Detailing the Topic: Cyberbullying as a 21st-Century Concern
The phenomenon of bullying has been known since the dawn of time (Elgar et al., 2014) as one of the most typical, though morally unjustifiable, behavioral patterns in the society. However, with the technological advances of the 21st century and the creation of a new communication platform located in the virtual reality, the issue has not dissolved. Quite on the contrary – anonymity and the absence of any legal repercussions have created a breeding ground for cyberbullying.
The phenomenon above is typically defined as the harassment of teenagers and children by other teenagers and children by means of the Internet (Nicol, 2012). However, one must admit that the definition is flawed as cyberbullying may occur to not only children but also adults. To put it differently, cyberbullying comes in a variety of forms, affecting children, teens, and adults alike. Trolling (Elgar et al., 2014) can be viewed as one of the most common specimens of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying and How It Affects Me: Goals and Expected Outcomes
In general, the phenomenon of cyberbullying affects anyone who communicates on the Internet. Whether having a direct impact, or influencing a user negatively after reading an argument between a bully and a victim, the issue in question influences every single user of online forums, social networks, and other types of communication platforms available online. Therefore, cyberbullying also affects me as an active member of a range of social networks, forums, and discussion boards.
Current Interpretations of Cyberbullying: Literature Review
Although the problem of cyberbullying has been studied quite extensively over the past few years, very few researches indicate the connection between psychological disorders and the phenomenon under analysis. As far as the effects of cyberbullying on the development of mental issues are concerned, a range of studies point to the fact that the phenomenon may prompt a severe depression (Nicol, 2012). In addition, cyberbullying may impede the process of real-life communication. The above effects of the subject matter can be attributed to the idea of victimization, which implies assigning the participants of a conversation with the roles of a victim and an abuser (Elgar et al., 2014). As a result of the violent attacks and the distortion of their self-image and self-perception, the victims of cyberbullies become especially prone to the development of depression and the associated psychological and mental disorders (Völlink, Bolman, Eppingbroek, & Dehue, 2013).
Target Audience: The Social Network in Its Entirety
The study on the issue identified above is going to target primarily the people that are predisposed to developing psychological disorders and, therefore, can be affected easily by cyberbullies. However, in case the study proves that cyberbullying may trigger the development of disorders in both people with mental issues and regular users, the research outcomes can be viewed as important for everyone using the Internet and participating in online discussions, whether actively or passively.
Cyberbullying as a Factor of Developing Mental Issues
It would be wrong to claim that cyberbullying has an immediate and devastating impact on anyone who is exposed to it. However, there are sufficient reasons to suspect that the phenomenon serves as the prerequisite for the development of psychological issues when one is exposed to it consistently. Specifically, it is assumed that cyberbullying, when being regular, causes psychological and mental issues.
Elgar, F. J., Napoletano, A., Saul, G., Dirks, M. A., Craig, W., Poteat, P. W.,… & Koenig, B. W. (2014). Cyberbullying Victimization and Mental Health in Adolescents and the Moderating Role of Family Dinners. JAMA Pediatrics, 168(11), 1015-1022. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.1223.
Nicol, B. (2012). Cyber-bullying and trolling. Youth Studies Australia, 31(4), 3-4.
Völlink, T., Bolman, C. A. W., Eppingbroek, A., & Dehue, F. (2013). Emotion-focused coping worsens depressive feelings and health complaints in cyberbullied children. Journal of Criminology, 2013(416976), 1-10.