The Internet is a defining factor of today’s day and age. The widespread use of social media has brought to light a number of flaws in the realm, including a lack of emotional attachment, inauthenticity, laziness, and cyberbullying. Whether it’s the use of computers, laptops or smartphones for work, playing games or connecting with people online, internet-enabled electronic gadgets occupy an integral and central part in the lives of many people – particularly, the young adults and adolescents. People can use social media to develop, share, and exchange information, ideas, career preferences, and other forms of expression or content through virtual communities and networks. The key goals of social media websites and applications are communication, community-based input, interaction, content sharing, and collaboration. Some of the major merits of using and being on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook include connectivity, education, awareness, marketing and building communities. Content creators and influencers have benefitted immensely and is a growing career option for many individuals. Despite all of the benefits that the internet has brought to people from all walks of life, there are still those who use it for malicious purposes. Owing to the nationwide lockdowns that induced social isolation, the COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably resulted in an increase in the use of digital technology. Everyone has had to adapt to modern ways of working and living – the new standard – all over the world.
Just as usual bullying has existed for several years, cyberbullying has also existed since the start and excessive usage of the internet. Now, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased use of social media, cyberbullying has become a rather common but concerning phenomenon. It is willful, consistent and unlawful.
There has been a lot of research on the same but hardly any on the specific role of emotional intelligence on cyberbullying victimization, suicidal ideation and self esteem. I examined the role of emotional intelligence (EI) on Cyberbullying Victimization (CV) and Psychological Maladjustment (operationalized as high suicidal ideation – SI and low self-esteem – SE) in 230 Indian adolescents of 18-22 years of age. The sample was recruited from all over the country and these individuals are college going students. It also investigated whether there is a difference in levels of EI, CV, SE and SI for males and females. The tools used for this study were – Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale, Wong and Law Emotional Intelligence Scale, Suicidal Behaviour Questionnaire – Revised and the Cyberbullying Victimization Scale. It was found
after statistical testing that Emotional Intelligence impacts Self Esteem only. There was a difference in the Emotional Intelligence and Self Esteem of males and females. Males had higher Self Esteem whereas females had higher Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence was also seen to have a buffering effect on how cyberbullying could affect psychological maladaptations in young adults.
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