The recent chain of events leading to the death of the world-renowned Korean pop or K-pop star Sulli has not only tremendously upset her ardent fans but also left people all over the world in a state of shock.
The mere fact that the incredibly talented and all-of-25-years-young pop icon, born Choi Jin-Ri, committed suicide in her apartment in South Korea, brings to the spotlight how suffering from depression can make a person take extreme decisions. Sulli had been experiencing incessant online bullying and harassment, since her debut on the international music scene in 2009 and it was even the reason she quit the girl band f(x) in 2015, to take a break and pursue other endeavours.
This clearly showcases the grim reality of cyberbullying and how distressing it can be for the victim.
Cyberbullying is a form of harassment via electronic channels that originated only in the 21st century, due to the rapid digitization of communication and well, life itself. Also called cyberharassment or online bullying, it is very common amongst teenagers and young adults, although older people are not spared of its bitter consequences, costing mental health.
The incidence of cyberbullying is extremely common nowadays, with every single person holding an active social media account on various platforms. It also occurs on gaming websites wherein the nature of play is interactive.
The perpetrator or in simple terms, the bully uses many techniques to constantly malign the online image of their target, the victim.
Methods Of Cyberbullying:
The bully continuously stalks the activity of the victim, sending texts and photos frequently and thereby posing a serious threat to the latter’s safety.
While some trolls we come across while scrolling through our social media timelines are only mildly teasing and maybe even funny, many others might be demeaning to the character or public image of those featured in the posts.
Here, the bully takes on the identity of the victim and not only divulges very personal details such as their address and phone number, but also posts slanderous content, to insult and defame the victim.
Effect Of Cyberbullying On Mental Health:
While these online activities may seem harmless or even mischievous to the perpetrator, they have far-reaching repercussions on the mind of the victim, compared to that of a hilarious prank pulled off on your high school or college buddy.
This is because the nature of content published on online platforms or in their associated text messaging portals is very denigrating. It can be of a threatening nature, sexual innuendos, messages of hate, vulgar pictures, libelous rumours and can be performed by just one person or a group of people on the victim.
This invariably leads to excruciating symptoms that negatively affect the victim’s mental health. They suffer from bouts of depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, low self-esteem, anger and frustration.
The fact that the identity of the online bully is concealed at all times and the signs of suffering by the victim are not as obvious as in the case of physical or verbal harassment makes it harder for people around to understand the underlying struggle, particularly parents and teachers of adolescents.
As a result, stringent legislations have been adopted by Japan, United States and many European nations, making cyberbullying a punishable offense by law.
5 Tips To Deal With Cyberbullying:
- Do not entertain or reply to any insults hurled at you online by bullies. Instead confide in an elder member or a trusted friend about the incidents.
- In case the nature of texts sent to you are very perverse, know that strict laws are in place to mete out appropriate punishments to such bullies. Seek legal help and approach a police official to file a complaint.
- If you are really upset by the endless offensive comments and they are taking a toll on your mental health, schedule an appointment with a counselor or psychologist and follow their advice and medications.
- Be aware that only if you convey your bullying experience to others will they realise your situation and help you out. Never try to cope with being harassed all by yourself.
- Don’t shy away from resuming your normal routine and eat healthy, exercise regularly and get sufficient sleep to keep your physical state strong and fit.
It is the responsibility of every individual to demonstrate a sense of responsibility in whatever content they publish online, be it of themselves or others around them. Moreover, one must understand that they will be held fully accountable for any negative or insinuating posts they may have put up publicly on social media.
Parents, teachers, friends and family must have open conversations with any affected victims of cyberbullying they may know, to help them heal mentally and emotionally and advise youngsters to use social media with care and caution.