Depression More Likely in Cyberbullying Victims Than in Cyberbullies
We all have heard the old adage that bullies only pick on others because they feel bad about themselves. But when it comes to cyberbullying, that may not actually be as true as we thought.
A recent study from the Journal of Adolescent Health found that victims of cyberbullying are more depressed than the kids who bully them, while studies of traditional face-to-face schoolyard bullying show an equal rate of depression among bullies and victims.
What is it about cyberbullying that is so insidious? I think the anonymity of the Internet is a double-edged sword in this case: it offers a security blanket for the bully and heightens anxiety for the victim. It’s also just easier to say horrible things to someone you can’t see standing in front of you.
When I was a kid, bullying pretty much consisted of snickering and snide remarks at someone’s locker, or the ubiquitous Magic Marker message reading “For a good time call [name]” in the school lavatory. Cyberbullying simply appears to be more dangerous than the hazing we went through when we were in school.
Keep your child safe by giving them these strategies to use if they become victims of cyberbullying:
- Do not respond to cyberbullying or try to get revenge
- Report it to teachers or the principal
- Report threatening, violent, or malicious abuse to the police
- Turn off the computer, walk away, and change email addresses, phone numbers, or User IDs if bullying continues
If you begin to see signs of depression such as apathy toward former interests, declining school performance, or changed eating or sleeping habits, find out what is going on in your child’s life. It could be a sign of cyberbullying.Jenny Evans is a mother of three and a freelance writer specializing in parenting, childhood, and family issues.