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Online Pressures: Tackling Cyberbullying

Our Activist Tamanna writes about the impact of cyberbullying and her tips for staying happy and health online.

Cyberbullying is an issue which is becoming far too common these days.

I suffered from bullying my entire life although specifically cyberbullying when I started to use social media platforms such as MSN, Bebo, MySpace from as young as 12yrs old. As a result I suffered from severe anxiety and severe depression. According to a joint study done by professors of the University of Oxford, University of Bristol, University of Warwick and UCL, young people who are bullied are twice as likely to experience a mental health problem in later life as a result.

Why Bully?

I see so much abuse and online hate amongst the young and old - it's really quite demoralising. Why do people bully others online? What do people get out of it? What are the perks?

To be honest there are no real perks it's a matter of having power and ownership. Having that control over someone else's life, their feelings and emotions, can be quite satisfying for the perpetrator. Controlling someone else when you can't control your own life and its events, especially if you are going through difficult times and you need that someone or something to vent out on. They might not have anyone else to talk to or have anyone else that will listen to them or pay attention to them like you have done. Some may feel that bullying someone else is their way out.

The anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label surveyed 8,850 young people aged 12 to 20 about bullying in the UK. In their report they say:

“We were interested to see if bullying could be considered a behavioural response to stress or trauma. Our hypothesis was confirmed with very strong correlations - finding those who bully are more likely to experience stressful and/or traumatic situations than those who do not, suggesting it is a responsive behaviour.”

Dealing with Cyberbullying

Regardless of this, cyberbullying is not right, nor justified. Many young people are unsure of what to do and often either ignore it or retaliate so that it escalates into something further. Both approaches can have detrimental and unwanted consequences.

I advise young people to do a number of things:

  • Don't think that it's all your fault and that it will never end. 
  • Don't retaliate with inappropriate words and actions. 
  • Always screenshot or copy and paste the conversation or comments so you can use them later for evidence. 
  • Keep calm and don't act in haste as that can go against you. 
  • Tell someone. Responsible adult, teacher, friend, whoever you feel comfortable with. 

Click below to find out more about what bullying is, how it can affect you and what to do if you think you're being bullied.

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