Dhaka,  Thursday
25 April 2024

Cyberbullying, internet Addiction Risking Youth Lives

Ahsan Sakib Hasan, Lalmonirhat

Published: 12:39, 21 February 2024

Cyberbullying, internet Addiction Risking Youth Lives

Photo : Collected

Children and students are increasingly falling into the trap of mobile internet addiction, which poses significant risks to their physical and mental well-being. 

The addiction often leads them to neglect their studies as they become engrossed in various online activities, including gaming, social media, gambling, and pornography.

The pervasive nature of internet addiction has penetrated from urban centers to rural villages, with virtually everyone relying on the internet for their daily needs. However, what many fail to realize is that what starts as a harmless habit can quickly spiral into a full-blown addiction, resulting in detrimental effects on mental health worldwide.

Researchers have linked the rise in internet addiction among students to the poor quality of education, citing it as a primary reason for their disinterest in academic pursuits. This disengagement not only hampers their educational progress but also contributes to feelings of loneliness and depression. Ultimately, this phenomenon has a detrimental impact on the overall educational landscape.

Ataur Rahman (pseudonym), a 12th-grade student from Sadar Upazila of Lalmonirhat district, shared his harrowing experience of being targeted by an online fraudster. After accepting a friend request from an unknown Facebook account, Ataur engaged in video calls with the girl and later the girl took screenshot of Ataur in compromising positions which eventually led to the demand for a large sum of money under the threat of releasing the photographs to his friends and family.

When questioned about seeking legal assistance, Ataur expressed his fear of the matter becoming public and the potential consequences, including the extreme step of suicide. His reluctance to seek help reflects the pervasive impact of cyberbullying and blackmail on the mental well-being of victims.

The prevalence of such incidents has contributed to a concerning rise in suicides linked to depression, highlighting the urgent need for effective measures to address these issues. The detrimental effects of excessive internet usage on student's academic performance and their susceptibility to exploitation for financial gain have further compounded the challenges faced by young individuals in today's society.

Moreover, economic pressures have forced some parents to send their children to distant locations for employment, exacerbating the vulnerability of youth to online threats due to their physical separation from familial support systems.
The findings of the National Child Labor Survey 2022, conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), have revealed a concerning increase in the number of child laborers in the country. The survey indicates that the current number of children aged 5 to 14 years engaged in child labor has risen to 17 lakh 76 thousand, with 10 lakh 68 thousand involved in hazardous work and 7 lakh 7 thousand in unsafe labor. This upward trend underscores the urgent need for comprehensive measures to address and combat child labor practices in Bangladesh.

Furthermore, the impact of the digital age on the youth has been highlighted by a prominent psychology professor, who emphasized the lack of constructive opportunities for young individuals to engage in meaningful activities and spend time with their families. The absence of recreational facilities and playgrounds has led many young people to seek entertainment and connection through the Internet, potentially leading to addiction and detachment from the real world. This phenomenon has been identified as a significant contributor to the mental and physical challenges faced by the youth in contemporary society.

The proliferation of cyberbullying has emerged as a grave concern, with adolescents increasingly becoming victims of online harassment and exploitation. Cyberbullying, which encompasses various forms of digital abuse, can have detrimental effects on the mental well-being of young individuals, leading to heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. The anonymity and digital distance afforded by online platforms have emboldened perpetrators, making it imperative to adopt a multi-faceted approach involving education, awareness, strict policies, legal measures, and support systems to effectively combat this growing menace.