Cyberbullying Counselling and Help – Cyberbullying is any form of abuse that occurs virtually over the Internet. It can come in any number of forms and can affect anyone regardless of age or circumstance. The psychological effects of cyberbullying are serious and long-lasting, often staying with the victims for years. The counsellors at Horizon Plymouth are experienced when it comes to helping victims heal, but learning what cyberbullying looks like and how to spot it can help decrease its prevalence overall.
Examples of cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is so prevalent because it can occur to anyone with access to the Internet. This is not the stereotypical, old-school bullying where the big schoolboy beats up the smaller schoolboy for their lunch money or the popular girl maliciously teases the shy classmate. Anyone with access to the Internet can become a victim of the relentless emotional abuse caused by a cyberbully, no matter the age, gender, or circumstances. Cyberbullying can take many forms including but certainly not limited to:
- Tormenting through text messages, WhatsApp, or other virtual messaging services, as well as excluding the victim from messages with friends
- Publishing cruel memes, embarrassing photos, or sensitive information online with the intent to humiliate or upset the victim
- Harassing or threatening messages or content
- Cyberstalking through any number of Internet platforms
Effects of cyberbullying
In addition to the severe mental health effects caused by cyberbullying, the pervasive nature of the Internet in our lives means that often victims truly have no escape from the torment, furthering the disastrous consequences. Anonymity provided by the Internet also means that someone who is being cyberbullied may not even know who their bully is, limiting options for corrective action and closure for the victim. They also might feel hesitant to reach out for help for a number of reasons, making it difficult to spot when someone might be suffering as the victim of cyberbullying. Some of the long-term and short-term effects of cyberbullying might include:
- Depression: One of the most common side effects of cyberbullying is the development of depression or other mood disorders
- Anxiety: Being plagued by a virtual bully with nowhere to turn to escape the torment can cause the development of anxiety. Additionally, cruel images that are posted online are often permanent, which can worsen anxiety and compound other effects
- Isolation: Someone who is being cyberbullied may become socially withdrawn and isolate themselves from others
- Lack of participation in school or work: being cyberbullied in any form can make the victim feel hopeless, resulting in a lack of motivation when it comes to school or work
- Trust issues: Not knowing who is hurting you or why can cause many individuals to develop trust issues, which will inevitably impact relationships with family and friends
- Physical upset: The anxiety, fear, and powerlessness brought on by cyberbullying often manifests itself physically within the body as insomnia, disordered eating, or gastrointestinal issues
- Self-harm: If left unresolved, the victim of cyberbullying may become so hopeless that they feel that there is no way out and may turn to self-harming behaviors or even suicide. If you suspect that someone you know may be reaching such a breaking point, contact a help center right away.
Counselling for cyberbullying
The effects of cyberbullying are severe, serious, and, if left untreated, can be lifelong. Horizon Plymouth offers counselling for victims of cyberbullying in the form of an expert team of licensed professionals that work to understand the individual nature of what you are going through. Our counsellors can help you come to terms with what has happened to you and work through the feelings associated with your experiences so that you can begin to heal and regain control of your life. If you or someone you know has been affected by cyberbullying, call Horizon Plymouth today to schedule your initial consultation and start your journey towards recovery.