Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Most people nowadays know that words do hurt. Indeed, they can potentially cut deeper than sticks and stones. Cyberbullying uses words, laden with hateful, spiteful emotions, to threaten and to inflict harm.

Potential Effects of Cyberbullying on Victims

Victims of cyberbullying often have a pervasive sense of powerlessness and isolation. If these feelings endure, health and wellbeing can be compromised. For example some victims may experience consequences such as: impaired sleep, irritability, poor concentration, and mild somatic complaints. Some evidence exists that suggests on-going cyberbullying can be linked to anxiety, depression, and even suicidal ideation.

Potential Consequences for Perpetrators

Cyberbullies, too, may suffer negative consequences for their behaviour. Evidence suggests that many bullies are often victims of bullying themselves. People who engage in threatening, aggressive behaviour often have a poor estimation of their own effectiveness, and a poor self-image.

Few cyberbullies give a thought to the illegal nature of their thugging activities. Intimidation via electronic media is against the law, and the police can be called upon to investigate. The incognito cyberbully is a myth: everyone who uses the internet leaves a digital footprint. One day in the future, a cyberbully may find opportunities may be lost or a jobs may be missed due to previous illegal online behaviour. These days, character checks by corporations commonly include an indepth search of one’s digital reputation.

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