The American Psychological Association's (APA) annual convention took place this past week in Washington DC. I didn't go but have sort of been following remotely, and one of the major topics was social media. So this week, I thought I'd post a bit about that.
Dr. Elizabeth Carll, presented on electronic harrassment, and made the point that it can be more stressful, anxiety-provoking, and traumatizing than in-person bullying and harrassment.
Why? Because it's a 24-7, global kind of thing. If you get bullied in person, you can (to some extent), escape it. It's more localized. And, while terrible, once it's ended, it ends. But with cyberstalking/bullying, there are multiple ways to get to someone, and once you've posted something nasty online, because of screen-capture technology and caching and whatnot, it's there more-or-less forever, accessible by anyone in the world.
Another set of researchers gave a presentation including results from a study revealing that over a third of students report being victims of cyberbullying at least once in the past year. For just one example of how young both victims and bullies can be, check out this article about a recent case (the kids who engaged in this bullying have now received their sentences). A significant minority of cyberbullying and stalking takes place on social media sites like Facebook. There's some indication that when the bullying is anonymous, like nameless comments on message boards or blogs, it's more distressing than when you know who's giving you a hard time.
This is, of course, fodder for timely fiction, in both adult and YA--and possibly in MG. Are any of you writing about it? But also--have any of you experienced this (there's a potential resource discussed in this article)? If so, were the bullies anonymous or known? Cyberharrassment seems to be one of the risks of our hyperconnected world these days, but it certainly carries a heavy psychological price.
Because it's Monday, be sure to check out Lydia's Medical Monday post and Laura's Mental Health Monday post!