Stress, cyberbullying of students: the dark side of the digital era

One out of every three students is a victim of cyberbullying in Vietnam, according to a study by Tran Van Cong from the University of Education, a member school of the Hanoi National University, and his co-workers.

The survey interviewed 864 secondary and high school students in Hanoi, Nghe An and Thanh Hoa, and found that 32.5 percent of students had experienced cyberbullying at least once.

The average age of the surveyed students was 13.67, with boys accounting for 53.3 percent and girls 46.7 percent.

Cyberbullying includes threatening other students on online forums; slandering friends with fake photos posted on internet; stealing personal information from computers, photos, messages or Facebook; sending threatening comments via email or text messages; and mocking members of groups on forums.

Cong found that regularly victimized students face high problems. They tend to be shy about meeting friends and teachers. The students whose photos are made public refuse to meet and communicate with anyone, and don’t have the heart and mind to study. They always live in fear, and many of them commit suicide.

Tran Thanh Nam, a psychologist from Hanoi National University, said in many cases, cyberbullying causes more serious consequences than traditional bullying.

Nam related a heartrending story. Because one girl regularly received spiteful comments about her appearance, she began thinking of killing herself. At first, she decided to go on diet. Later, she stuck her fingers down her throat after eating. She also cut her hands. Luckily, the behaviors were discovered by her mother who took her to hospital for treatment.

Two years ago, an eighth grader in the province of Khanh Hoa posted that he would burn the school if he received 1,000 likes. He was successful, and friends and relatives urged him to fulfill his promise immediately.

Under pressure from netizens, he had to buy petrol to burn the school. Luckily, his action was discovered and prevented by the school’s security guards. However, the student was burned and suffered shock.

Huynh Van Son from the HCM City University of Education and his co-workers said they were alarmed about the behavior and psychological health of some students.

They reported that three fifths of secondary school students neglected caring for themselves, two fifths had pessimistic thoughts about life, and one third had once hurt themselves.

Son’s research team found that most of the students who injured themselves make excellent or good marks in school.

According to a report on Vietnamnet

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