In the wake of a surge in suicide rate and mental disorder among teenagers due to cyberbullying, Twitter has come up with a new set of rules to ban trolls on its platform. The rules are carefully drafted after consulting mental health advocates in order to offer support to people who have experienced self-harm or suicidal thoughts, and also prohibit cyberbullying.
According to the new guidelines, any tweet or direct message to a user that may be encouraging him/her for committing suicide, eating disorders or any type of self-harm will be punishable. A person will be made to remove the message and will be temporarily locked out of his/her account, following the first bullying offense. The new guidelines also say that the account may be suspended, in case there are several such instances.
In recent years, cyberbullying has emerged as a potential health threat. It is an act of bullying a user over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets through texts, videos, messages, emails, posts, tweets or sharing objectionable or negative content against him. Such an act can harm not only the online reputation of the user, but can also cause mental conditions like stress, anxiety, and depression. Notably, cyberbullying is a punishable offense across the U.S.
Link between cyberbullying, mental illness and suicide
Now, the act of bullying is not restricted to schools and colleges where seniors would threaten new students. Today, bullying can take place anywhere, including online spaces. In fact, with the rise in the usage of social media platforms, the rate of cyberbullying has increased in the past few years. With tendencies like catfishing, where people create their profile with false identities to cheat others, cyberbullying can include circulating suggestive pictures or negative messages about a person, and posting mean content against him.
According to a 2014 study published in the JAMA Pediatrics, cyberbullying triggers suicidal thoughts in the victim more than traditional bullying. The Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) data says that more than 16 percent of students seriously consider suicide, 13 percent create a plan, and 8 percent make a serious attempt.
Bullying, especially cyberbullying, often leads to the development of mental disorders like anxiety and depression. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of developing mental problems is twice more likely in victims of bullying than people who are not bullied. The underlying distress among such people is generally expressed in form of frequent stomach pain and headaches, which are often ignored and neglected.
Road to recovery
Bullying in any form is a social crime. As per experts, often women, teenagers, and young adults become the prime target of bullying. Bullying can lead to mental disorders, encourage suicidal behavior, and push the victim toward drug addiction.
However, many people tend to confuse the initial symptoms of bullying with the act of stalking and following. Therefore, the need of the hour is to create awareness and educate people about the cause and growth of cyberbullying. Also, since creating social medical profile has become inevitable in today’s life, one must be careful of activating the security filters as well as be conscious of cyber activities.
Fortunately, mental disorders are treatable with timely medical intervention. If you or your loved one is a victim of bullying and experiencing mental problems, seek help from the Florida Mental Health Helpline. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 846-5588 or chat online with our expert who can further guide you to the best mental health rehab center in Florida.