children admitted to hospitals for attempted suicide or expressing suicidal thoughts doubled between 2008 and 2015. These are numbers that have been skyrocketing in the last couple of years due to the increase in the use of technology and are expected to continue rising due to the number of children who have access to the internet and mobile devices. According to DoSomething.org, 23% of students reported that they’ve said or done something mean or cruel to another person online. 27% reported that they’ve experienced the same from someone else. Therefore, if this problem is not prevented sooner it can be a worse effect on teenagers in the long term. The state government must play a serious role in addressing cyberbullying issues to minimize this issue and become more worse.

Majority of teenagers have experienced cyberbullying leads them to bully other people. This is because they feel angry and vengeful. Victims of cyberbullying are motivated to plot revenge on other people because they are angry about what is happening to them. This approach is not good for them because it keeps them locked in the bully-victim cycle. Furthermore, some cases of cyberbullying lead to suicide attempts because the victim cannot handle their emotions and feeling feel ashamed.

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Significance of Study

The research of this study will redound to the cause and effect of mental disorder of cyberbully to victim and bully in our society. It examines the fundamentals of cyberbullying such as what cyberbullying is, the causes and the effect of cyberbully that occur. It will also explain how to prevent cyberbullying from taking place, and ways to approach cyberbullying in terms of resolving the issue at hand if it does end up happening.

Literature Review

Numerous studies on the issue of cyberbullying among teenagers have been discussed. A study conducted by Beebe (2010), out of 202 college students in the United States, 50.7% of the undergraduate students represented in the sample claimed to have been experiencing cyberbullying victimization once or twice during their time in college and additional 36.3% reported cyberbullying victimization on a monthly basis while in college. While a study by Walker et al.,( 2011) with 131 students from seven undergraduate classes in the United States, 11% of the respondents indicated having experienced cyberbullying at the university. Of those, Facebook (64%), cell phones (43%) and instant messaging (43%) were the most frequent technologies used. Students indicated that 50% of the cyberbullies were classmates, 57% were individuals outside of the university, and 43% did not know who was cyberbullying them. Jung Hae-myoung (2018), in his article, stated that schools are ignorant of what is going on between students because teachers do not see any physical harassment in class but online school violence happens beneath the surface.

Cyberbullying can occur in many different ways due to the various forms of technology available. The most common types are through a phone call, text message, email, picture/video clip, instant message, website, or chat room. Text messaging, phone calls, and emails were the most frequent method used out of them all. The majority of this was found to take place outside of school, usually at home. Therefore, children who are using technology frequently when at home are at greater risk (Smith, 2008). There are various types of cyberbullying that takes place. The main categories are harassment, flaming, denigration, and impersonation. From this research, there is a various reason beyond this problematic social phenomenon, cyberbullying. Usually, people only blame hundred percent to the one who bullied but somehow, based on Hinduja and Patchin’s research, there are top three causes cyberbullying happens due to mental disorder. The top three of the causes are 22.5 percent just to claim revenge, 18.7 percent occurs because it was deserved by the victims and 10.6 percent occurs just for fun Hinduja and Patchin (2009).

Cause

Bully is a person who habitually seeks or to harm people or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable. The reason why people do cyberbully is because its unknown. Revenge is one of the reasons to motivate someone to become a bully. Being one of the victims of cyberbullying makes them think that harassing other people is natural as some deserved to be bullied because of their bad mouth, bad behavior and attitude. Some people become bully because they want to boost their ego, to get revenge and to get attention. These individuals easily harass others to entertain themselves. According to Hébert, Cénat, Blais, Lavoie, and Guerrier (2016), “ Child sexual abuse, bullying and cyberbullying leads to mental health disorder among teenagers”. According to this study mental disorder is one of the causes of why people become bullier. Family problem is one of the reasons why they are involved in cyberbullying. This is because they do not get a lot of attention from their family. By bullying other people make them entertain themselves. Attention is the thing that all children want. Having family conflict is the chance that some children lose what should they get.

About 4 percent said that these problematic phenomena happen because of unawareness of guardians. The highest level of consciousness from guardians really needed to make sure that their children protected from any kind of harassment that can lead to cyberbullying later. But somehow, parents nowadays was very busy with their works that sometimes causes great socio-psychological or physical harm to children due to lack of proper care of guardian. Supposedly, parents should create a good and friendly relationship with their children so that their children can share any personal matter with them. Again, if there exists so much collaboration among family members, we can reduce the percentage of cyberbullying and children have few chance to spend more time on cyberspace either to bully others or being bullied by others.

The stressful life of a student is also considered one of the causes which contribute to cyberbully. These children who were pressured by their parents and surrounding to achieve good grades in the examination and to fulfill the parents’ dream tend to release their stress to other children who seem to have smaller built and weaker. Most parents do care about their children’s education. However, there are some out there who always expect their children to be good in every aspect, especially in their studies. They should support their child instead of giving them pressure and allowing them to have a normal life as a student. According to Anjali Hazari(2013), there is the International Baccalaureate (IB) subject selection, where parents often insist their child should take the higher-level option despite the child doesn’t meet the grade requirements. When students struggle to understand the concepts of a demanding subject and its accompanying workload, the concern is raised that the student is under pressure.

Effect

Victims of cyberbullying were bullied because they are shy, isolated or socially awkward. Having low self-esteem is one of the reasons why they are being bullied. Bullies search for victims who they perceive as weak because they will be too embarrassed to tell that they have been bullied. The effect on people who have been bullied is having a mental disorder. Having mental disorders can lead to numerous negative impacts on victims of cyberbullying. According to Belsey (2004), “cyberbullying happens when information and communication technologies involved and used to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by individual or group that harms others” (Belsey, 2004).

Without our knowledge, the person that having mental disorders due to cyberbullying can lead to emotional responses. Being bullied by peers, the consequences that usually victim experience is lacking of acceptance in the peer groups which also can lead to loneliness, social isolation, and low self-esteem. Not only that, the worst effect on the victim is the risk of alcohol and drug dependency which comes from the increase of depression. Mostly, the victims always feel unsafe and isolated also experience psychosomatic problems.

With the rise of mobile phones and social media, teenagers have become a driving force in the development and design of new tools for interaction with their friends. According to Lenhart, Purcell, Smith and Zickuhr (2010), “ More than 90% of all U.S. teens 13-17 own a cellphone, while nearly three-quarters (73%) own a smartphone.” On these platforms, teenagers can continue to engage in innocuous correspondences and exchanges. However, though the mobile phone provided many advantages, it has also caused some problems.Many of these spaces have become grounds for a range of cyberbullying activities, which can have serious negative effects on victims’ mental health deterioration.

Cyberbully has been known highly for its contribution toward the increase of suicide among the victim. Suicide is the second most frequent cause of death amongst those aged between 15 and 29 years old (World Health Organization, 2014). The Internet has helped to simplify human life in communication and as a source of information. However, the presence of social media over the past two decades has caused chaos in bullying crime. The use of social media applications such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram can spread false information as well as rumors in a short time. These can be in the form of images and videos of the victim in an inappropriate or embarrassing situation. According to Monica Anderson(2018), one-quarter of teens say they have been sent explicit images they didn’t ask for, while 7% say someone has shared explicit images of them without their consent. Exposure to such occurrence has contributed to perceived stress, depressive symptomatology, loneliness as well as psychological distress. They will spend most of their time locked in their room and repeatedly thinking of a suicide attempt. As Navarro et al. (2018) indicate, one’s meaning in life can be seriously harmed by repeated experiences of cyberbullying, leading to feelings of impotence and the inability to resolve the problem in victims, as well as helplessness due to the feeling that no one can help them to escape the situation of cybernetic abuse.

Solution

Cyberbullying on social media among undergraduate college students is a problem that needs immediate attention either for the bullied or victims. This problem can cause a student to lose perspective of who they are and can lead to suicide, violence, and school dropout. One of the solutions to overcome cyberbullying is counseling and therapy. Due to the increase in technology use and instances of cyberbullying, College and university officials should address this issue. Prevention strategies should be in order to address this problem. The most effective way to tackle the issue is for universities to work collaboratively with university counseling centers, counseling faculty, and counselors in other community agencies. Counselors can help universities develop interventions and prevention strategies as well as provide counseling if needed. Some of these strategies should be included for cyberbullying prevention education for every semester for example like brochures, posters, and web page announcements about cyberbullying. Lastly, college and university officials should put intervention strategies in place to help combat this situation. Some of these interventions may include providing counseling to victims; providing counseling to the perpetrators; and holding town hall meetings and/or group counseling sessions to help students cope with incidents. Important role of University officials and counselors to educate everyone on the seriousness of cyberbullying should be done in order to prevent cyberbullying.

Secondly, there are preventative measures that the developer of social media and technological tools should take action in order to prevent cyberbullying. They should take an initiative to make sure the internet and social media users are safe to use it. Much of the advice about preventing cyberbullying concerns training children and their parents in e-safety and implementing technological tools to counteract the cyberbullies’ behavior (Cowie, 2011). Once implementing the technological tools is created they should work to raise awareness campaigns about how this tool works and helps them to prevent cyberbullying from occurs. They should take some steps to make cyberspace safer for children and young people to use it. The developer of social media should create the panic button as a technological tool that installed with the apps for children to press if they suspect they are being abused. From this panic button the developer of the apps can trace the information of that person. Another action that can be taken from this solution is to train‘ cybermentors,’ young people who are vigilant on the internet. These cybermentors will help them to work in shifts offering help to victims by comfort them by immediately calling them giving motivation for them and coming to the aid of the people on the spot. Cybermentors also can help to trace the bully location and all of their information. In this case, they can meet the bullier and ask about what their problem why there are acting like this. Through this meeting session, they can comfort them to stop doing this bad behavior and let them know the effect that they have done to the victims. They also need to do community service as their punishment.

Today, there are several sites offering mental health information as well as private e-therapy clinics. This online therapy can be one of the effective solutions to cyberbully among teenagers in school. Online therapy, also known as e-therapy, e-counseling, teletherapy or cyber-counseling, involves providing mental health services and support through the internet. This online therapy can be done through email, text messaging, video conferencing, online chat, messaging, or internet phone. Online therapy can occur in real-time, such as in phone conversations, or in a time-delayed format, such as through email messages. According to David Gratzer and Faiza Khalid-Khan (2016), online CBT combined with clinical care was effective in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and illness-related emotional distress. In some cases, the results indicated that some patients actually had better results with online treatment than those who had traditional in-person CBT. The real apply of online therapy is extremely difficult to control since therapists will operate from anyplace within the world creating it hard to enforce state laws regulation education, training, and scope of practice. However, the government can modify this program to be done in each school and institution in Malaysia by assigning chosen psychologists and experts to specific schools. With this measure, students will have a medium to express themselves in a much comfortable way without having to consult face to face.

Conclusion

Overall, this paper discusses cyberbullying, which has become a crucial issue and there is one solution which is counseling and therapy to prevent cyberbullying become worse to bullier and victims. In conclusion, prevention of cyberbullying is important as it can cause serious long-term problems for both the bully and the bullied. The victims can have problems in school, issues with depression, slipping grades, and could even resort to drug use. Teenagers who are bullied are even at high risk for suicide. This paper has identified the major aspects of cyberbullying and how it can seriously impact the life of victims and bulliers. This is a very serious issue that will only continue to grow with our advancement in technology. Being aware of this problem and actively trying to prevent it are crucial in keeping cyberbullying under control.

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