How Can I Help Teens Who Are Victims of Cyberbullying?

Mary E. Muscari, PhD, CPNP, APRN-BC

Disclosures

October 25, 2010

In This Article

The Effects of Cyberbullying

Incidents of cyberbullying-related suicides demonstrate that cyberbullying can be a powerful trigger for vulnerable youth. Cyberbullying may be more harmful than traditional bullying because there seems to be no escape. The bullying can take place any time of day or night and anywhere the child has a communication device -- even the child's bedroom, which should be a place of safety. Hurtful material may be posted globally and become irretrievable. Unlike victims of school-yard bullying, victims of cyberbullying may not know the identity of the bully, creating frustration, fear, and feelings of helplessness.

Victims of cyberbullying suffer the same effects as those who are victimized by traditional bullying. Victims may exhibit signs of depression (such as lack of interest in school or pleasurable activities, changes in sleep and eating patterns, depressed mood, and withdrawal), develop school phobias, complain about somatic symptoms such as headaches and abdominal pain, or demonstrate aggressive behaviors. Victims of cyberbullying may not tell their parents about the problem due to their fear of losing their technical devices; they may simply suffer in silence.

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