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As technology rapidly develops around the world, it has already become an important part of our life. Technology brings a lot of advantages to our daily life but every coin has two sides, it also brings many problems to society. One of it is cyber bullying. What is cyber bullying? In essence, cyber bullying is a form of bullying that involves posting negative words with the intention to humiliate others on the social networking sites. Cyber bullying has become more serious, especially among teenagers as they spend more and more time on the social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
Actually, there are numerous risks associated with these sites because cyber bullying is common and widespread within them. There have been a number of causes of cyber bullying such as the anonymous environment and comparison traps online, which affect teenagers in the form of humiliation. One of the causes of cyber bullying is the anonymity of the Internet. But the question is what is anonymous? Based on Merriam-Webster dictionary, anonymity is define as a state of being unknown to others (2013). Because of the anonymous environment provided online, teenagers believe that they will not be caught after they bully others online without showing who they are. Researchers believe that one of a major factor for committing acts of cyber bullying is the ability to remain anonymous and without having the risk of being caught (O’Brien, 2012). The anonymous condition has given the bully a greater sense of power and a lesser sense of responsibility when bullying others.
Unfortunately, some teenagers are misusing this convenience to bully others. They take this opportunity to send anonymous threatening messages, photos and false rumours. With the cognition that they will never be found out, teenagers can cross the bottom line easily and spread horrible misleading information about their target online. In short, the anonymous environment is a major cause of cyber bullying. The second cause of cyber bullying is the comparison trap online. In this modern era, teenagers are more likely to compare their life with others through social media. According to Denise Hatton, young people in this generation often idolise unrealistic beauty from celebrities whom they look up to and social media like Snapchat and Instagram which increase the pressure that leads to cyber bullying (Petersen, 2018). Teenagers are reminded of their weaknesses whenever they see the “highlight reel” of others online. When this happens, envy and jealousy easily blossom. Based on a study made by researchers at Bond University in Australia, among 237 teenagers care others’ approval tend to engage more in social comparison (Siddique, 2017). Nevertheless, teenagers overlook an important point which is that people will only post their successes but will never post the boring aspects of their life. Therefore, those who are unable to embrace their shortcomings might be tempted to condemn others. There is a simple reason. Envious people will try to do anything to take something away from the person they are envious of.
When they are willing to use cyber bullying as a tool, they will spread a lot of offensive photos or harmful rumours. To sum up, teenagers like to compare with others to fulfil their vanity and this leads to cyber bullying when they feel envious of others. There are some significant effects to the victims, both mentally and physically. One of the most serious effects is humiliation. It is because the victims will gain bad reputation from cyber bullying. As the bullying occurs in cyberspace, when rumours spread, it is like wildfire and online users all around the world are able to see it in just a matter of minutes. In this case, the victims are normally thinking that their bad reputation is permanent and will be remembered forever. When victims feel embarrassed to face others, they will start to lock themselves in and avoid communicating with others. Not only that, they will think about the trauma they faces continuously until they become depressed. This can occur because their self-confidence and self-esteem are eroded. Hamm states that the cyber bullying preceded the teen’s depression and hinting at a causal relationship after some studies had done follow the teens. (Pappas, 2015) Additionally, their feelings of happiness and contentment will also be eroded by the added stress of coping. This is not the most serious consequence. If the teenager cannot escape from the feelings of depression, they will feel that their life is hopeless and at last they will feel like the only way for them to escape the pain is suicide. The teenagers who are bullied are at a higher risk for suicidal thoughts, attempts and complete suicides.
In a nutshell, cyber bullying can cause humiliation and contributes to feelings of suicidal. In conclusion, anonymity and comparison trap online are causing cyber bullying and then affect humiliation to teenagers. Cyber bullying is a serious issue to the society. It harms people and causes negativity for the bully and the victim. It is said that cyber bullying is a serious issue worldwide, so more attention needs to be paid and more actions should be taken to resolve this problem. Moreover, we need to become a friendly Internet user because the power of words can sometimes sharper than knives, as the saying goes the pen is mightier than the sword.
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