For Teen Vogue, by Brittney McNamara.
Bullying is bad for everyone. Being bullied is obviously super hurtful, and can have some long-lasting impacts. We also know that being a bully is bad for people, even causing anger issues and social isolation.
So that’s why the findings of a new study are so upsetting: They show that cyber bullying isn’t so likely to come from your in-school enemy or some random classmate, it’s probably coming from your pals. The study found your current or former friends or partners are seven times more likely to cyber bully you than someone who you’ve never been friends with or dated before.
The reason is probably competition, according to the study. Whether it’s your friends trying to bully you out of a club or team you’re both going for, or your former S.O. hoping to win you back, jealousy and competition are probably why they’re bullying you.
The study, which will be presented at the 111th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, also found that LGBTQ youths were four times more likely to report being cyberbullied.
It’s important to remember that real friends don’t bully each other, though. If your supposed pals are tormenting you online or in person, you should probably drop them and find some new friends who love and support you. (Read this for tips on spotting a friend who is subtly bullying you.) Same with a romantic partner. If your current or former partner is bullying you in any way, dump them immediately.
It’s in their best interest to stop, too: According to the Times of India, being a cyber bully and getting cyber bullied are both harmful to health. According to DoSomething.org cyber bullying is super common. Girls are more likely to be both perpetrators and victims of this kind of bullying, and 70 percent of teens frequently see it happening online. LGBTQ students are four times more likely to be cyber bullied than their heterosexual peers.
With social media being such an integral part of our lives, it’s also not shocking that that’s where a lot of cyber bullying happens. But of the teens who have seen bullying on social media, 90 percent ignored it. That could be because 81 percent of teens think cyber bullying is easier to get away with.
That’s a big problem though. Bullying of any kind can have serious impacts on the victim, including leading them to consider suicide. For the bully, perpetrating online hate has negative effects too, including leading to depression.
October is national bullying prevention awareness month. This school year, keep in mind how bad bullying can be and do your best to stomp it out. That way, we can all be a little happier and healthier both in person and online. Who doesn’t want that?
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