How Cyberbullying Affects Mental Health : Nowadays, staying connected to the virtual world is inevitable for many. However, seamless connectivity to the whole world has outnumbered virtual contacts over real-life relationships. Thus everyone spends more time online than interacting with their loved ones under the same rooftops.
The virtual world has also taken up the charge for professional engagements. Online platforms are lucrative sources of generating money and achieving global fame. But all of this comes at a cost, and anything beyond moderation can lead to challenges. The same goes for cyberbullying. It is one of the manifestations of uncontrolled usage of the internet. It affects people of all ages and walks, including celebrities, sportspersons, and politicians.
More than that, the consequences of cyberbullying do not limit to mere mental health issues. Its side effects start with a lack of peace of mind when one keeps on trying to showcase a perfect image. Constant interactions with virtual engagements do not spare time to spend with loved ones, leading to relationship challenges. And when things get out of control, people find themselves in a haunted situation. It readily fades their self-confidence. Online nagging also makes them believe that they are worthless individuals. In more severe cases, people also go to extreme ends and end their lives to end the turmoil of bullying. In short, it is tormenting, and you should learn how to prevent cyberbullying before it threatens your well-being or of someone you love.
The following sections further explore some repercussions of cyberbullying on mental health.
Mental Exhaustion and Lack of Peace
Social media often depicts a charming scenario and bewilders individuals for overnight fame and success. Its credit goes to influential social media users, including celebrities. They show a perfect image of their lives on public platforms. Youngsters fantasize about their lives and try to follow in their footsteps. As a result, they end up in the struggle for perfection. However, such endeavors increase their mental exhaustion and anxiety. Since their minds are still in the development phase, they absorb whatever influence comes their way. Cyberbullying experiences also progress into traumas in adulthood. Research studies also show that bullying in developmental years is one of the causes of depression, anxiety, panic, and other mental disorders. Victims also spend more time alone, and isolation can further elevate their self-harming thoughts. Thus cyberbullying does not affect psychological well-being alone. Its impact spreads and lasts across the lifespan of an individual.
Destructive Consequences on Performance
Cyberbullying also affects performance in studies and professions. Students fear interacting with their fellows. Since many of their friends know about their social media handles, they experience taunting and criticism. As a result, they avoid social contact and even skip their classes to prevent interaction. In the same way, cyberbullying also disturbs adults in workplaces. Given the virtual nature of work, they can also interfere in professional activities via digital spying techniques. Workers can fall prey to ransomware, phishing, and password breaches. Bullies can also violate data, leading to disagreements in the workplace. They can harass and sabotage workers for ransom, causing them economic loss. Thus apart from work-related exhaustion, they find themselves on a multi-front battlefield which causes psychological distress. As a result, they fall short in fulfilling their professional commitments and achieving performance goals.
Invasion of Privacy
Privacy invasion incidents can happen to anyone, be it amateurs, children, or professional social media specialists. Bullies can interfere in your private life if you expose yourself to social media without censorship. More than that, you are likely to disclose your whereabouts while sharing your life online. Stalkers can follow and harass you once they identify your location. And you cannot restrict the access and distribution of your content once you are in the virtual domain.
Moreover, your surfing data circulates the globe, and it is nearly impossible to take it off the internet once uploaded. As a result, you will receive recommendations and criticism regarding how you should behave, express, dress, pose, and socialize. You will end up exhausting yourself while trying to correct yourself, please your followers, and match up the lifestyles of celebrities and influencers. In the end, uncensored sharing of your personal life can create challenges for your safety and security. And privacy invasion deteriorates mental health and peace with long-lasting consequences. Thus before sharing your personal life, you should gauge the repercussions of privacy invasion.
It may seem ironic, but people search for companionship and entertainment more than their physical surroundings in the virtual world. Sometimes, curiosity leads them to social media addiction. Other times, a lack of comfort and solace from real-life relationships pushes them to socialize with virtual friends. As such, lack of parental care in young children creates space for social media addiction. However, they also experience incidents of victimization while entertaining themselves. Unlike adults, children do not know how to bypass and shun negative influence. They are also afraid of disclosing their issues and traumas to their parents. As a result, the side effects of cyberbullying accompany them for the rest of their lives. In the long run, cyberbullying affects their professional, social, and personal lives. They are also reluctant to form long-term relationships.
An Endless Struggle to Seek Perfection
Social media engagement is a never-ending race where you interact with a global audience. Everyone tries to win over the hearts of social media followers with novelty and creativity. However, you cannot offer creative and novel content every single day. It is why achieving excellence in the cyber world is an endless struggle. No matter how well you create content, you cannot stop comparing yourself and competing against other millions of digital creators. In reality, it is a battle that no one can surmount. In the end, you will only end up fatiguing yourself in the struggle to seek perfection. And its side effects are manifold for your mental well-being. Social media befogs and affects your logical thinking. Bullying incidents also manifold when you spend more time online. Thus the extent of cyberbullying and online presence both have a direct relationship. And both factors lead to psychological distress and fatigue.
Higher chances of falling into addiction
Bullying and harassment of any sort, including physical, verbal, and emotional, can increase the likelihood of assuming addiction. Research studies also associate cyberbullying with substance abuse in adolescents. The human mind wanders over countless possibilities to thwart away nagging and agitation. And when their mental exhaustion is unmanageable, they resort to addiction. Though addiction is a maladaptive approach to coping with the challenges of cyberbullying, it offers them a safe hideout. For instance, uncontrolled eating, smoking, drug abuse, and internet surfing can help them cease their thought processing, even if it is temporary. However, mere temporary interaction with drugs and addictive substances intensifies over time once addiction takes hold of their behavior. Eventually, cyberbullying leads to complex medical issues that are hard to treat with mere removal of social media posts or litigation of bullies.
Well, hiding from cyberbullying may not seem a viable choice in today’s highly digitalized world. It is better to strike a balance. You should know when you are sinking yourself into the cyber world. Constant evaluation is crucial to saving yourself from the negative consequences of cyberbullying. And do not hesitate to seek legal help if things get out of control.
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