If the internet were a playground, cyberbullying would be like a hidden rattlesnake.
Just like snakes might appear in a normally positive place, cyberbullies can attack in the virtual world of cyberspace.
The venom that cyberbullies produce can cause serious problems. One in four teens has reported being a victim of online harassment. Teachers, parents and students together need to work to help delete cyberbullying. Below are a few of the consequences of cyberbullying.
Victims Become Cyberbullies
While this does not always happen, many cyberbullied victims will later become bullies themselves. They will use forms of cyberbullying as a way to relieve their hurt and pain. Often times, these cyberbullies were never given any help following their cyberbully attacks.
Teens and pre-teens learn through example. Cyberbullying is a horrible example to follow. In some cases, victims of cyberbullying may become bullies in general. This article here reports that cyberbully victims are eight times more likely to carry a weapon to school.
Depression is a common consequence of any type of bullying, especially cyberbullying. Click here to read an article discussing the link between depression and cyberbullying. Any child who has been cyberbullied should be screened for depression. If necessary, they should meet with a school counselor or therapist.
Thoughts of Suicide and Suicide Attempts
Sadly, one tragic consequence of cyberbullying is suicide. There have been several cases of suicide linked to cyberbullying. One horrific story is the Megan Meier case. A mother and her teenager, along with someone who worked for them, created a fake myspace profile and pretended to be a teenage boy. After writing friendly messages for awhile, they sent hateful and malicious statements. This led to Megan taking her own life. You can read more about the case in these articles here.
School performance can be affected.
As with all bullying cases, the victim’s schoolwork can be negatively affected. Grades can drop. The student may dread school. Performance will suffer, and they could not care about how well they do in school.
Reputations can be damaged.
Even decades after the internet made a debut, some people still believe that anything they read online is true. Someone can post a malicious rumor about a teen, and some will accept it as fact. They may never learn that it was fabricated and intended to hurt someone. The teen’s reputation can be damaged. In very rare cases, the teenager’s employment could be affected when potential employers read a rumor online.
There are many dangerous consequences of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying does not belong anywhere. No one wins with cyberbullying.