Most people mistakenly believe that bullying/cyberbullying is a problem faced by young adolescents. What they do not know is that studies have shown that 40% of high-schoolers, who have either been bullies or victims or bullying acts, maintain this role even through college. According to a few research studies, cyberbullying amongst college populations ranges from 10% to 27.8%.
Through a study by University of Washington, where 285 female students (from 4 different colleges) were questioned, researchers found that college-age females were just as likely to suffer the negative effects of cyberbullying as younger adolescents. Moreover, the study found that it could affect girls this age even worse as they are three times more likely to meet the clinical criteria for depression. If the bullying was a form of sexual abuse, the odds of depression doubled. According to Brian Van Brunt, President of the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association, first year college students and those in the Greek system experience more cases of bullying or “hazing” than other groups. With the advent of social media and anonymous apps, the cases of cyber bullying in the recent past, is at an all time high.
We all know that the psychological effects of cyberbullying causes more emotional damage than traditional bullying because of the wider audience and impact of the Internet. Considering the fact that Internet is a basic necessity for almost all college students, and coupled with the fact that college is generally a high-stress environment, the effects of cyber bullying are multiplied, as are the total number of victims. The University of Washington study has shown that even cyber bullying perpetrators suffer from depression and are more likely to resort to alcohol and substance abuse. In terms of alcohol abuse, bullies suffer much more than victims.
However, there is an upside: most college campuses have counseling offices and victims can easily talk to a counselor in their college clinic. Also, since college campuses provide so many diverse opportunities, Van Brunt is of the opinion that victims have a bigger chance to find a niche somewhere on campus rather than becoming isolated.
Cyber bullying at college clearly cannot be taken lightly as it poses huge problem for a lot of young adults. We, at ChronicleMe, aim to create more awareness about its effects in the hope that bullies will understand the weight of their words and victims will find courage in the fact that they are not alone.