The new study, which was done by a team of researchers led by pediatrics specialist Michele Humm form the University of Alberta, used data provided by multiple previous studies regarding cyberbullying in social media and their effects on teens. The team found that a part of them provided associations between cyberbullying on social media and depression, making victims more liable to it than those who weren’t targeted by the abuse.
Around 90 percent of the teens in the studies admitted to having a Facebook account, and out of them 23 percent have reported that they have been bullied at least once on the social media site. 15 percent of respondents also admitted to bullying someone on Facebook at least once.
Even though most of the studies did not provide a certain association between the two, the team reported that 10 studies published in the JAMA Pediatrics journal showed that cyberbullying is linked to depression and might be a high risk factor for it, with the severity of both of them depending on each other. In other words, more severe and personal types of bullying results in more severe types of depression.
The research also showed that teens affected by online bullying will also tend not to talk about it, for fear of repercussion such as their parents restricting their internet access as a preventive solution.
Online abuse and hate speech have both received widespread attention in the last couple of years, as the internet is consolidating itself as a solid part of most human activities nowadays. This also transmits into its darker aspects, as some high profile teen suicides occurred in the last couple of years following them being harassed on social networks.
One particular example is related to the site Ask.fm. The site’s concept lets people ask questions to a certain user under protection of anonymity, which might sound like an interesting idea in practice. In theory, many use this cover to verbally harass and bully the user without the possibility of disclosing their identity. A set of 2013 suicides were linked with the victims being bullied on this site.
Image Source: The Journal