Cause and Effects of Cyberbullying
With studies proving over 75% of all school-age minors being affected but it one point or another in the world. It is also the most tricky to catch and punish, as the anonymous nature of the internet can cause bullying to come from anywhere and from anyone, which give the freedom for people to do things they would usually never do in real life, because they couldn't confront the people face to face, or they couldn't get in trouble as easily, and the outcomes of this can affect the person being bullied in a terrible way, because they feel that they are defenseless, and have no way to combat the people hurting them. But the causes and effects don't stop there. There are many reasons that cause Cyberbullying, and many ways they can effects a person.
One of the main reasons that Cyber-Bullying is caused is like said before, the anonymous nature of the internet. In a quote to Kowalski, Giumetti, Shroeder, and Latanner studies show "They found that cyberbullies feel anonymous, which gives them more incentive to be aggressive as they feel there, will be no consequences.. Which is true, In real life, if you want to say something terrible to someone, or vent yourself to them, it's a lot tougher to confront said person because of simple human nature of facing a person that can lash back face to face, or the concept of getting in trouble if the person rats you out. With the internet, you can use that anonymous and mysterious nature makes a person feel powerful, untouchable even, as they feel they can't be hurt by anyone or anything, and no one can even find out who or where they are, thus never getting in trouble. With that, they attack in ways even harsher than they would in real life, and that in it can hurt far worse than any physical confrontation.
The reason this is so powerful and effects so many people, again as stated before, is because there really is no easy way to track some of these people down, if they are good at hiding their personal information, or use devices such as school computers or other devices that can't be tracked to them for the bullying, it can almost be impossible to find some of these people who bully, and that can make the victim feel alone and scared, as there is no way to get out of the cycle of bullying, and it can affect them whenever they simply turn on their phone, and that sort of helplessness can hurt far more than any physical confrontation. It has also been shown that those who are more exposed to the people they bully in real life, the more empathy they would have for those they hurt.
A test among students called "Cyber-Program" was administered to a group of 176 kids from the ages of 13-15 year olds in the Basque Country (Spain) were tested with this Cyber-Program to try to determine this effect of Cyber-bullying if the person were to have more interaction with said person face to face for a larger period of time, and test proved that overall effects of Cyber-bullying, and bullying in general, decreased by a significant amount when the kids were put in situations where they got to know the person they could be bullying personally, thus making them feel a sense of empathy they usually wouldn't feel over a computer or such.
Another cause for the rise of Cyberbullying is the simple fact that the bullying can be far more widespread. With the overall density and scope of the internet, it's entirely possible that a few harsh words can go on and on forever and ever, and many more people can get in on the bullying causing more and more of a buildup of it, especially at places the person would normally feel safe at, like school or even at local places, giving the bully more power than they ever had. This differs immensely from normal bullying in that it "can have a large, even worldwide target, or a small scale audience. In traditional bullying, only those within proximity are privy to bullying"
This in turn causes the victim to feel even more lonely and afraid then they ever were before, as now not only is the bullying just possibly one person, but it can be everyone making fun of them, and they truly have no way of stopping it, as when something gets widespread enough on the internet, it never goes away. And can haunt a person for a very long time, with no consequence ever coming to the person/people that started the harsh words or info leaks, and that can cause issues such as depression, or in some cases suicidal thoughts or actions. But in some cases, it can cause said person to want to get back at everyone, and become possibly... a bully themselves.
This can be taken even further with a social phenomenon called Cyber-Victimization Experience, Which is an offshoot of the Social Cognitive Theory, which states that "individuals can observe the behaviors of others and then reproduce the same actions". This relates to Cyberbullying most similarly in that people who are Cyber-Bullied to Cyberbully themselves, thus restarting the endless cycle of cruelty towards others, which in turn could cause others to cyber-bully as well, and in the end all others would feel like Cyber-Bullying, and the problem spreads to a point of out of control behavior, and it extremely hard to stop, even by the right authorities.
At the end of the day, Cyberbullying is a very ingrained part of modern day bullying, and it quite possibly, the most effective, as the hidden and mysterious nature of the internet can make anyone be a cyberbully, and very rarely even face the consequences for their actions. While it might not be a physical as a wedge or a punch, the words and slander used against a person on the internet can hurt far worse in most cases, and it overall causes nothing but problems, for all those affected, no matter who they are, or where they come from.