Cyberbullying is a serious issue that affects millions of people every year. However, if you’re an LGBT youth, the problem may be even worse for you. There are many reasons why this may be true: Maybe you’ve had to hide your sexuality from friends and family members for years or maybe your community has been particularly unwelcoming toward gay kids (or trans kids) in general. Whatever the reason, being an LGBT teen who is also a victim of cyberbullying can be especially difficult because it feels like there’s nowhere you can turn without judgmental eyes watching over everything you do online (or off).
When you think about cyberbullying, what comes to mind? Do you think of people in your school gathering around their phones during lunchtime, laughing at a video they’ve just watched? Or perhaps the person who sits next to you in class texting with friends (including the one sitting next to them).
Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that uses electronic technology to target a person or group. Cyberbullying can take many forms, including sending mean text messages or emails, posting embarrassing photos online, or creating nasty blogs about someone. If you have been the victim of cyberbullying, it is important to know that you are not alone and there are things you can do to help yourself feel better.
If you’re wondering what constitutes “cyberbullying” in the first place: It means using any kind of electronic device such as computers/phones/tablets (or even gaming systems) for harassment on purpose. The harassment can be directed toward an individual person or a group of people who share something in common like race/ethnicity/gender identity/sexual orientation etc. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that happens online. Cyberbullying can be hard to identify because it can happen at any time and anywhere, and to anyone.
It’s no secret that LGBT youth are at a higher risk of bullying. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) released a study in 2018 which showed that 70% of LGBT+ students report being harassed at school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. More than 1 in 3 (36%) had been physically assaulted, and over half (53%) felt unsafe in their schools as a result.
The consequences are dire: research shows that this kind of violence can lead to depression and other health issues, including thoughts about suicide. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24 overall—and for those who identify as LGBQ+, it’s even more common than homicide.*
Cyberbullying also carries serious risks for young people who are bullied online; some studies suggest it may cause even greater effects on mental health than traditional bullying does. And with social media usage rising among young kids every year—they spend an average of six hours using devices like smartphones each day—cyberbullying is poised to increase as well.*
Who are the most vulnerable to LGBT attacks?
As outlined above, LGBT youth are more likely to be bullied than their straight peers. And while most of the bullying takes place in person rather than online, cyberbullying is still a significant problem for them. In fact, studies show that LGBT youth are two to seven times more likely to be harassed or attacked online compared with straight teens.
In addition to this greater likelihood of being attacked, the people most likely to be bullied by other LGBT youth are those who do not conform or conform only partially—or those whose sexual orientation is unknown or unconfirmed (e.g., an individual may claim heterosexuality but have romantic feelings toward someone of their own gender). This can lead young people who aren’t “out” about their sexuality or gender identity—and adults who keep these aspects private—into situations where they face additional harassment from others within their community.
- Blocking people on social media is very much possible. You have better things to do than deal with cyberbullies. You can simply block the people troubling you (if you wish) and get on with your life. Here is a guide that shows how to filter, block or report harmful content on social media. The rules keep changing in social sites so the best place is actually that particular site to check this feature on that site.
- If you have people working for you then here is a guide on how to make your workplace LGBT friendly.
- If you’re looking to move into a gay-friendly place then this guide talks about 20 gayest destinations in USA ffg and this guide covers the most LGBT friendly cities in USA
- It’s also worth checking out this guide on the best resources for sexual health
- Being an LGBT youth can be tough when you feel targeted by cyberbullies. It’s important to have support from friends, family members or even online.
- You can get help from a counsellor or a helpline if your situation seems too difficult to deal with.
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