Cyberbullying: How It Affects People With Autism

Autism Soccer - Soccer training for kids with special abilitiesAutismCyberbullying: How It Affects People With Autism

Cyberbullying is a form of harassment that accompanies traditional abuse and amplifies it. It is a type of virtual harassment through social networks and messaging apps. The virtual world has opened up possibilities for action in many ways and also in the case of bullying.

What is cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a form of harassment that is apparently silent and may seem more harmless than direct hits or insults, but it becomes real torture, as violence constantly stalks the victims.

The forms that cyberbullying can take are many:

  • Private messages to the victim through email and instant messaging apps or chat. These messages are loaded with insults and threats, so the victim cannot escape the situation.
  • Public messages on social networks or group chats, insulting and threatening the victim. In this case, the scope is greater and the damage can be very serious; on the one hand, by being written, they do more damage, as it can be read over and over again and has a greater scope. This increases shame, guilt, and discomfort.

According to an article in the specialized website WizCase: “People from all walks of life and all kinds of backgrounds fall victim to online bullying and cybercrime, but studies have shown that those with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more susceptible to online threats than others.”

Consequences of cyberbullying 

Children are affected by cyberbullying because:

  • It damages self-esteem.
  • It makes social interaction difficult.
  • Promotes insecurity.
  • It affects school performance.
  • Somatization. This can range from impaired appetite and sleep to difficulty concentrating.

When cyberbullying occurs at an early age, the child is greatly affected. Hence the importance of seeking professional help. A good psychologist will know how to help and provide you with the necessary tools so that you can solve the situation on your own.

What can we do to help?

  • Family support is essential. Therefore, it is important to encourage communication, expression of feelings, and mutual support at home. In this way, the child will feel that he or she has a supportive and understood family. It is also recommended to seek professional psychological support.
  • It is not enough just to provide support at home; it is necessary to create a strategy of teamwork with the staff of the school. Teachers and assistants have to be attentive to both the victim and the bully in order to gradually resolve the conflict in a healthy and assertive manner.

In short, the best strategy to apply will be an interdisciplinary approach. Harassment is a reality that should not be ignored or minimized at all. On the contrary, the sooner and the better it is dealt with, the fewer consequences there will be for all parties involved.

Cyberbullying is a tough topic to discuss, but it needs to be fully understood.

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