Online Bullying and Digital Stress

Digital stress is a form of stress that is caused by digital platforms. A study published in the journal, New Media & Society indicated six major digital stressors faced by children and teenagers. The six major digital stressors are impersonation, receiving mean and harassing personal attacks, public shaming and humiliation, breaking and entering into accounts and devices, digital peer pressure, and the pressure of keeping up with social media, especially with texting.

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation.

Children are more connected today. 88% of American teens aged 13 to 17 have access to a mobile phone and 73% have access to smartphones. About 92% are on the internet every day. Nearly 43% of children have been bullied online, with one in four having had it happened more than once. 70% of students report seeing frequent online bullying, and 90% of teens who have seen social-media bullying say they have ignored the incident.

There is a strong association between cyberbullying and digital stress. Children who are bullied online tend to have similar symptoms to those who experience stress. The symptoms include;

  • Anxiety or panic attacks

  • Isolation or withdrawal from social activities

  • Increased secrecy

  • Anger

  • Depression

  • Failing grades

  • Rebellion

  • Stomachaches, headaches or other general body aches not explained by a medical condition

Although it is a grieving issue, but young people do not think adults take cyber bullying seriously. According to Professor Donna Cross from Edith Cowan University, who has completed a landmark study on cyber bullying, young people feel that they can’t tell anyone about online bullying as it is not taken seriously.

"Having a rumour spread about you, does that really hurt you? Young people would say, yes, it does, it hurts us enormously, it hurts our reputation, our sense of popularity, and as a result it really can do some harm to us socially, emotionally and mentally."

However, the perception is changing as more parents are looking to address cyberbullying. There are now calls for parents, schools and children to act together to combat the growing problem of cyber bullying. Parents and teachers are more open to talk about it.





Leong Kim Weng is a writer who writes about parenthood's articles. He uses this platform to reach out to the young parents. Writing for has given him the opportunity to learn and share interesting perspectives with others.

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