Trauma Centre Australia

CRITICAL INCIDENT & TRAUMA RESPONSE

If a traumatic incident occurs in your workplace, we will be there to help you and your organistion deal with it.

News

Social Media and Bullying

February 21, 2014

Inside Trauma Newsletter – Autumn 2014

What does it mean? Is there much to report about the age old effects of bullying? Both effects of traditional bullying and cyber bullies appear to cause significant emotional and psychological distress. Both types of bullying experience anxiety and depression and low self-esteem.

Growth in communication connections has created instant visual and response capabilities to the masses. The term ‘Cyber bullying’ uses technology e.g. internet and mobile phones to hurt, harass and bully other people. Social media bullying occurs using electronic technology, devices such as mobile phones, computers, tablets, social media sites, text messages, chat, websites and emails. Girls are twice more likely as boys to be victims or perpetrators of bullying. Australians are social we on average have 217 friend/followers on social media.

Prior to the modern mass media and social media exposure, human beings had the potential to develop strategies to combat the emotional hurt that was being flung. Instantaneous conversations, rumours, inferences, messages, unflattering pictures can all create potential fallout.

Anxiety, depression and suicide are common consequences of social media bullying and the continual growth is alarming. Statistics in 2013 report that more than half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online; more than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats. 1 in 10 have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken without their permission. 1 in 5 have had posted sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves. Over 80 percent of teens use mobile phones making mobile phones the common form of bullying.

Not just young people are being targeted; organisations are acknowledging emerging workplace cyber bullying
The Australian Public Service (APS) Oct 2013 have produced guidelines to manage staff from agency hurt and members of the general public. Cyber-bullying has become a work health and safety and security issue more over the psychological health under the work health and safety act 2011 requires organisations to be pro-active in their management of risk to staff.
If left the potential psychological trauma will not only cost considerable money but may lead to loss of life, various mental health issues and long term debilitation.

Peter Horton
Psychologist