Addressing  the Dangers of Cyberbullying on Youth

It is worrisome to think about the amount of time we spend on our screens. The fact that real life interactions have been pretty much replaced by digital platforms is an alarming sign that the way we interact is moving towards a new unpredictable direction.

This has completely altered the way we think, we speak, and furthermore we perceive things including our own selves and reality. Undoubtedly, the digitalized era we live in comes with a lot of benefit including a new trend of more politically and socially aware youth.

They are more vocal about addressing issues in the society and advocating for solutions to tackle them. On the downside however, the fact that multiple platforms available give people the opportunity to hide behind an online persona, allows for the rise of unaccountable belittling and harassment also known as cyberbullying.

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center  33.8% of youth aged between 12 to 17 have experienced cyberbullying. Additionaly, 11.5% youth within the same age range have admitted to be responsible for engaging in cyberbullying.

With the growing number of internet usage that is not followed by mental and psychological growth, these numbers should not by any means be taken lightly.

Cyberbullying can take various forms. For instance, when you go through a famous person’s social media account, you will not only see praises directed at them but also harassment. Insults, unnecessary criticism, or inappropriate proposals are only a few to name. You can only imagine what their personal messages are filled with. Being victim of cyberbullying can be devastating for people of all ages, but especially for youth who have grown in the era of digital media and hardly are aware of a reality outside of it.

For youth growing up and adapting with the society around them, being exposed to cyberbullying can be damaging to their self-esteem. Youth who experience harassment online are prone to anxiety and depression that could stunt mental growth important to succeed later in life. On a minor level it affects their motivation in school and relationships, but to a greater level it could lead to suicide as had been frequently demonstrated by various cases.

Luckily, more and more people are aware of the dangers of cyberbullying and are standing up against it. Public figures and celebrities alike make their stance against it known, often publicly calling out their harassers, fostering confidence in youth to stand up for themselves.

Additionally, many organizations not only advocate to abolish cyberbullying but also provide counseling for those affected by it. Even more, governmental bodies are also realizing the threat it imposes to the younger generation and are making a move to combat cyberbullying, and in some cases even prosecuting perpetrators.

As said before, the growth of internet usage has raised a new generation of socially aware youth. Not only are they more of the issues affecting us, they are also the ones taking a lead in combating them.

Talking about a future we should be optimistic about!

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