Cyberbullies: Not Just a Problem for Children

Oct 29, 2015

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A lot of focus has been put on children and teenagers being cyberbullied. We often view children as being the most at risk to being cyberbullied online. While protecting children from cyberbullying is important, adults can also be victims of cyberbullying.

According to research done by PEW Research, about 65% of adults are actively engaged in social media. Many adults will check social media every day and communicate with friends and family. The research also found that about two-thirds of adults that are engaged in social media reported witnessing online abuse among adults.

One common form of online abuse among adults is sexual harassment. Many adults will either be recipients of unwanted explicit photos or will be pressured to send explicit photos of themselves. About one-tenth of adults have received an unwanted explicit photo of someone else. 18-24 year-old young adults were the most likely to be sexually harassed online, with up to 20% of young adults receiving or being asked to send explicit photos.

Adults that are cyberbullied online say that they have just as hard a time dealing with cyberbullying as children and teenagers do. Over half of women and one-third of men report being upset by harassment they have received online. Many of them have stopped using a website or had to turn off a device in order to escape from the cyberbullying.

Adults can protect themselves from cyberbullying while also protecting their children. Adults should reconsider using offensive language, racial slurs, and other humiliating language on websites, since these were the most common forms of cyberbullying done by adults. Adults should also remember the consequences of anything that they post or say online. It is possible that something they post could lead them to get fired from work or be charged criminally.

Adults that are being cyberbullied can seek help. Many adults may be embarrassed that they are being cyberbullied, thinking that it’s a thing only children have to deal with. However, reaching out to a trusted friend or seeking professional help can help many adults cope with cyberbullies.