Mental health abuse can come in many forms; one of the most popular ones traditionally has been domestic abuse. While domestic abuse has historically been a problem and strides have been made to fix it overtime, this is not the case with new potential forms of mental abuse such as cyberbullying and general online harassment. These new avenues of bullying are worse than cancer to society. It is akin to a nuclear bomb detonating and irradiating everything it touches for many years to come. Similarly, online mental abuse has reached catastrophic levels where people are being exposed to new levels of harm that we didn’t think possible until these digital technologies became a part of our lives.
With the advent of social media and web 2.0 technologies to increase accessibility, cyber bullying is a major problem in the modern world reaching catastrophic levels: more than ever before. My own experience was that I am a devout Christian who believes that Jesus is a prophet of God and not God himself and I also believe in the Islamic messenger Muhammad (pbuh) as a true prophet of God. My decision was based on reading the Apocrypha and specifically the Gospel of Barnabas. Ever since I adopted this view, I have been constantly harassed and bullied online to the point of developing suicidal thoughts ever since I came to London. I have been called many things for my beliefs such as terrorist, traitor, ignorant fool, and many more which can’t be mentioned here. Therefore, as a mission, I have personally decided to launch as public relations campaign to bring awareness to the serious threat of cyberbullying.
In the UK alone, over 40% of boys are cyberbullied and more than 50% of girls experience the same. The results of cyberbullying are devastating for a person’s life as seen in the graph.
Impact of Cyberbullying in UK (Source: Statista (2018)
In the UK, the largest percentage of people cyberbullied at 37% experience social anxiety. Social anxiety is the crippling disorder where people fear social situations; they are fearful to interact with others and being judged negatively which makes them tend to avoid dealing with others. Social anxiety can manifest and destroy a person’s livelihood such as finding love, becoming a part of a family, finding work, and much more that people need to do in order to live a full life.
36% of the ones cyberbullied end up developing depression. Depression can cause a variety of different physical symptoms, mental symptoms, energy loss, guilt, sadness, and overall love of interest in life. Depressed people have no interest in doing anything and end up being recluse or shunning away from healthy human activities.
The next two statistics that are particularly scary where 24% develop suicidal thoughts and 23% commit self-harm. My own personal experience has been that I wanted to commit suicide after the constant harassment that I received. Feelings of suicide is a major threat to a person’s life; far more than any physical threat can manage. Even if an individual doesn’t commit suicide, there are still severely negative impacts that are detrimental to one’s livelihood such as loss of interest in living where there is no focus on important activities such as finding work, developing a passion, spending time with others, finding love, and much more. People with suicidal thoughts are always at risk and highly likely not to live a full and complete life. These people feel worthless and think their entire life is meaningless. Despite the damage that cyberbullying does, we have not developed the proper systems to help those who need it.
The number one reason why victims don’t report cyberbullying is because they think it didn’t affect them enough by 37%. However, it takes a psychologist to truly understand what is happening to us since we ourselves don’t know the damage until its too late. Furthermore, many more are afraid to report it because it could lead to more problems, they won’t be taken seriously, or the ones in authority like teachers simply don’t care. These statistics show a troubling trend that people aren’t aware of the severe mental damage that cyberbullying causes and how there are no real avenues to report it and find help.
This is why it is important to bring awareness to cyberbullying on how harmful it is and how there are no real ways to rectify the problem. We need to bring awareness to this issue so that there are efforts made to try and mitigate the damage that it causes. We must act now or the problems will only continue to increase. Already the UK is seeing almost half of its population on social media being cyberbullied in one way or another which can potentially end that person’s life in numerous ways.