The kids are unwell. An increasing number of children and teenagers are anonymously cyberbullying themselves online, according to a new study.
Reviewing some 6,000 middle and high school students ranging from 12-17 years old, Florida Atlantic University researchers found that one in every 20 students cyberbullied themselves from anonymous accounts, many engaging in such behavior more than once.
About 13.2% of those who self-cyberbullied admitted to participating in the practice “many times.” About half of the self-cyberbullies said they only did it once, and a third admitted to doing it a few times.
The self-bullying transcended race and gender, but, as noted by Cleburne Times-Review, “those teenagers who were surveyed in the study that identified as ‘non-heterosexual’ were three times more likely to bully themselves online, while victims of cyberbullying were 12 times more likely to have also cyberbullied themselves.”
Unsurprisingly, teens with a history of drug and depression were also found to be much more likely to engage in self-cyberbullying.
The Left’s push to promulgate victimhood as a status symbol and a form of social currency, as most potently seen on American college campuses, plays a role here. Being victimized, even if it’s self-manufactured, gains a person attention, sympathy, and, oddly, cool points. The bigger the perceived victim, the higher up on the social hierarchy ladder.
But it’s deeper than that, of course.
Teen depression and suicide rates are increasing, and, as noted by NPR, a recent study from the journal Clinical Psychological Science suggests a link between increased electronic time to the uptick in depression in suicidal thoughts among teens.
The executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Johnson County, Tammy King, suggests that the root cause of this increased isolation and seemingly connected depression is broken families and disengaged parents.
There is no replacement for involved, loving, consistent parents. You have to spend time with your kids to be able to pick up clues that something is really wrong.
-Tammy King, Children’s Advocacy Center of Johnson County executive director
“Families are disintegrating across our country and being re-defined,” said King. “Pop culture is constantly telling them what they need to be and need to accept to be considered ‘normal’ vs. children growing up in supportive, loving homes that encourage family time together every day and allow children’s personalities to develop in a healthy and natural manner. Families don’t even sit down at the table together anymore.”
Children and teens have “some unmet need,” continued King. “They are starving for someone to notice they are in crisis, so they create their own crisis in order to get their need met.”
“The problem is that the need may only be temporarily met that way,” she said. “Parents may think they know the source of the problem, when in fact, it is something else altogether. There is no replacement for involved, loving, consistent parents. You have to spend time with your kids to be able to pick up clues that something is really wrong.”
King also noted the importance of discipline and boundaries within a home.
“Kids thrive in this type of environment,” she claimed. “They know what is expected and know the rules are put into place because they are loved and cared about by their parents.”
She continued, “In our busy worlds where both parents are typically working and juggling numerous obligations concerning family and community, we sometimes miss really important warning signs from our kids. All of us need to do a better job in disconnecting from technology and re-connecting with our family. It is such a challenge in today’s world.”
H/T Daily Mail