Internet and How To Curb Cyber Bullying… Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being
Health is an integral part of our lives. Well-being promotes better standards of living and boost productivity in humans. The practice of good health should never be confined to healthy eating habits or engaging in physical activities only. It also should range to the social interactions that humans have with others as well as the support that we get from others during times of tribulations.
Support is very critical for people who have mental illnesses because it helps them endure the pain that they are suffering deep within themselves. Such can be the pain which teenagers may experience from cyber-bullying.
New and emerging technologies such as the internet have enabled people, especially the youth to connect and interact with friends, and also strangers alike. Today there are various social media platform, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat. Just to mention a few where people can easily connects. There are also various electronic gaming platforms and also dating platform where people can also meet and interact. Present too are various platform where people can watch online videos and other multimedia.
A lot of valuable information is available easily on the internet. Also available online is information which can be a potential threat to many people especially the youth. There are some content; which are simply not appropriate to young people; such as pornographic material and other age-inappropriate content. Also excessive use of the internet; such as junkie gaming can be disastrous to young people.
Providing Guidance to Youth who Use the Internet
Therefore there is need for proper guidance as well as support to be given to kids about the use of internet resources. There is the need for parents and other concerned parties to offer guidance and empower the young people about proper use of digital media for literacy. Digital media shouldn’t be there to spoil the minds of young people but to positively empower them.
My best friend was once a victim of cyber bullying. She committed suicide because of all the duress and torture that she underwent. Her parents were Islamic immigrants who came to US with her while she was just a kid. She didn’t have the best social life as a kid. I was her first friend when she started schooling.
We were from the same neighborhood. She was sweet and kind. As she came to know more about social life, she really wanted to have friends. However, she had problems socializing and hardly made any friends at school.
However, I knew that she might have wanted to adapt to the social life that other kids were up to. But she was impeded by other factors like her religion or background. These could have kept her away from the social life that she much desired.
It was while she was in college that she experienced the worse times of her life. At that time, she joined a sorority group where she wanted to be considered normal. Regardless, things never went as expected after; she bowed to some pressure to have nude pictures of her taken by a random guy that she met and got attracted to.
Education is Important to Help Kids Cope with Cyber-bullying
After that incident, she documented a lot of bullying that she received when she later refused to have sex with the guy. He went into social media to reveal all about her life that he knew. Including how a Muslim had easily gone astray. It was the moist tormenting period of her. Even after trying to shift to another school, things never changed. The tormenting continued and she was suffering way too much and couldn’t take it anymore. With that said, she decided to end her life.
It was quiet sad to hear about her news. Nevertheless, these are some of the devastating issues that young people face every day; as they connect and interact with people over the internet. There are many cases of cyber-bullying and other trolling which is part of the cyber life. It is apparent that there must be measures and guidelines needed to help such victims.
Trolling and cyber-bullying can easily lead to psychological disorders; such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder or even Post-Traumatic Stress. Which may induce the victim to commit suicide. Perhaps engage in irresponsible behaviors. Youth need to be guided about the risks of exposure to bad content that they find online. The exposure that they experience online is a subject which needs to be of concern to teachers and parents. Education is vital in enabling youth cope with the various bad experiences that they find online. There is also the need to educate them on safe use of online resources.
Preventing Kids from Bad Exposure and Advice to Parents
Nonetheless, I was so touched by the news about the demise of my friends. However, my hands were bound by then and I didn’t know what to do about the whole situation. An opportunity came about two years when my roommate in college was too involved in cyber-bullying. That reminded me of the loss of my childhood friend. Thus when my roommate was through with psychological therapy after the bullying; we hatched a plan to counter such issues. Which faced the youth. We decided to be youth ambassador to help empower. As well as involve young people through teenage learning related in interactions online.
We stared it all in our school and the program was supported by the administration. We aimed at enlightening the youth about safe and responsible use of media, electronic gaming and the internet at large. This program included available support services that victims could get (forum sites, processes of reporting such vices and help lines to contact in case need be).
Our program elicited a lot of support and we were able to get the support of mainstream media, a local media company which helped us in the promotion of better mental and health well-being which could help victims recover from cyber-tormenting ordeals.
This gave us the exposure to partner with more organizations; which were ready to help the youth undergoing these situations. As youth ambassador, many youth have reasoned with us. Many have approached us based on their experiences. We have been able to connect them to professionals who have tried to help them recover from such occurrences. The best thing is that they receive mental therapy; which helps them get through the troubles that they have been undergoing.