New technologies and social networks have given rise to new forms of violence. While these affect everyone, young people and adolescents are the most affected. Cyberviolence poses a real threat to the social, psychological, and emotional development of youth. 

The media has repeatedly addressed the issue, especially when cyberbullying and cyberviolence lead to devastating and irreversible consequences, going as far as suicide. However, the repercussions of these remote attacks are numerous and varied, and it is undeniable that young people (12-14 years old) suffer the most from them. 

Cyberbullying consists of repeatedly attacking a person online. This can take various forms: leaking photos or videos, insults, defamation, etc. Our modes of socialization are being disrupted by technology and social networks, with young people increasingly spending a lot of time building their digital personae. Time spent online makes them vulnerable to all forms of cyber-violence. Unlike standard bullying, in the case of cyberbullying, the aggressor is uninhibited, and the violence is multiplied tenfold: firstly, they cannot feel empathy for their victim, since distance prevents them from seeing their emotional reaction; secondly, the group effect and the anonymity of the networks provide the cyberbully with a power they do not possess in real life. The balance of power is turned on its head, and anyone can become a cyberbully, even if they don’t have a physical, social or intellectual advantage. Moreover, unlike regular bullying, cyberbullying has no spatial or temporal limits: it can take place anywhere, at any time, and is constant over time, since messages remain in full view of everyone at all times. Cyberbullying therefore rarely takes place in the private sphere (although the aggressor often belongs to the victim’s social circle), and this public nature of the humiliation and attack particularly affects young people. 

The implications of cyberbullying become more serious: anxiety, stress, depression, PTSD, sleep disorders, eating disorders, low self-esteem, shame, attention problems, absenteeism, psychological distress, academic failure, aggression, and isolation are just the first in a long list of repercussions, which can even lead to self-harm and suicide. 

Researchers, psychologists, and parents are joining forces to find answers to a phenomenon that continues to grow and affect more and more young people, with the consequences that we all know. There are toll-free numbers, associations, and websites to help teenagers express themselves and escape the vicious circle of cyberbullying. We need to think in terms of tools and technology and adapt our responses so that cyberbullying does not become a barrier to children’s healthy development.