Cyberbullying – done over digital devices – takes place in many forms like texting, using apps, social media, or gaming platforms.
It includes sharing false and embarrassing information about another person on the internet. From kids to adults, everyone can face it and might be at a high risk of facing issues caused by it.
In the past, bullying was only related to verbal or physical abuse. But now, cyberbullying is on the rise, thanks to the increased use of social media, and people have started to realize its impacts on mental health.
So, what are the consequences of cyberbullying on mental health and how do you prevent it?
Impacts of cyberbullying on mental health
In recent times, cyberbullying on social media is the culprit of creating mental health disorders in the following ways:
a. Increases stress and anxiety
Research shows that cyberbullying can increase mental health problems like anxiety and stress-related issues in victims. Victims may start to feel anxious and lose interest in daily activities. Its long-term effects are changes in eating and sleeping habits, making people feel less energized and isolated.
In difficult situations, cyberbullying may lead to PTSD or Post-traumatic stress disorder. This is the disorder where the victim’s brain repetitively recalls the incident and starts to produce the stress hormone. It may lead to a situation where victims can no longer control their negative emotions and are unable to get out of horrific negative thoughts.
b. Manifests depression and reduces self-esteem
Cyberbullying leaves victims feeling vulnerable and insecure. They lose decision-making abilities as the brain’s defense mechanism slows down.
It seems impossible for some victims to make simple decisions, like what food they want to eat or which clothes they like to wear. Cyberbullying destroys the sense of control and is followed by losing interest in doing any kind of regular activity.
In short, it can diminish self-esteem and self-worth, which leads to depression, sadness, and hopelessness.
c. Develops suicidal thoughts and self-harm
Studies have shown a link between self-harm and cyberbullying, as victims respond to intense mental suffering by harming themselves. Sometimes they get involved in burning or cutting themselves.
In worst-case scenario, victims can also develop suicidal thoughts. Although, these are critical situations and can be resolved only with help of professionals.
Ways to deal with cyberbullying
Cyberbullying badly impacts mental health, and it affects emotional and physical health as well. Bu. there are ways that will help to deal with the situation.
1. Seek help from health care professionals and others
Cyberbullying can damage your mental health. So, talking to your friends and family can be helpful.
They will give you courage and emotional support to live a better life with dignity. You can also go for counseling or therapy. It will help you overcome stress, anxiety, and depression.
2. Blocking or ignoring the user
In most cases, people troll or cyberbully just to get attention or response from the other side. So, the best solution is to ignore those abusers.
Nowadays, many social media apps and websites come with the technology where you can block and file reports against criminals or groups. So, using this feature will be the best solution to fight cyberbullying.
3. File a report
You can file a complaint to the cyber police under information technology and criminal laws. You can even use the screenshot as strong evidence against the criminals.
4. Stop sharing information
Never share any type of personal information on social media platforms. Some social media groups and public forums want you to geo-tag the posts. You should avoid using their sites. It may increase the chances of a security risk, as well as cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is as detrimental as the other types of bullying, and its impact on mental health is scary. So, it is important to take the necessary steps to stop this torment.
Asking for help from family or therapists and reporting complaints to social media or the police are the strategies to cope with it. It is essential to develop awareness among people. It may help to end this social illness permanently.