National Bullying Prevention Month: The Effect of Cyberbullying

Rustin Mehrabani-Farsi

More stories from Rustin Mehrabani-Farsi

For as long as we can remember, we’ve been told the same things about bullying. They just want to see a reaction out of you, ignore them, tell an adult. However, some people think that these methods aren’t effective, and that there’s more we can do to stop bullying.

Sadly, bullying is a much bigger problem than we think it is, especially among high school students. According to some bullying statistics, about 77 percent of students have admitted to being the victim of one type of bullying or another.

Many studies show that bullying is on the rise in America. However, despite schools promoting anti bullying, and doing their best to make students feel comfortable talking to them about their problems, this has still been an issue.

In order to answer this, we must consider another factor that has been drastically influential, the use of technology amongs teenagers. With the majority of teenagers having access to a cell phone or computer, and new ways of communicating with others being developed every day, it’s becoming easier and easier to hop online and harass people with the push of a button.

This, combined with teenagers not reporting their harassment has led to the increase of what is known as cyber bullying. Due to the people who cyberbully are behind a screen, it’s often very easy to remain anonymous. This makes it seem like there are no consequences to this type of harassment, making it all the more tempting.

But like all forms of bullying, cyberbullying does have consequences. People often forget that there is a person on the other side of the screen, a person who has feelings and emotions just like they do. Since most of communication is nonverbal, not all of a message is conveyed online.

Sadly, bullying often leads to the worst consequence of all, death. Over 14% of high school students have considered or attempted suicide, with victims of bullying being 2 to 9 times more likely to commit suicide. This number is only going to go up.

What can you do to help prevent bullying suicide?

1.) Don’t be a bully yourself. Even if you think you have reason to, such as getting harassed at home, or by others, there are better ways to deal with it than making others suffer.

2.) Watch for the warning signs of suicide in your friends and loved ones. These can include depression, saying things such as “I wanna kill myself,”, and feelings of worthlessness.

3.) Look out for all of your loved ones, not just the ones who give obvious signs. Many of the first words that come out of someone who has experienced a loved one’s suicide are things such as, “I never expected this to happen to him,” or, “She seemed so happy,” As someone who has had a friend attempt suicide, I know firsthand how unexpected it can be.

4.) Make sure your loved ones know they can talk to you about anything. Having someone people know they can talk to is like having a safety net, it removes stress and bottled up emotions from their lives.

5.) Make sure people know that they are appreciated. Simply saying thank you, I love you, or giving a hug could be the difference between life and death.