Cyberbullying is a prevalent issue, especially for Black youth, as more children delve into the world of mainstream social media. While these platforms offer benefits such as faster communication methods and access to education, many are realizing the several risk factors impacting children who use social media.
Black adolescents, specifically from the US, are experiencing racial discrimination online as found in a new 2024 study. The study, which observed 525 Black children between the ages of 11 and 19, found that children who experienced racial discrimination through messaging or memes also reported numerous PTSD symptoms.
In response to online racism, Black youth reported experiencing isolation, intrusive thoughts, and uncontrollable distress. More in-depth analyses have discovered that middle-class Black teenagers are more likely to be victims compared to their White middle-class peers, as anti-Black racial discrimination is frequently present in hate posts that plague many social media websites.
Between 2007 and 2020 Suicide rates in Black children from ages 10 to 17 increased by 144 per cent. The study also found that Black children experience hypervigilance, which is a state of high alert when facing difficult encounters due to previous experiences with cyberbullying incidents.
Creating safe spaces for Black teens online is critical in combating online racial discrimination and the risk of suicide among Black youth. According to the study mentioned above, platforms should “create safer spaces for Black adolescents by proactively monitoring and reducing hate speech.”
Staff Writer (Volume 50) — Vanessa is a fourth-year student double majoring in Psychology and English with a minor in Education. When she’s not working or studying, she enjoys picking up a good novel and escaping into the world of reading or playing some of her favourite songs on her record player. She also loves writing. You can often find her journaling throughout her day.