This article discussed research conducted to determine the mental health problems, substance use, and suicide ideations among teen males and females that have been cyberbullied. The researchers wanted to know if cyberbullying affected males or females more. Cyberbullying among teens is becoming more and more widespread because of the increase of internet availability and the increased use of social media. Working in a middle school, I constantly hear about things that students are posting about their peers on social media. I often wonder how many times negative comments on social media turn into cyberbullying.
Adolescence is a difficult time for many teens and unfortunately, some develop mental health issues, substance use, suicide ideations, and poor behaviors (Kim, Kimber, Boyle, and Georgiades, 2018). Cyberbullying through social media is one reason for mental health issues in teenagers. The hypothesis in this research was that teen girls would have more mental health issues than teen boys and teen boys would show more negative behaviors than teen girls when cyberbullied (Kim et al., 2018). To test the hypothesis, 10,398 students from various schools and classes completed surveys. It was later determined that only 4,940 responses would be used for the research.
The survey assessed for several issues that could be a result of cyberbullying such as mental health problems, illegal drug use, and thoughts of suicide. The results of the study indicated that more teen girls experienced cyberbullying that teen boys (Kim et al., 2018). Both girls and boys that have been cyberbullied are more likely to have an increase in mental distress, suicidal thoughts, and negligent behaviors, and the numbers were higher for girls. Among teens that have been cyberbullied, girls are more likely to use drugs and alcohol as a result than boys are.
This research aligned with previous research, which suggests that teen girls are more likely to have mental health issues that teen boys are (Kim et al., 2018). Teen girls use social media more than boys do and that makes girls more likely to be cyberbullied than boys are. However, this research did have some shortcomings. The findings were based off adolescents answering questions and not by any mental health professionals (Kim et al., 2018). The teenagers may not have understood the meaning of some of the questions and therefore may not have answered questions correctly. More research needs to be conducted to confirm this current research on teens being cyberbullied (Kim et al., 2018).
In conclusion, I think research on cyberbullying is important because it is becoming very common in today’s society. As parents and professionals, we need to be aware of what is causing our youth mental distress, substance use, suicidal ideations, and negligent behaviors. Having this knowledge will further equip parents, educators, mental health professionals, and others to develop preventatives to assist our youth in having healthy and productive lives.
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