Cyberbullying at a modern level

Bullying can have negative effects, such as mental health issues

By Rebekah Frank, Staff Writer

As nearly 54 percent of young Facebook users report being cyberbullied, the need for social awareness and action becomes stronger, according to

Cyberbullying is defined as “the use of technologic devices, such as cell phones and computers, to willfully and repeatedly cause harm to others,” by The Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing.

According to, Facebook, Ask.FM and Twitter are the most common sites where cyberbullying happens, and compared to other sites, Facebook is twice as likely to contain cyberbullying.

Crystal Williamson, a junior, suffered from cyberbullying on Facebook when her friends turned on her. Williamson said they would tell her to come hang out with them, but would give her the wrong address or time.

She said after she confronted them, she tried to make the friendship work, but they started bullying her using pictures she posted on Facebook. She said her friends started saving her pictures and would draw on them and send them to other people.

“There was one, I think I was posing as a robot or something for a dance, and they drew on it and basically said I was a robot because I acted more calm when everyone else was jumping around. So they would call me a robot or draw ice everywhere and make me pale and say ‘Oh it’s an ice queen,’” said Williamson.

Alice Emerson, CAPS psychologist and coordinator of multicultural services, said one of the dangers of cyber bullying is the unintentional harassment that could take place. Emerson said it is important for people who feel bullied to speak up because, in some cases, bullying was not the intention.

“That is going to be true of any kind of print stuff. Even texting or stuff like that, you don’t have body language to go with it to understand what somebody’s meaning is,” said Emerson. “Whenever you are not face to face with someone, you lack that element of communication that is really important.”

Bullying is more likely to happen to middle school students than any other grade, according to An estimated 44 percent of middle schools and 20 percent of high schools reported bullying problems. Cyberbullying has shown to have catastrophic effects on up to 70 percent of individuals’ self-esteem and social lives who have been bullied.

In the article, “The Means to Justify the End: Combating Cyber Harassment,” author Tom van Laer said, “Cyber harassment can have harmful effects on social media users, such as emotional distress and, consequently, withdrawal from social network sites or even life itself.”

In Laer’s article, he said the impacts of cyberbullying can be deadly; one college student committed suicide after discovering that his roommate had gossiped about him on Twitter.

“In the United States alone, estimates indicate that more than half a million people age 18 or older have been victims of cyber harassment,” said Laer in his article.

Social awareness is the focus of all books written by Blair London in hopes of showing society many modern-day crimes that go unnoticed and encouraging people to stop it.

“There needs to be more awareness of social media and bullying,” said London.

Matthew Taylor, a sophomore at EWU, said he still suffers negative effects from the bullying he experienced for posting a video on YouTube. He said his lack of desire to approach people and make new friends stems from his fear of being rejected again like he was in high school.

“I was kind of really shy and quiet in school and everything. I kind of wanted just to show myself to people, and so I like made a video, and people just kind of mocked it and made stupid comments and stuff on Facebook,” said Taylor. “They just came up with nicknames and stuff and ways to bully me online and in person.”

Taylor said he thinks social media almost encourages people to bully because they do not have to be face to face. He said even though it is not face to face, it still had a negative impact on his life by making him want to isolate himself.

“I hope it doesn’t happen to anybody because it can really affect you, really bad. Kind of to this day it still kind of affects me, in the way of how I interact with people,” said Taylor.