A Discussion on the Effects of Cyberbullying Among the Youth in Namibia

Introduction

Cyberbullying became a major concern issue among the youth. Statistics revealed that 44.6% of pupils in secondary school are bullied, with 66% being grade 8 pupils” (Nekomba, 2015) . According to the oxford dictionary (2014), cyberbullying is defined as the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of intimidating or threatening nature”.

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Cyberbullying occur through text messages, and applications or social media. This threatening act involves scaring someone. Social media refers to applications such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter (Ben-Joseph, 2018). SMS are short message also called a text message. This essay will discuss the four effects of cyberbullying among the youth in Namibia.

Violation of Human rights

The acts of cyberbullying has violated one of the fundamental human rights which is privacy. Every person, young or old has the right to make decisions in accordance to their desire into which way they will live their private lives. Article 13(Privacy) state that no person shall be subject to interferences with the privacy of homes, correspondence or communication such as accordance with the law” (Constitution, 1990). This article clearly indicates the serious offense caused by cyberbullying. The bully invites personal peace as they constantly harass the victim which is against the law. Therefore, the bully can face serious criminal charges in the court of law. When personal privacy is violated, it can cause serious psychological effect because the victim constantly thinking of the bully’s next attack. Overthinking can lead to mental distress of the brain which then leads to madness (Willard, 2007). This is when an individual’s brain is not functioning well and they are in no position to make conscious decisions between what is right and wrong.

Disinterest in school

Cyberbullying was proven to be another major contributor to low pass rate among teenagers in school. Victims of bullying no longer have interest in their studies leading to low pass rate. Children that experience bullying develop sickness such as stomach pains, headaches tension and sleep problems (Kowalski & Limber, 2012). Due to all these types of sickness, victim of cyberbullying tend to miss a lot of lessons and they mostly do not catch up on the work the missed doing their absent days. It seem like victims of cyberbullying have fear of asking other fellow students academic related work and some do not have friends, they rather be in isolation and not knowing anything which at the end of the day may lead low performance. As they keep performing poor, they lose interest in school which leads to most of them dropping out of school and engaging in anti-social behaviours such as fights, drugs and crime.

Depression and anxiety

Victims to cyberbullying are believed to be more depressed than ordinary people with ordinary problems other than cyberbullying. These victims constantly feel sad, down and not having interest or pleasure in their daily activities (MacGill, 2017). The victims feel down because their feeling are hurt by the bullies through all the hurtful words they use on the victims which in turn lowers their self-esteem. They develop a mentality of feeling inferior to others. They accept what the bullies say to them and these are things like they are not important, useless, waste of human creation and that they will never succeed in life. Anxiety works hand in hand with depression. With anxiety, the victim feels nervous, fearful and worried (Team, 2017) .This is because they are afraid of what the bully might post expose them further of any embarrassment they may have encountered in the past, any discriminating evidence against them in the hands of the bully. Depression and anxiety may as well lead suicide ideation.

Long term effects of cyberbullying

Being bullied can insert a certain dilemma into the person that is bullied and it might as well cause damage to their mental rapport. Furthermore, being bullied in primary school has been found to both predict borderline personality symptoms and psychotic experiences, such as hallucinations or delusions by adolescence (Wolker & Leraya, 2015). These adolescence grow up with these hallucinations and delusions which then affect their adulthood. However, there are certain reasons as to why these bullies harass their victims like in traditional bullying. Some perceived the bully’s motivation as due to a lack of con?¬?dence and desire for control: bullying on the computer is quite cowardly, because they can’t face up to the person themselves’; people are too scared to do stuff face to face’; there is less fear of getting caught’ (Smith., et al., 2008). Some bullies engage in such activities because they think it is fun, they keep themselves entertained at others’ expense. Due to all of these contributing factors, bullies have no fear of bullying others electronically because the victims do not know anything about the perpetrators and thus can keep on bullying them for an awful long time. The victims grow up without knowing their perpetrators while living in torment of endless insults and humiliations made by the bullies.

Solutions

Understanding the possible consequences of both traditional bullying and cyberbullying is important so that interventions and social policies can be designed to mostly effectively help both victims and perpetrators (Kowalski & Limber, 2012). However, the major aspect to focus on when dealing with mitigating the effects of cyberbullying is parents. Parents need to engage with their children and be able to notice some changes in their children’s behaviour and get involved to help them against cyberbullying. Schools, workplaces and universities should take this matter seriously as well to help the disadvantaged parties to cyberbullying. Thus, policies should be implemented and put in place to protect the victims, deal with the perpetrators accordingly and compensate the innocent party if need be. Thus, policies should be implemented and put in place to protect the victims, deal with the perpetrators accordingly and compensate the innocent party if need be. Not replying to the perpetrators, accounts protection, saving evidence, using tracking programs to trace the location of perpetrators, and opening up campaigns to help the victims to talk about what they are going through can be used as ways to prevent cyberbullying to a certain level.

Conclusion

A clear description of the effects of cyberbullying was explained. Cyberbullying is one of the most leading negative effects among the young. Through this serious offense, human rights are violated and thus, the victims do not feel safe in their comfort zones. Cyberbullying was also proved to be the leading factor for several school dropouts among the youth as it leads to disinterest in school. This is due to the fear of being exposed. Blackmail, threats and exposure leads to depression and anxiety among the victims. As they say, precaution is better than cure, therefore, adequate precautions have to be put into effect to curve out this unacceptable behaviour among the youth.

Parents, educators and the state at large need to take cautions in monitoring the behaviours of students and be able to spot unusual acts which could be signs that they are being bullied electronically. And to mitigate this situation, the youth need to be educated about cyberbullying, its effects and the consequences it carries with it. Campaigns could also be opened to promote or encourage the youth in letting their problems known to others and seek help. Tracking devices can also be used to trace the culprits and deal with them as the law implies. Unlike traditional bullying where the perpetrator and the person being bullied have to be in the same room for it to occur, cyberbullying can be exercised at a further greater distance between the two while its effects are felt the same as in traditional bullying. However, with the increased usage of electronic communication, it is difficult pin-point perpetrators and deal with them according to the law.

References

Ben-Joseph, P. (2018, April). TeensHealth from Nemours. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/cyberbullying.html

Constitution, T. N. (1990, March 21). Refworld. Retrieved from http://www.refworld.org/docid/47175fd361.html[accessed 24 September 2018]

Kowalski, R. M., & Limber, S. P. (2012). Psychological,Physical,and Academic Correlates of Cyberbullying and Traditional Bullying. Journal of Adolescent Health, 13-20.

MacGill, M. (2017, November 30). Retrieved from Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewatoday.com/kc/depression-causes-symptoms-treatments-893

Nekomba, N. (2015, November 10). Bullying Statistics a Cause for Concern . p. 0.

Smith., P. K., Mahdvi, J., Carvalho, M., Fisher, S., Russel, S., & Tippett, N. (2008). Cyberbullying: its nature and impact in seconday school pupils. Journal of Child Psychology and Pscycharity, 376-385.

Team, M. E. (2017, November 12). Retrieved from Medical News Today: https:www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/anxiety

Willard, N. E. (2007). Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats :Responding to the challenges of online social agression,threats,and distress. Research Press.

Wolker, D., & Leraya, S. (2015). Arch Dis Child. 879-885.

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