Bullying IT Mental Health Safety

CYA: Cyber-bullying and the impact on young people’s mental health.

Cyber-bullying is fast becoming one of the biggest issues for young people. In a recent online Instagram poll on @OurVoiceSurrey, young people told us that 76% had been affected by a type of online bullying, with the majority being victims of bullying on group chats or on social media platforms. Read more to find out inclusive experiences from young people and much more!

“People at school would start being abusive and then it would continue when I returned home, in the form of instant messaging.  It is worse when you are part of a group chat as people you do not know can be added into the group. I had a girl being abusive to be and she would invite all her friends in the chat to back her up, in these situations I felt totally isolated.”

We have heard similar experiences with gaming sites. CYA told us it is fairly easy for other people to join in group chats in the gaming world!

“There are some people I do not get on with at school. After lockdown we were on an Xbox party online, we were playing Minecraft and talking on Xbox. On there it is easy for other people to click on profiles of people you play games with and through doing this they can join into private party’s without asking the host.  A group of other boys joined in and started wrecking the party; making rude comments about me and also trying to exclude me from the game we were playing. Another player interrupted them and asked them why they had come online to be abusive, but this did not stop them, they then started to make comments which was distressing to hear. I did attempt to report this but as the abuse was verbal it is really difficult to prove there has been any inappropriateness.”

We asked young people if they know how to report bullying on social platforms 69% said yes, but we’ve heard from CAMHS Youth Advisors sometimes blocking people on social media is not enough.

“After blocking the bullies online, at school some other students were then taking photos of me, without me knowing and sharing with other people on Snapchat. I was unable to stop it, so not too sure how long this went on for. I have also received through airdrop photos that had been taken not just of me, but of other people and they have not been aware the pictures have been taken. This was common in the school I attended. My anxiety and depression got so bad; I needed some professional help”

CAMHS Youth Advisors told us the easiest social platform to report is Instagram, but even after they have reported accounts, perpetrators sometimes find other ways to contact them.

“It started when I started making my transition and I changed my name. There was one boy who would not let me forget my previous name. He would continuously send me messages on Facebook messenger, it got to the point of harassment. It was a distressing time for me and impacted on my mental health.”

The majority of young people who told us they were being cyber-bullied said it then led bullying being continued at school.

“I was having a trial at my mainstream school and some of the girls were being nice to me, they somehow managed to find my Instagram account and started to follow me. This was a group of 4 girls and 1 boy. To start I thought they were being nice, so I followed them back, but as soon as I did, I started to receive nasty personal messages from them.  They talked about what I looked like physically and it was really upsetting as I did not know them very well other than through other people who had gone to school with them. I did block them on Instagram, but they continued in school and other people joined in, including students that were much older than me. The worse thing that happened was one of the girls attempted to push me in front of a car when I told them to leave me alone.”

Online bullying is having a serious effect on young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health. CAMHS Youth Advisors say online bullying MUST be dealt with correctly and quickly.

Check out below CAMHS Youth Advisors Quick Wins for bullying if it comes into schools!

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