Using social networking sites (SNS) is said to be among the most popular activities of today’s young adults. Digital media technologies play a pivotal role in young people’s experiences of friendship and identity. Online peer communication can promote important peer processes such as a sense of belonging and self-disclosure. However, not all online behavior is positive, as there are considerable levels of reported cyberbullying among secondary school and university students. The immediate effects of bullying in any form including cyberbullying, ostracism, or exclusion can include the following: lower positive mood, higher negative mood, lower sense of belonging, lower self-esteem, and a reduced sense of meaningful existence. Longer-term behavioral consequences of ostracism include decreased self-regulation and increased aggression and retaliatory behavior. Disapproval from others can cue fears of social rejection and threaten our need to belong. Feeling like we are being punished for reasons unknown can lead to self-criticism and threatened self-esteem. Cyberbullying involvement has also been found to be related to depression.
The following should be considered when experiencing the above:
– There are potential benefits of interventions that promote positive social media inclusion to both wellbeing and behavior.
– There is help available if you or a loved-one is experiencing something similar to the above.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and/or bullying of any form, there is assistance and resources available to aid in the process of support and problem-solving, including professional counseling. Please call (215) 487-1330 or email us at Greenridge@intercommunityaction.org for more information about our counseling services and other resources.
Author: Elaine Augustine, MA, LPC
Smith, R., Morgan, J., & Monks, C. (2017). Students’ perceptions of the effect of social media ostracism on wellbeing. Computers in Human Behavior, 68, 276-285.