Social media is used in society as an outlet for expressing opinions, sharing and liking photos, events and/or social drama. Cyberbullying is this generation’s way of bullying. Kids are way too advanced with social networking and electronics. Bullying used to be so simple to where all you had to do was tell an adult, not any more. Networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were created as a way for people to connect with family members, friends, meeting new people and expressing themselves or their creativity. Americans use social media to do just about everything from shopping to projects and social events. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, the use of social media sites among young adults aging from 19-28 has jumped from 9% to 90% from February 2005 to September 2014.The social media landscape in which teens reside looks markedly different than it did as recently as three years ago. In the Center’s 2014-2015 survey of teen social media use, 71% of teens reported being Facebook users. No other platform was used by a clear majority of teens at the time: Around half (52%) of teens said they used Instagram, while 41% reported using Snapchat. In 2018, three online platforms other than Facebook – YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat – are used by sizable majorities of this age group. Meanwhile, 51% of teens now say they use Facebook. The rise of social media has created a pace for teens to communicate with each other in a positive and negative manner. There are many forms of cyberbullying. Forms of cyberbullying include stalking, harassing or impersonating someone else and much more. Social media has encouraged online users to engage in cyberbullying which is used to intentionally be cruel, mean, and hurtful to others.
One of the most common forms of bullying on Facebook is commenting on users’ self photos. It’s a vicarious circle, really, as teens who post photos are often looking for positive affirmation and end up getting the opposite. Teenagers are caught up in their virtual identities so any criticism or body shaping is very painful. Of course, cyberbullying is happening on Facebook, and despite the network’s recent decline in popularity among teens, millions still congregate there. It was said to have been reported that there are more than half of teenagers that are bullied in fact don’t report that they are victims of bullying out of fear of being called a snitch and being harassed or they simply ignore it. According to an article from the KIDSLIVESAFE website, “Nine in ten (93%) of teens have a computer or have access to one at home.” With access to a computer, kids and teens are able to easily log on to websites that put stress on them not only to conform to societal pressures, but also to their smaller scale school norms and peer pressure. The article also states 81% of teens “agree that bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person.” Sherri Gordon said that ” Cyberbullies believe they won’t get caught.The anonymity of the Internet gives kids a false sense of security. They believe if they post things anonymously that they won’t get caught. What’s more, kids who cyberbully do not necessarily see the reaction of the victim, which makes it extremely easy to say and do things they would not otherwise do. In fact, a significant number of kids who do not bully face-to-face will still engage in cyberbullying.” Cyberbullying has spread widely among youth reporting that that they have been victims according to a 2010 CBS News report.
Parents are not adequately addressing issues related to their children’s use of social media. As only 7% of U.S. parents worry about cyberbullying, it is crucial that parents become aware and talk to their children about this phenomenon. Parents need to understand the true harm it may cause their children, especially because almost 100% of adolescents have witnessed some form of cyberbullying, and/or been seriously affected by it. Oftentimes, children do not necessarily understand that they are being bullied and simply learn to take the harassment they experience while using social media. That means that your child could be a victim of bullying with the bully even harassing your child after the school bell has rung.As a mother and a victim of cyberbullying, I know how it feels and I would do anything I can to prevent my daughter from being bullied or becoming a bully. If I allowed my eight year old daughter to have social media, I need to know that she is safe when keeping in touch with her friends or our family. I believe that social media users should be free to use social networking without the fear or being stalked and harassed. Though social media was created for a different purpose with rule and regulations, people still find ways to misuse and abuse those rules and regulations. Children are so scared to admit that their being bullied until it is too late to find a compromising solution between your child and the bully. Social media is not safe for users these days, especially our children. Limit your social media uses and tighten up your parental controls. Parents should talk about cyberbullying. Explaining to your teen the consequences of cyberbullying can safe them from harsh penalties. If they your child is the victim of cyberbullying, encourage them to speak up and reassure them they have nothing to be ashamed about. Children from age five through fifteen should be monitored when using the internet at home or on their phones. Cyber bullying can be very damaging to adolescents and teens. It can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide. Also, once things are circulated on the Internet, they may never disappear, resurfacing at later times to renew the pain of cyber bullying.
People don’t go out and mingle the way they used to. Everything is not done through social media. It is not helping our society the way it should be. Even though social media is used for everything, it also promotes online bullying and causes unnecessary distractions and can have people making stupid mistakes that can ruin their lives forever. So using social media can increase the risks of more users to insult, bully, and threaten others without any fear of punishment. Despite the argument that social media is the cause of online bullying, is a big issue that is happening all across the world and can have very serious consequences. People can decide to take responsibility for themselves by not engaging in cyberbullying and by supporting cyberbullying victims.Like traditional bullying, this behavior is based on the imbalance of power between bullies and victims and may continue for a long time. Cyberbullying manifests itself in posting and sharing abusive comments, photos, and videos, writing intimidating e-mails and messages, spreading rumors, etc. (Völlink, Dehue, & Guckin, 2015).