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Cyberbullying Isn't Just a 'Teen Problem.' This Celebrity's Experience Proves It

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

“Fresh Off the Boat” star Constance Wu recently took to Twitter to open up about the serious toll cyberbullying took on her life — and her story matters. Wu recalled the pain she felt after tweeting her disappointment about “Fresh Off the Boat” receiving a sixth season in 2019 and shared the backlash she faced from complete strangers and fellow celebrities alike.

In a statement released the day after Wu tweeted about the TV show’s renewal, she explained she was upset because the renewal meant she “had to give up another project” she was passionate about. That didn’t stop the internet hate, though, so Wu ultimately left social media for three years.

Constance Wu is now back on Twitter, and her most recent tweet was raw and revealing, explaining just how deeply internet cyberbullying affected her mental health. Wu shared that she attempted suicide after a fellow Asian actress told her she’d become “a blight on the Asian American community.”

“I started feeling like I didn’t deserve to live anymore,” Wu admitted. She then expressed gratitude that a friend found her after her suicide attempt and rushed her to the emergency room.

Sadly, Constance Wu’s story of adult cyberbullying is all too common. Although we may associate cyberbullying with teenagers, a study published in 2019 showed that 40 percent of young adults have been cyberbullied, and cyberbullying has also affected plenty of older adults too. Celebrities are among the most-targeted adult cyberbullying victims, but with the popularity of social media platforms and the anonymity and access they provide, cyberbullying can affect adults of all backgrounds.

For over a decade, the media has published a myriad of stories about how the internet can be a dangerous place for teens but has largely ignored the reality — many adults are cyberbullied, and the bullying can significantly affect their mental health. Adult cyberbullying has been linked to anxiety, depression, and substance use, but the long-term impacts of adults facing hatred through social media and messaging apps has yet to be fully revealed. Studies have also determined that cyberbullied adults under 25 years old are twice as likely to self-harm or attempt suicide than those who have not been bullied online. However, as Constance Wu has shown in discussing her three-year-long mental health journey on Twitter, the mental health effects of cyberbullying don’t just disappear — so we need more research about mental health recovery in older adults who have faced online bullying.

It’s painfully clear that teenagers aren’t the only ones being cyberbullied — even though they’re often the focus of cyberbullying studies. If you’ve been subjected to nasty comments about your appearance on social media or have been mocked in a group chat as an adult, your experiences are valid, and they deserve to be heard and respected. We’re proud of Constance Wu for sharing how deeply adult cyberbullying has affected her mental health. Her story is an important reminder that cyberbullying isn’t just a “teenager problem,” and it needs more attention.

Image via E News’ YouTube

Originally published: July 19, 2022
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