Cyber Bullying & its Impact on a Child's Emotional Development
Bullying is difficult to deal with, no matter how old you are. However, if you are a child, bullying is a lot more difficult to deal with because kids don’t necessarily have the ability to understand that bullies are insecure people who bully others to make themselves feel better. What makes bullying even worse is the fact that it’s no longer something that happens in the locker room or on the playground alone; bullying now happens over the Internet, which means your kids may not feel safe anywhere anymore. Cyberbullying can have lasting effects on your child’s emotional development 1.
According to KidsHealth, children who are the victims of cyberbullying are more likely to develop anxiety and depression than children who are not victims of this type of bullying 1. Your child may become withdrawn and depressed because he feels that his life is falling apart around him. When he goes to school he is face-to-face with his bullies. When he’s at home or away from school, he has to worry that his bullies will taunt him through text messages, social media, email or any other way they can online. This eliminates his ability to forget about his bullies when he’s away from school, which is a big source of anxiety.
Cyberbullying doesn't just affect the way a child feels on the inside; it also affects her ability to concentrate on things other than her bully, according to WebMD 1. It may become impossible for your child to concentrate at school because she is constantly looking over her shoulder to ensure her bully isn’t taunting her and she may find it difficult to concentrate on homework or family life when she is afraid that her phone or computer will alert her of new bullying messages.
One of the biggest emotional issues the victims of cyberbullying experience has to do with safety 1. They are scared, frightened and fearful. Even something as non-threatening as their computers and phones, or even an email, can make cyberbullying victims afraid 12. According to WebMD, it is common for victims of cyberbullying to feel fearful at all times, whether it’s in school or at home 1. There is no safe haven for a child whose bully uses the Internet to haunt him.
The biggest emotional concern for children who are the victims of cyberbullying is suicide 13. According to Do Something.org, children who are cyberbullied are anywhere from two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than other children. While these numbers may not seem very big, any additional chance that a child might turn to suicide because of bullying is very big.
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