Is Social Media Helping Bullying to Get Worse Than Ever?
We can find many types of aggression in the society in which we live in. Bullying is one. Not only exists physical bullying but also emotional, verbal and even cyber-bullying. According to the website www.stopbullying.org, “Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance”1. Nowadays, many people do not know that social media exposes children to these aggressions. Bullying does not only happen in real world. It can also arise in the virtual world where many children and adolescents spend a lot of time. Although it was not known by this name, bullying is not a new phenomenon. Today, Social networks are helping to its expansion. Although social media is blameless, through it bullying can reach everyone. The use of social networks ricochets and magnifies bullying because, as the website “Stop Bullying” argues, cyberbullied children have a harder time getting away from the aggressors. Likewise, this type of aggression “can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reach children even when they are alone”2. As said before, the problem is the inappropriate use of social media. While social networks can be used for positive activities, such as finding friends and chatting with them, looking for and sharing information, many children and adolescents use them to harm others. Numerous people think that social networks are harmless for children only chat with their friends and share information. However, this is false. Through social media, they are really exposed to cruelty and they can easily become cyberbullies themselves. A research done by “internetsafety101.org” pointed out that in 2011, one million children were harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying via Facebook3. Social media exposes many children and adolescents to cyberbullying, even after school hours. Cyberbullying can “take place using electronic technology such as computers, cell phones, communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat and websites”4. According to the article quoted before, Stop Bullying, “examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles”5. Children and adolescents are very cruel and see humiliation as a means of entertainment. Differently from physical bullying, cyberbullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and can reach a massive audience almost immediately. Thus, social networks are advantageous for bullies. Due to anonymity, they can be hurtful without being caught and even crueler than in face-to-face situations. As the website www.dosometing.org claims, “81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person”6. According to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), “victims of cyberbullying may experience many of the same effects as children who are bullied in person”. However, cyberbullying may seem more dangerous to its victims on account of several aspects7. NCPC argues that through cyberbullying, children are a target for bullies at home, the safest place for them. Besides, this type of bullying seems to be severer than in person, being far reaching, anonymous and inescapable. All these factors make cyberbullying an increasingly complicated issue that needs greater attention. So, does social media make bullying go far beyond the limits? The answer is: YES! Social networks are a huge and complex world that need guidance and considerable concern from adults. This virtual new world exposes children and adolescents to malice, without people’s awareness of the dangers of that exposure.
Enough is Enough SM. “Cyberbullying Statistics”. Internetsafety101.org. 12 June 2014....
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