In today's digital age, image plays a more prominent part in young people's lives than in previous generations. In a world of selfies and social media, ever-present camera-phones and easy-to-use editing software, it's hardly surprising that appearance is particularly important to them.
Cyberbullying on social media
Using these technologies and social media platforms for malevolent purposes is what’s defined as ‘cyberbullying’. A study by the Anti-Bullying Alliance in the UK🔗 shows that almost half (45%) of parents are concerned their child is being bullied online.
And they're right to be worried – research shows more than half of teenagers have experienced cyberbullying. As with face-to-face bullying, it’s humiliating for victims, and most don’t tell their parents when it happens.
“Bullying is as old as time,” says Lisa Lister, wellness educator, creator of The Sassy She website🔗, and member of the Dove Self-Esteem Project Advisory Board. “But today’s young people have a new range of tools to do it with.”
The effects of cyberbullying
One of the major differences between online and offline bullying – and one that makes cyberbullying especially insidious – is that victims of cyberbullying have nowhere to hide.
If you've ever been bullied, you'll know what an ordeal it is. As well as the physical or emotional pain of the bullying itself, there's the constant fear of the next attack and the damage to your confidence and self-esteem.
Home, and especially a young person’s bedroom, would have been a sanctuary from this kind of victimisation in the past. But now, in the place where he or she should feel most safe, your child is still within a cyberbully’s reach – through a text message, email, social media post or humiliating YouTube video.