In the age of social media, where most young people seek validation through peer feedback, cyberstalking has become ubiquitous, with online platforms becoming an open field for bullies to target other people’s teachers.
One case study found that people under the age of 25 who have been victims of cyberstalking are two times more likely to commit suicide.
In addition, those who commit wrongdoing are also likely to have suicidal thoughts or behaviors and experience depression.
For more than 21 years, researchers have observed more than 150,000 children and young adults from 30 countries worldwide. According to the findings, there is an urgent need for better and more effective ways to prevent online bullying.
A 2020 study found that 34% of 5,700 U.S. high school and college students admitted to being victims of cyberbullying.
22% of respondents received mean or hurtful comments online, while 20% became the subject of rumors circulating on social networking sites.
These numbers are truly alarming as youth suicide statistics continue to rise. Ending one’s own life has become the leading cause of death among youth. Approximately 4,600 lives are lost each year based on these numbers.
Professor Ann John of Swansea University Medical School said schools need to include preventive strategies against cyberbullying in their anti-bullying campaigns.
She suggested initiating online group support for victims, teaching students how to intervene in cases of cyberstalking appropriately, and how to seek help from authorities when they encounter such incidents.
“Suicide prevention and intervention is essential in any comprehensive anti-harassment program and should incorporate a comprehensive approach to include staff and student awareness and training.” Concluded John.
Other recommendations from the systematic review study included:
- Raise awareness of cyberstalking.
- Promote safe use of the internet.
- Encourage mental health experts to have to cyberbully during discussions.
- Screen victims and others for possible mental health problems.
The results also highlighted the importance of showing concern for the victim and the stalker.
In addition, the study concluded that men have a higher risk of feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
In addition, there is evidence that those who have been victims of cyberstalkers are less likely to report it or seek help than those who have been stalked in other ways.
Knowing the signs of suicidal behavior to help prevent it
- Becomes distant and increasingly withdrawn from peers.
- Always seems sad.
- Has less interest in hobbies and favorite activities.
- Has problems with sleep and appetite.
- Shows interest in death or dying.
- Shows reckless behavior and little regard for their own safety.
- Speaks as if it were their last words.
- Expresses feelings of abandonment.
- Throws away favourite possessions.
Ways to help a person with suicidal behavior
- Do not ignore a person who shows signs of depression/suicidal behavior.
- Immediately, but carefully, urge them to get help.
- Secure all things that can be used as a means to commit suicide.
- Encourage children to talk openly about bullying.
- Establish a safe environment where your children can open up.
- Coordinate with school teachers to monitor your child’s behavior.
- As parents, try to be part of your child’s group of friends on social media sites to monitor cyberbullying. Also, use Mspy, Hoverwatch, or Flexispy, which will allow you to monitor your child and help if needed.
- Know where to seek help when your child begins to show signs of suicidal behavior.