Cyberbullying is one of the most dangerous forms of harassment in the digital age. While some scholars underplay its potential effect on victims, emerging evidence indicates extreme cyberbullying can cause severe harm to victims; thus, it is not overhyped. On the contrary, renewed efforts to control it should be put in place to mitigate the extreme threat it poses to individual health, work performance, and human life. Cyberbullying is a leading cause of mental health issues, low productivity in the workplace, and suicide among victims. Arguably, the notion that it is overhyped is inaccurate.
Cyberbullying is a leading cause of mental health conditions. It is a form of psychological torture intending to cause mental instability. A study conducted by Hamm et al. on the prevalence of cyberbullying among adolescent social media users indicated that victims exhibited different forms of mental health disorders, including depression (2015). In essence, victims rapidly withdraw from their social life, become depressed, and in some rare case shows suicidal tendencies (Hamm, et al. 770). Although cyberbullies regard their actions as “harmless pranks,” the findings of the study indicated that it results in extreme psychological harm to victims. If measures are not taken to control its high prevalence rates, cyberbullying will become the leading cause of mental health issues soon. Therefore, assuming cyberbullying is overhyped misconstrues the reality of its prevalence and the threat it poses to human health.
Cyberbullying affects the individual ability to achieve maximum productivity in the workplace. Workers who are victims of cyberbullying are more likely to perform poorly than non-victims. Farley et al., after conducting a comprehensive study on the overall impact of cyberbullying, observed that individuals who experience different forms of cyberbullying in the workplace ranked lowest during performance evaluations (2015). Arguably, the experience causes multiple mental health issues, including low self-esteem, anxiety, and mood disorders that limit their productivity. Also, employees withdraw from social relationships in the workplace, significantly lowering the ability to achieve maximum performance (Farley et al. 437). In light of these observations, it accurate to conclude that cyberbullying is an imminent threat to human capital. In reality, stringent intervention strategies are necessary to curb its prevalence in the workplace.
Scholarly views supporting the notion that cyberbullying is an overrated phenomenon argue that it does not cause physical harm. Additionally, they suggest that there is no empirical scientific data to corroborate these claims (Olweus, 425). However, studies on the leading causes of rising cases of suicide among adolescents indicate otherwise. In 2018, 95 % of the suicide attempt incidences were caused by some form of cyberbullying (John et al. n.p.). While cyberbullying may not physically harm to victims, it causes the conditions that precipitate to actual self-harm and suicide incidences. The evidence strongly suggests that cyberbullying not only causes psychological torment on victims but also leads to physical harm among victims. The assumption of cyberbullying being an overrated phenomenon is, therefore, not only misleading but also overlooks empirical evidence that proves its prevalence.
To conclude, cyberbullying is not an overrated phenomenon but rather one which is underplayed. The question of whether or not its overrated should be evaluated on the extent of risks it poses and actual damage it causes. Cyberbullying is underrated considering its prevalence and threat it poses to human progress. It is a leading cause of mental health disorders among young adults, threaten human capital productivity, increases suicide, and self-harm incidences among victims.
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