Severity of Cyberbullying: How COVID-19 is Affecting People Online

Chaehyun Lee, Backpage Editor

Cyberbullying arose as a serious problem recently as most schools started online classes in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying on digital platforms and includes negative comments towards someone, spreading others’ personal information and even intentionally ignoring someone in a Google Meet or Zoom session during class. 

 

The global pandemic increased virtual contact among students, as it is the only way to contact with their peers. Popular websites like Zoom have experienced hackers infiltrating their system to make rude, inappropriate comments during online business meetings. These instances prove that Zoom is vulnerable to the intrusion of outside influences and that it is easier for people to cyberbully others in these private conversations. Likewise, it is certainly plausible for students to use these features in the same offensive way.  Students can effortlessly bully each other through these digital platforms. 

 

Furthermore, lack of in-person social interaction due to the virus creates fragmented friendships and can even cause people to post self-deprecating things about themselves. For instance, those with limited access to the Internet (or even a computer) are limited to virtual hangouts and lack opportunities to connect with friends. This results in the feeling of isolation in some kids and causes them to bully themselves as they become disconnected and feel left out from the friend group. The feeling of isolation may further induce them to make mean comments toward their friends in frustration. 

 

To solve this problem, we should raise awareness about how cyberbullying affects students. MHS should increase education about cyberbullying and highlight the importance of counseling programs. Schools should prioritize students’ mental health and talk through stress and negative emotions with students. 

Kindness and consideration is key for positive relationships among students. How can we spread kindness in our school and create a caring, warm community? Please participate in a school-wide competition organized this month and submit an article or any type of media (such as visual art, a song, a podcast, a poem, etc.) to Breezes. The submissions are due by Tuesday, January 19 by 11:59 pm to Chae Lee at [email protected] The winner of this competition will receive a certificate with prizes, and their work will be published on the back page of Breezes’ February issue.