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Cyberbullying Linked to Depression and Addiction in Teens


Cyberbullying Linked to Depression and Addiction in Teens

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

The definition of cyberbullying is tormenting, harassing and humiliating someone via the internet, mobile phone, or other forms of digital technologies. Cyberbullying is no joke. Many teens and young adults have committed suicide, or have turned to substance abuse after a cyberbullying incident.

My last year of college, my final project was on cyberbullying. I spent six weeks interviewing professionals in the field and learning about the complexities that cyberbullying bring. Because cyberbullying is a relatively new phenomenon, the laws regarding cyberbullying are vague.  There have been acts introduced and passed through legislation after recent suicide incidents to set guidelines on cyberbullying. Still, while there are a plethora of anti-bullying laws, cyberbullying remains a gray area.

A study revealed that cyberbullying heightens the risk of binge drinking and drug use. Teen who are victims of cyberbullying at more likely to develop symptoms of substance abuse, depression, and addiction. Cyberbullied teens face a higher risk of psychological and behavior problems.

Cyberbullying can continue even longer than bullying because technology allows a person to hide behind a keyboard. Often, it can be difficult to know the source of the cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is more dangerous than regular bullying because it ‘s hard to hide from it. Technology allows bullying to happen 24 hours a day and often teens do not know how to handle it.

What Are the Signs?

Teens are hard to read sometimes, but there are signs that signal cyberbullying.

These behaviors include:

  • Being secretive while on the computer
  • Skipping classes; resenting school
  • Displaying evidence of substance abuse
  • Slacking on school duties and dropping grades
  • Less social and withdrawn

Have an open approach when communicating with your teen about cyberbullying. In the past decade, several teenagers have taken their life because of the hopelessness they felt.

Sadly, more teens are turning to substance abuse to relieve pain caused by cyberbullying. It can be any teen, even your teen. The sadness and hopeless of being cyberbullying can cause a teen to abuse substances. Teens may turn to the medicine cabinet or find illegal ways to obtain illegal substances.

A 2013 study found that teenagers who have endured cyberbullied have a higher risk of depression.  No longer is bullying confined to the four walls of a classroom. Often schools are not able to discipline cyberbullying incidents that occur outside of school hours.

As a victim of cyberbullying, I cannot say enough how important it is to take your teenager seriously when it comes to cyberbullying. In some severe cases, homeschooling is a viable option. While it may seem extreme, teens are taking their lives because of being cyberbullied.  Cyberbullying should be considered a threat to your child’s wellbeing.

Facts about Cyberbullying (SOURCE)

  • Approximately 43% of the students report experiencing cyberbullying during their lifetime (Patchin, 2015).
  • 15% of students admitted to cyberbullying others during their lives (Patchin, 2015).
  • Adolescent girls are more likely to have experienced cyberbullying in their lifetime (40.6% compared to 28.2%).
  • Girls are more apt to post mean comments online while boys are more likely to post hurtful pictures or videos online (Patchin, 2015).
  • Cyberbullying has adverse effects on victims, such as lowering self-esteem, increasing depression and producing feelings of powerlessness (Anderson, Bresnahan, & Musatics, 2014).
  • The most shocking fact is that according to the CDC, more than 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide and nearly 7 percent have attempted it,

Do you understand how serious this is?

  • Amanda Todd made headlines after she took her life at 15 years old because of the constant cyberbullying.
  • Tyler Clementi was only an 18-year old freshman before he took his life due to cyberbullying regarding his sexuality.
  • Three weeks before her 14th birthday, Megan Meier took her life due to depression and the constant bullying on Myspace.
  • Jessica Logan (1990 – 2008) and Hope Witsell (1996 – 2009) both committed suicide after nude photos were leaked among classmates and bullying ensued via various forms of social media.

Clearly, this is not something we can brush under the bush. Cyberbullying can lead to deadly consequences.

Cyberbullying is serious and can result in depression, addiction, and dark substance abuse. Do not let these symptoms worsen. Time is of the essence. Call now.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.

Author: Shernide Delva

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