Cyber bullying is a newer form of peer violence. It is most often observed in the period of middle adolescence (more precisely in high schools), but lately the age at which it is manifested and practiced by bullies covers a much larger range. This type of harassment occurs through digital media, social networks, applications, forums, online video games etc. Such harassment includes sharing negative, harmful and false information about someone, displaying personal content that can cause shame and humiliation, taking (stealing) someone else’s identity and the like.
It often occurs in parallel with other forms of peer violence such as verbal and social harassment. The negative effects of peer violence and bullying in childhood and adolescence are visible to both the abuser and the victim, and can be both short-term and long-term.
Among the most common short-term negative effects of peer violence (which can also serve as early signs that someone is a victim) are social isolation, shame, sleep disturbance, changes in eating habits, low self-esteem, not going to school, symptoms of anxiety, frequent psychosomatic symptoms (abdominal pain, headaches, muscle aches etc.), poor academic performance, symptoms of depression and the like.
When it comes to long-term effects, the most common are chronic depression, increased risk of suicidal thoughts and attempts, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, poor general health, self-destructive behavior, including self-harm, substance abuse, difficulties in establishing quality, deep and reciprocal friendships and relationships.
Professor Ana Frichand is the Head of the Institute of Psychology at the Faculty of Philosophy, University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” – Skopje.
Participate in a large nationwide youth research to assess the state of cyberbullying among young people and its connection to the quality of life and mental health of youth! Complete the questionnaire below honestly and let’s raise awareness of this phenomenon in our society together.
The questionnaire is anonymous and the data will be used exclusively for the needs of the research.