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Online bullying more horrifying, leads to depression in youths

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New Delhi: As researchers have found that cyberbullying amplifyies symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in young people, health experts here also stressed that in some cases it can be far more horrifying than physical bullying.

According to the experts, cyberbullying is when a child, teen or youngster becomes a target of actions by others — using computers, cellphones or other devices — that are intended to embarrass, humiliate, torment, threaten or harass.

It can start as early as age eight or nine, but the majority of cyberbullying cases take place in the teenage years, up to age 17.

The new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, addressed both the prevalence and factors related to cyberbullying in adolescent inpatients.

“Even against a backdrop of emotional challenges in the kids we studied, we noted cyberbullying had an adverse impact. It’s real and should be assessed,” said study co-author Philip D. Harvey, Professor at University of Miami in the US.

According to the researchers, children with a history of being abused were found to be more likely to be cyberbullied.

The study of 50 adolescent psychiatric inpatients aged 13 to 17 examined the prevalence of cyberbullying and related it to social media usage, current levels of symptoms and histories of adverse early life experience.

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Conducted from September 2016 to April 2017, the research team asked participants to complete two childhood trauma questionnaires and a cyberbullying questionnaire.

Twenty per cent of participants reported that they had been cyberbullied within the last two months before their admission.

According to the researchers, half of the participants were bullied by text messages and half on Facebook.

Transmitted pictures or videos, Instagram, instant messages and chat rooms were other cyberbullying vehicles, the study said.

Those who were bullied had significantly higher severity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anger, and fantasy dissociation than those who were not bullied.

According to findings, participants who reported being cyberbullied also reported significantly higher levels of lifetime emotional abuse on the study’s Childhood Trauma Questionnaire than those who were not bullied.

The internet not only covers the huge part of our lives nowadays, rather it actually dominates today’s generations’ lives, according to the expert.

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