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May 26, 2021
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Sophia Clark

Teen Anxiety: Cyberbullying, Sextortion, and Pornography

According to a national survey by the National Institute of Mental Health, one in three of all teenagers between the ages of 13 to 18 have experienced anxiety or other forms of anxiety disorder. The study also revealed that this number has been steadily rising and rose up to 20% from 2007 to 2012.

This national survey also revealed that the hospital admission for suicidal attendance or suicide committed by teenagers has doubled over the past decade. The increase in the number of mental health issues in teenagers has been attributed mainly to the rise in usage of social media platforms.

Social media and the usage of cell phones have exposed children to many threats. Teen anxiety has been correlated to the rise in the usage of cell phones.

It might be a scary prospect for parents of teenagers to tackle problems relating to the use of cell phones and social networking sites. You might find it difficult to understand some of these issues and ways of which to provide a safe and secure space for your children.

Here I have prepared a guide for some issues that may be causing anxiety disorders due to cyberbullying, sextortion, and pornography.

Teen Anxiety and Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying which happens through digital devices such as cell phones, laptops, desktops, etc. It is an aggressive act of violence with the intention to harm others and is repetitive in nature. One of the reasons for the increase in anxiety among teenagers is due to cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying can also take place through social media platforms, online forums, gaming platforms, or video games. It can include sending texts or also cell phone calls to threaten or harm someone. Cyberbullying includes harming others through social media posts, sharing negative common, trolling, spreading rumors, or spreading someone's private or personal information.

While traditional bullying was done in person, cyberbullying can be performed through various digital mediums and can take virtually. Teens are getting bullied on social media more often. It may range from pranking for trolling someone to pretending to be someone else and sharing their information. It can also include posting mean comments or spreading hateful messages.

Bullying and cyberbullying are done often on people who are vulnerable. This includes children and teenagers. Cyberbullying is seen in people who are different in appearance, race, religion, sexuality, and disability.

Even though many people are frequently trying to combat cyberbullying on social media platforms, it has become inevitable on most sites. It is unfortunate and even disheartening that teenagers have to suffer from cyberbullying. Teenagers often deal with self-image issues and getting bullied on these topics may cause a lasting impact on their mental health and emotional well-being.

According to research performed in 2017, it was revealed that cyberbullying most occurs in social media platforms Instagram followed closely by Facebook and Snapchat. From the research, it was found that more than 42% of Instagram users are facing bullying problems and on Facebook, more than 37% of users are being bullied.

The national survey also revealed that cyberbullying can have serious impacts on a person's self-esteem and causing them anxiety and depression. The research center confirmed that 41% of teenagers who are cyberbullied develop social anxiety whereas 37% of teenagers develop depressive symptoms. The study also revealed that 26% of teenagers had suicidal thoughts because of cyberbullying and 14% of them developed eating disorders.

This statistic shows how cyberbullying can have a serious impact on the mental health of teenagers causing them to have a lasting impact throughout their life.

Teen Anxiety and Sextortion

Sextortion refers to a form of extortion done to receive sexual favors or money against victims. It is a form of sexual exploitation and coercion. It can also be demanding money from someone by threatening them of releasing their sexually explicit images. This is also called web blackmail.

95% of the victims of web blackmail are young men or boys and 71% of the cases involve someone under the age of 18. Victims of sextortion are often contacted by a cybercriminal who poses as a young attractive female and requests to send nude photos to them. It can also involve teen sexting. These cybercriminals then threaten young teenagers to pay them a certain amount of money in exchange for not releasing their sexual images online.

Another form of sextortion includes teenagers even adults blackmailing someone after receiving them through teen sexting. They may blackmail teenagers to derive sexual favors or for gaining money. The majority of these cases of sextortion are conducted through social media platforms. 91% of cases of sextortion were carried out through social media manipulation that involved minor victims.

This also includes an email that is sent with a sexual appeal from places such as sexual webcam interactions. When the email is opened, the malware is downloaded on the device of the victim of sextortion. They request sexually explicit images of the victim and then use them to collect the ransom. It is also known as ransomware.

Sextortion can have a senior effect on the mental health of teenagers. It can cause various long-term as well as short-term mental health issues. Teenagers may suffer from anxiety, social anxiety, depressive symptoms, suicidal thoughts, and even self-harm.

The national survey revealed that only one in three of the victims of sextortion reveal the problems that they are facing and report them to the authority. It also said that 25% of the victims of sextortion have to visit mental health professionals due to the lasting impact caused by this crime. Parents can help teens by talking about ways to deal with online predators.

Victims of sextortion of fun also suffer from sexual abuse or harassment. They are blackmailed to gain sexual favor by the attacker. Sexual abuse and harassment can also cause severe mental trauma and traumatic disorder in people. They are also more prone to self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

Teen Anxiety and Pornography

Pornography addiction is a rising problem in teenagers. They are easily accessible to teenagers due to the rise of the internet and the use of cell phones.

Teenagers are extremely susceptible to having an addiction to watching pornography. Statistics revealed that 87% of male teenagers from ages 13 to 18 regularly visit pornographic sites. The percentage stands at 31% for female teenagers.

It is natural for teenagers to be keen on pornographic materials but they can escalate if parents do not talk to their children about such behaviors. Pornography addiction can cause serious mental, physiological and social disorders in teenagers in the short and long term. Since teenagers do not have a proper understanding of the subjects it can also cause damage to their self-esteem and body image issues.

Watching pornography can release dopamine hormones in the brains of teenagers. Dopamine stimulates the pleasure sensation and this makes watching pornography addictive for teenagers.

The study also revealed that the age of 15 can react more strongly to dopamine. They are more sensitive to dopamine and it can affect them four times more strongly than affecting an adult. Since their hormones and body are still developing, they are more sensitive to sexual images. They perceive such sexual behavior to be exciting and exhilarating. This is why teenagers are more likely to be addicted to pornography.

Pornography addiction can a serious problem for teenagers. It can have serious mental health questions repercussions. Exposure to sexual content and its addiction can cause concentration problems in teenagers. It can also lead to social anxiety and depression. It can also cause dissatisfaction in performing sexual activities in the long term. If your kid is addicted you should think about blocking porn on your child's devices.

Revenge porn refers to the distribution of sexual images or sexually explicit videos of another individual without consent. These videos or images are either leaked online or on social media sites to humiliate the victim.

27% of both boys and girls have reported sending sexually explicit images and videos of themselves. The common term for this is called teen sexting. These images or videos are sent through texts or messaging platforms.

Revenge porn can also cause serious traumatic effects in the lives of teenagers. They suffer from serious trauma and social anxiety. They are likely of self-harm and suicidal thoughts and actions. This causes serious damage to the self-confidence and self-esteem of teenagers. Both revenge porn and pornography addiction can cause mental health in teenagers.

Warning Signs of Anxiety And Depression

Teen anxiety and depression include a wide range of warning signs and symptoms. While they might not show all of these below-listed symptoms, it is necessary to understand and pick up on significant changes in their behavior.

Anxiety and depressive symptoms can be different in every teen and may affect their emotions and behaviors. Some of which are listed below:

Emotional Change

● Feeling of hopelessness

● Crying without any clear reason

● Frustration or anger without any reason

● Irritable

● Loss of interest in their hobbies

● Loss of self-esteem

● Feeling low

● Annoyed by almost everything

● Feeling of guilt

● Growing in amounts of conflict

● Self-blame

● Extreme criticism of themselves

● Fixation on their failures

● Suicidal thoughts

● Sensitive or touchy on some subjects

● Loss in the ability to concentrate

Behavioral changes

● Not sleeping or sleeping too much

● Lethargic

● Always feeling sleepy

● Social withdrawal

● Social anxiety

● Restlessness

● A decline in performance at school

● Frequent outbursts

● Unexplained headache or stomach ache

● Self-harm

● Food aversions or eating too much

● Extreme weight loss or weight gain

● Extreme changes in appearance

● Joking about suicide

● Talking about death

● Suicidal attempts

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Sophia Clark

Sophia Clark is a writer from Sydney, kid-lit enthusiast, and mom of three kids who loves to writes about motherhood, parenting, and big feelings.