Cyber bullying, also known as Web bullying or online bullying, is a potential cause of suicide, particularly in teenagers. Cyber bullying and suicide have increased due to the ease of connecting via social networks and cell phones, through text messaging, often because these communications take place under the radar of parents or educators. The connection between cyber bullying and suicide is an important one that must be acknowledged and understood by all of those involved, in order to prevent the tragedy of suicides among children and teenagers. Children and teens who are bullied, either online or in person, are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts.
The connection between cyber bullying and suicide occurs, in part, because online harassment takes many different forms. In many ways it is not much different than bullying in person, characterized by teasing, name calling, threats, harassment, sending explicit pictures through text messages, which is also known as "sexting," and various types of social cruelty towards others. In some cases the bullying may take place entirely online, without any physical interaction during the day at school or anywhere else. In other cases, the bullying may begin in "real life" situations and then continue online; there is no real way to predict this type of behavior, but it can all be extremely dangerous and increase the risks of suicide.
The fact that cyber bulling typically does not take place on school grounds makes it more difficult to prevent the behavior, as well as enact reprimands or punishments for it. This is another reason that cyber bullying and suicide are closely linked, because it can be difficult or impossible to stop the cyber bullying once it begins. It is up to parents to monitor the types of interactions occurring over the computer, or over text messaging, and to directly contact the school in order to discuss the problem. It will be necessary to be persistent, since it is unlikely that the problem will be resolved easily or quickly; it is important to keep records of the various instances of cyber bullying that have occurred.
It may be necessary to remove children from school, if the problem becomes too severe, in order to prevent cyber bullying and suicide. Sometimes starting over in a new location is needed, while other times simply ceasing to participate in social networking and changing email addresses may be enough. It is important to monitor kids for signs that they are being bullied; this may include mood changes, irritability, lowered grades in school, a fear of going to school, or withdrawal from friends and activities that were once enjoyed, among others.