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Social Media Taken Too Far?

skoltun Blog Posts, HBHE 680 21 Comments

image by: DeclanTM via flickr

Today more than ever, people of all age groups are extremely reliant on the internet. Whether they use electronic media to exchange information for work, search online journals to write papers, or to keep in contact with friends and family, the internet is one asset that many people feel they cannot live without. As I was trying to determine how I could relate youth violence back to my own life, I thought of how the internet, a form of technology I am extremely dependent on, can be used in harmful ways. Cyberbullying, the form of aggression of the new generation, has recently gained a great deal of publicity and attention due to its complexity. What differentiates this form of bullying from typical, in-person bullying is it’s ability to dehumanize the victims since no aggression is done face to face. In a way, it is a form of bullying that never ends since it continues after children return home from school.

Specifically, two recent news reports have been published that outline the dire consequences of online harassment and embarrassment. The first article published in the Washington Post reported that 9 out of 10 teenagers have been bullied on social networking sites such as Facebook. As an avid Facebook user, this statistic is greatly distressing to hear. Social networking sites were created for people to keep in touch with old friends and learn about people’s lives; not for embarrassment and harassment.  The article addresses one potential reason behind the frequency in internet bullying. People are able to take on an “alter-ego” that receives less consequences than is at risk when people are faced with in-person confrontation. Although sites like Facebook have strategies for people to protect their privacy such as blocking users and pictures, students seem to find a way around it and continue the harassment and embarrassment.

The second article takes the issue of cyberbullying a step further and links cyberbullying and social media to a recent teen’s suicide. According to the website, a 16 year-old girl committed suicide after constant vicious posts on her social media website. Comments included “you’re worthless” and “go kill yourself.” This article shocked me to realize that such routine activities such as going on the internet and visiting social networking sites, activities that I do countless times each day, could end it hurtful, life-threatening acts. These articles really made me wonder what steps need to be taken to alter youth’s perception of right and wrong. It is clear that for a majority of adolescents, bullying is no longer a school-based problem.


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Comments 21

  1. Cyberbullying and the impact of social media is definitely an important topic! I recently heard about a girl who created a Twitter account in high school and used it to do spread “Gossip Girl” type of information. The girl was suspended, but the account had been public. How do we go about controlling this type of thing, especially when parents are not necessarily in control of their child’s computer access and use and often people have secure privacy settings?

  2. You bring up an issue that is definitely a concern, and a good point that it allows people to create an “alter ego” or a sort of electronic facade to hind behind. As such, more people may become electronic bullies that would otherwise never have been bullies in the real world because they can hide behind the anonymity the internet provides. Social media also allows for hurtful messages or insults targeted at a person to be disseminated more quickly and more widely than ever before to his or her peers.

  3. Cyberbullying is a very interesting topic. Like you mentioned, it never occurred to me that Facebook or Twitter could be used to attack someone and potentially threaten their life. We use social media for what it was developed for but because the younger generation has grown up with it, they’ve had a chance to figure out how to use it in other ways. This poses an implication for intervention because there is a disconnect between those of us who are trying to put an end to it and the youth who are taking part in it.

  4. This topic of the Internet and cyberbullying is very interesting because technology has really changed the way adolescents interact, as they are constantly connected to each other through cell phones and computers. It has also evolved the way some adolescents bully their peers because as you mentioned, a lack of face-to-face interaction dehumanizes the victim and reduces the cyber bully’s sense of accountability for his or her actions, but I wouldn’t say that bullying is no longer a school-based problem; it just transcends the school environment. Cyberbullying prevention programs should still be conducted through the schools because that will reach the majority of the adolescents. A study done by Smith et al (2008) showed that in 57% of cyberbullying cases, the victim knows that the perpetrator is from their school so even if they are harassed outside the school, the problems come back to school with the child the next day. Also, many traditional bullying victims become cyberbullying perpetrators so it is important that interventions and prevention programs involve the school.

  5. I’m not a big user of all the different social media websites; all I really use is Facebook. So I don’t understand how cyberbully has become such a big problem. On Facebook you can easily block people whose posts you don’t want to see or who you don’t want to see your posts. And you shouldn’t be friends with someone on Facebook so they can post on your wall if they’re posting hurtfull messages. It seems like cyberbullying should be less of a problem bucause ignoring someone on the internet is as easy as turning off a computer. If bullying has been a continuous problem from one person to another then the victim shouldn’t be reading what they have to say anyways since they know that it’s only going to be hurtful. From someone who has never been seriously cyberbullied, it probably sounds more simple than it really is.

  6. Cyber bullying is such a new concept it has taken some time for people to wrap their heads around. The fact that an individual may be bullied at school is sad enough but to come home and re-live it all over again on the internet is completely unnecessary. The recent inflation of social networking sites being used by the younger population is beginning to cause more harm than good. People think they can hide behind a computer screen and say things they would not dare say in person which leads to hurt feelings and depression, if not worse. Adolescents are especially vulnerable as they are already going through changes in their lives. Teenagers may pick out certain aspects they do not like about themselves but to have those insecurities broadcasted on the internet cut way deeper when somebody else notices them.

    It is ridiculous to see social media bullying be taken to such extremes that young children have taken their own lives because of things said about them on the internet. Adolescents tend to channel the pain from their own insecurities and taking it out on their peers by putting them down as a way to make them feel better about themselves.

  7. Social media has many advantages and disadvantages. One clear advantage is that communication is much more easier to achieve within family and friends. Most disadvantages arrive from the wrong uses that it has on the youth population. More than ever cyber bullying has presented youth with messages that can threaten their self esteem or even life. Cyberbullying has created a big statement on social sites and seems to impact every aspect of an individual. I think that youths should have the proper supervison when it comes to using social media. Eventhough monitoring is hard with all the current technology, parents should talk to their children about the uses of the internet.

  8. Unfortunately, cyber bullying has become a big part of many junior high and high school teenagers life because internet is available to anyone at anytime of the day. People have become so reliant on the internet and have spent many hours on it that there have been many beneficial and crucial things added to it day by day. Like this says, cyber bullying is one of the negative aspects that the internet carries within it because say a person is being bullied at school, having the minimal relief of being home and getting away from it will not be enough. And why? Well because as soon as he logs on to his Facebook, or any other social media website, his bully probably would have already demeaned him in a way that everybody else will know a piece of his mind toward this person. Unfortunately this type of negative fame on the internet can cause a person to break down and take their own life’s. This has become an ongoing problem in the recent months because children are taking their own life’s. Sadly, if parents don’t put a stop to this and monitor their children’s behaviors online, then who will? When will the cries for help stop? Will it be until there is a constant rush of children killing themselves over the same thing?

  9. I believe that as long as there is internet and social media, there will always be cyber bullying. It’s a very unfortunate issue and it should be under control to the best of one’s ability, whether a parent monitors their child’s internet or a teacher at school witnesses such horrible acts. Now more than ever, most social media sites include privacy options such as blocking pictures or hiding others. Although this is a useful tool for most users, it is still not efficient enough to get away from the bullying. Parents and teachers should become involved as much as possible in helping youth from being bullied, whether it be on social media or social gatherings. Monitoring a child’s internet browsing and or social media, and the peers they hang out with is the best way to prevent bullying.

  10. As far is cyberbullying goes, it is inevitable. There are always going to be way that people are going to have access to become bullies over the internet. The only way to stop cyberbullying is to discontinue access to the internet, which is impossible. Yes, cyberbullying is wrong, and it is becoming more and more common because it allows for anyone to become a bully because they can do it behind a screen, which makes them feel protected. The best we can do is teach the harmful effects of cyberbullying and what it can do to todays youth. In my opinion this would be the most effective way to slow down or even stop cyberbullying, unless someone somehow destroys the internet. Highly unlikely.

  11. One of the major reasons of cyber bullying is the fact that it can be with words and there is no face to face confrontation. Anyone can be anyone in the social media, there have many times where people would make fake profiles and use it to bully others and make themselves feel better. Cyber bullying can stop if parents kept a close eye on what their children are doing online. Having a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, are not bad things every child should be exposed to social media and interact with people, but as parents they can check it atleast once a month to see if anything bad is going on and could easily put a stop to it. With many of these sites it can be turned to private and just add the people they want to add, people can be deleted, and people can even be reported as well as their pictures and commentary. Cyber bullying has to do with parents not being socially aware and up to date to their children’s social media activities.

  12. In my experience, bullies have never been anything, but cowards with low self-esteem. They are always on the manhunt to look for someone or something to make tehm feel powerful. The evolution of social media has given bullying a more advanced ultimatum. Bullies are now out there 24/7. They can make a nice, innocent, gifted peson feel worthless and beneath them in the comfort of their own home, which proves their cowardice even more. It makes me sad and sick to my stomach hearing on the newsabout how a beautiful, sweet, young girl committed suicide because she was picked on and humiliated by a jealous coward over Facebook. In my opinion, we not only need to help the victim, we need to help the bully too, because they are suffering inside as well, whether they’ll admit to it or not. They only bully others to alleviate them from their personal problems.

  13. I agree with what the previous comments have said about bullies they are “cowards.” The Internet is just another tool they have to continue the harassment and insults to that innocent victim. Also not only the local kids knows but is exposed all over the nation with the advancement of technology. This issue with cyber bulling is like a whole war inside our own country. But parents are also to blame to some extent because they the one buying those gadgets. Keeping a close eye in your kid while they are in the web of those common social media blogs should reduce the risk of them becoming a victim. Most important parents should have that trust with their child so if such thing happen they would feel free talking about it.

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  15. Here is my take, ive had family members post embarrassing pictures of me as a kid and think its funny, what it creates is a barrage of insults and jokes lasting a week. People think its ok To post inside jokes but dont realize how many people see that and Blow it out of proportion