While physical intimidation has been a matter of concern for long in the United States, the omnipresent social networking sites (SNSs) have spiked the incidence of cyberbullying. It has emerged as a major threat to the society, particularly for adolescents and young adults. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Cyberbullying Research Center, approximately 52 percent of students reported being cyberbullied in America.
With the increased access to digit devices like smartphones, computers, tablets, etc. among school going adolescents, many teenagers have succumbed to the consequences of cyberbullying. Driven by the feeling of animosity and competitiveness toward another person, children are inadvertently falling in the trap of bullying. In the absence of adequate guidance and knowledge about the repercussions of such an unhealthy behavior, numerous horrifying cases of bullying and victimization have emerged worldwide.
One of the similar hideous cases includes a recent suicide case of a 12-year-old Gabriella Green from Panama City Beach, Florida. Perceived as a confident and smart girl and student, people around her failed to identify the warning signs of harassment and mental torture by her fellow classmates. The police has accused two 12-year old middle school students for cyberstalking the girl. As per the reports, she was found unresponsive at her home on Jan 10 and was declared dead on arriving at the hospital. The medical examination of her body revealed death due to hanging.
Factors driving suicide – wrong advice, derogatory comments
During the investigation, the police found Green to be a victim of cyberbullying upon crosschecking her cellphone and social media accounts details. Based on the information collected, they interviewed two 12-year-old children. The accused made some startling revelations on cross-examination. In order to create a gap between Green and another child, accused girl made derogatory comments and spread horrible rumors like the victim was suffering from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). She even threatened to reveal her personal details.
Looking for support in such a situation, Green turned to the accused boy for advice and help. Instead of dissuading her from taking any drastic step, he did not take her statement of taking her own life seriously over phone. In fact, he said something that pushed her toward suicide, “If you’re going to do it, just do it” and ended the call. None of the accused children ever reached out for help to any adult or authorities. Though the police has not yet confirmed that cyberbullying was the only cause of her death, it has decided to hold a training session for parents on the various social media applications, associated dangers and identification of the signs of cyberbullying.
Stop cyberbullying to ensure mental well-being
It goes without saying that cyberbullying deteriorates both mental and physical health of the victim and the bully. While digital forums have become essential to stay connected with each other, the content shared on these platforms is prone to damage an individual’s reputation. Since the content shared on these platforms is often visible to all, it creates a public view of a person. Besides affecting the future, cyberbullying is responsible for causing long-lasting mental health issues.
It becomes the responsibility of the parents, teachers and adults to make their child understand that they must not bully others. One should strive to help them stay strong and motivated by providing right information and guidance. Along with this, children should be educated about the social media to avoid unhealthy activities and intimidation. In case your child is already a victim of cyberbullying, it is important to seek help immediately and offer support as much as possible.
If you or someone you know has been a target of cyberbullying or is dealing with any form of mental illness, the Texas Mental Health Recovery Helpline can help you in connecting with the mental health recovery centers in the state. Call at our 24/7 mental health recovery helpline number 866-596-4708 or chat online with one of our experts to get the details about the best mental health recovery centers in Texas.