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Irene Oliveros

Professor Jennifer Rodrick

English 115

7 December 2017

The Dark Internet World

Social networking was created in order to provide our society with beneficial features

that have never been heard of in previous times of need. However, one does not have to work to

hard to recognize that the advancements in our technology today have only helped to take

bullying to an extreme. Anyone who is familiar with the concept of social media and uses it

frequently knows what cyberbullying is and the effects it could have on an individual. The

reason behind this is because it is so prevalent in the lives of people today. When people are

constantly increasing the amount of time that they are spending on technology it leaves room for

people to prey on each other. This exposes individuals to harassment, threats, impersonations,

and humiliation that is so ubiquitous in the virtual world. These days cyberbullying is easy to get

away with due to the fact that there is an option to be anonymous. Technology has been

advancing at such high levels that anonymity is achievable and not beneficial whatsoever when it

comes to online bullying. Bullying in person is a lot easier to address because it's visible and

requires a lot more communication on both ends. However, when it comes down to the virtual

world, confrontation is a lot less necessarily. The internet is supposed to be a way in which

people can skim through their interests and get away from their working lives. This has been

halted because bullying has made this experience much less enjoyable for a lot of people. Many


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now turn to the virtual world and pretend to have bolder identities to hurt people, with real

confrontation left at a minimum. Cyberbullying could include anything from harsh emails,

pictures, or even texts away from social media. This is a very urgent problem that has lead some

victims to lose confidence and deal with possible disorders, while the perpetrators continue this

violence due to neglect.

The act of bullying through social media has been known to decrease an individual's

confidence in themselves. Often times, social media is used as a means of expressing ones self.

When this is restricted by harsh words based on social standards, it can cause really deleterious

effects towards one's ego. Many times the main reason behind cyberbullying occurring is

because of appearance. Therefore, girls are the ones who are usually targeted. Because of this

there are much higher chances of females becoming insecure based on comments made on the

internet. In previous times and continuing on today, girls often received comments about being

fat, while among boys, it was common to receive comments about looking or seeming gay

(New Body Image Research 2694). The reason behind a lot of teenagers committing this act is

because they want to be able to fit in. By degrading someone else, the bully begins to feel

entitled and more socially accepted. Society's unrealistic standards make it very difficult for

people to stray away from believing in the same kind of perfection. The worst part about this is

that when nothing is done about the issue, it negatively affects the victim as well as bystanders.

People who are not directly involved begin to think this behavior is acceptable, or they want to

change who they are so that they are not targeted. This is as a result of learning negative

behaviors by simply observing whats in front of their eyes. If you were to do research on

schools to find out the different percentage of kids being bullied online and why, youd find that


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the reasons vary immensely. There is bullying that can occur because of anything these days and

bullies who dont even realize what theyre doing.

Fig. 1 Cyberbullying Among Adolescents

In the image above you can see how the number of women who are bullied on social media is

significantly larger than the males. This only emphasizes the fact that more pressure is put on

women these days to impress everyone and meet societies views of perfection. If you go on

social media today you will see images of girls who look nothing like the typical women of

today. Yet, so many girls continue to be insulted or looked down upon for not having the ideal

body type. This can ultimately end up leading to major faults in ones true identity because of

loss of confidence. The fact that females especially begin to feel forced to fit in ultimately turns

them into someone they arent.



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Cyberbullying is an issue that can have a negative impact on anyone, whether it be kids,

teenagers, or adults. Many times it can even lead to serious disorders or illnesses such as

depression. This is a huge problem because children are too fragile to deal with the toll that

depression can take on them. However, because people recognize this and actually do spread

awareness about bullying in schools, adults are left out of the picture. A common misconception

that a lot of people have is that bullying only usually occurs with children. There are even

movies where you see usually the kids are the ones who are running from bullies and the parents

or older siblings are always there to protect. This is a problem because, some people might

think of it as just part of being a kid [...] being bullied is very common- but its not normal

(#Endbullying 4). The problem with this is that when someone whos older is actually being

bullied on social media its not given much attention to vs. the kids who are already known to be

treated that way. Worst case scenario, if cyberbullying can go avoided and unaddressed amongst

adults, so can a disorder or illness that is caused by it. There is no one to protect students in

college, young adults, or even adults when it comes to these kinds of scenarios. This is of course,

unless someone reports a very serious case. Otherwise, it would be classified as unimportant and

not even addressed by law enforcement. There are studies that show that a lot of college students

struggle with the issue of cyberbullying and it imposes a lot of negativity in their minds. Out of

approximately, 799 college students surveyed via the internet, 8.6% were victims of

cyberbullying (Schenk 21). What ends up happening is that most people end up with severe

depression or even anxiety. These two are already prevalent in very rigorous campuses due to the

stress and high demand of school work. However, depression and anxiety arent the only two

disorders that cyberbullying can often lead to.




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Fig. 2 Prevalence & Psychological Impact

In figure two above, all the several illnesses that can occur due to cyberbullying are visible. As

shown on the chart, aside from depression and anxiety it can also lead to hostility, phobic

anxiety, paranoia, and psychotic issues. The way that these illnesses can change a person and

their identity is inevitable. Depression seems to be the number one problem with most people

and in severe cases of depression it could sometimes lead to suicide. When an individual is

bullied and becomes depressed, there is no way to erase that feeling. People who have mental

illnesses feel isolated and lonely despite how many people are constantly showing love and this

is something to be aware of. Cyberbullying is the number one thing society should focus on

preventing because it connects to so many other things that can affect one's identity such as

gender roles, lack in confidence, and social standards.

When the issue of cyberbullying is discussed, most of the time there is not much talk


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about the perpetrator. All of the attention is focused on the victim. It is important to address the

way in which technology advancements today have changed who people are. If more people

acknowledged this they would be able to see that most people who bully online are either trying

to fit into the crowd, or they are dealing with their own type of frustrations and inner demons. If

there is analyzation at the root of the issue it becomes easier to do something about it. Often

times the perpetrator will, whip out something on his smartphone or laptop or iPad, and in

anger or frustration, he will hit the send button [...] between the emotion and the response, people

do not take enough time to reflect (Nash 8). This statement proves that sometimes people bully

out of the simple fact that they cannot control their emotions. There are people who need actual

help relaxing themselves and they make impulsive decisions that can affect the lives of other in

an instant. If anyone were to go on social media right now, there is a guaranteed chance that they

would see someone ranting about their day or being sad. This is what humans do. However, this

does not justify ones action to dehumanize another human being.

In essence, cyberbullying is an issue that affects everyone in our current day. Anyone

from a child, to a full grown adult could be negatively approached by the online world. This is

not to get misunderstood as the internet being a horrible place. The internet is a wonderful way to

connect with long lost friends and loved ones who may live somewhere across the country.

Cyberbullying is an issue that needs to continue to be addressed because of how much it can take

a toll on an individual and their perception on themselves. A lot of the time, people dont try to

understand why it is that the perpetrator performs certain actions. Many dont realize that the


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internet and social media gives people the opportunity to change their identity, into someone

who is much bolder and blunt with words than anyone could ever imagine. This in turn leaves

the victims of cyberbullying with long lasting unseen scars. The risk of suicide increases along

with the chance of developing a disorder or major depression. On top of this, when people are

bullied online for the way that they look or speak, it makes them want to change who they are in

order to be more accepted. Then it just turns into a never ending cycle of people using

technology in the way it was not intended or created for. The public needs to exercise their

freedom of speech with positive words. Using freedom of speech in order to be demeaning or

dehumanize someone is unnecessary when it could just be used to end cyberbullying and stand

up for others instead. Cyberbullying has been a topic of conversation for years now. Its time that

society starts to take a stand and confront the issues that the world has gotten so numb towards.




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Works Cited

"Cyberbullying Among Adolescents, by Gender." Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Gale,

2015. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Accessed 4 Oct. 2017.

#EndBullying. Camping Magazine, March.-Apr. 2015, p. 4. General OneFile. Accessed 3 Oct.

2017.

Nash, Kim. When Emotion Hijacks the Brain: Management consultant Doug Lennick says

morally intelligent leaders build high-performing, innovative companies. CIO, vol. 25,

no. 8, 2012. Accessed 3 Oct. 2017.

New Body Image Research Findings from University of Gothenburg Outlined (Apperance-

related cyberbullying: A qualitative investigation of characteristics, content, reasons, and

effects). Health & Medicine Week, 19 Dec. 2014, p.2694. Health Reference Center

Academic. Accessed 3 Oct 2017.

Schenk, Allison. Prevalence,Psychological Impact, and Coping of Cyberbully Victims Among

College Students. Journal of School Violence, March. 2012, p.21. EBSCOhost.

Accessed 3 Oct. 2017.