Cyberbullying is a concept that I have been exposed to ever since I was allowed to use the internet. In elementary school, I remember sitting in class listening to my teacher talk about the “do’s and don’ts” on the internet. The biggest don’t I remember receiving was bullying my peers online. It was burnt into my brain that it is wrong to say something on the internet that would hurt somebody else’s feelings. After a while, it all just seemed like common sense; don’t say anything online that would hurt somebody else’s feelings. While this all seems like common knowledge, cyberbullying continues to happen every single day, and it’s only getting worse.
Cyberbullying can occur in numerous locations. Just as it can happen in a more private setting, like over text message, it can happen on public social media sites. The article, “Cyberbullying-What Social Networks Are the Worst?” broke down where cyberbullying is most likely to happen, and most importantly, why. I was shocked to see Facebook on the list of the top five social media sites where cyberbullying occurs. I always thought of Facebook as a place where people kept others updated on their lives and stayed in touch with people from all over the world. However, different social media sites lead to different forms of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying comes in many different forms and is dependent on the social media platform and the audience.
One of the most common forms of cyberbullying on sites such as Facebook and Instagram is comments. Many people, usually teenage girls, comment negative responses to peoples profile pictures or selfies. A common trend for teenagers, more so for young teens, is adding hashtags, such as “rate me”, that are asking for the input of others. Many take advantage of this to post rude or inappropriate comments to bring down the self esteem of others. Cyberbullying can also be done more indirectly. A common form of cyberbullying on twitter, for example, is subtweeting. Subtweeting, the author pointed out, is when, “a user taunts or harasses another without mentioning the target’s name”. This means that someone is directing negative comments towards somebody without directly saying their name. A common trend for all of the forms of cyberbullying addressed in the article is that the bully is looking for attention. They go out of their way to publicly embarrass somebody else.
The more social media platforms are being created, the higher the risk for cyberbullying to occur. Many people bully others online because it’s easier to do than to say mean comments to their face. Anonymous sites such as Ask.fm or Reddit make it very easy for kids to get away with bullying. The bully can say whatever they want to whoever they want without fear of getting in trouble because their identity is a secret.
The more people stay quiet about cyberbullying, the more it’s just going to keep occurring. We all need to speak up when we see cyberbullying happen, even if it doesn’t involve us directly. Many articles, such as this one, tend to focus on what parents can do to stop cyberbullying from happening. But sometimes by the time parents get involved, it’s too late. This is mainly because parents aren’t typically on these social media sights until they have a reason to be. Teenagers are usually the ones active ob social media sites, so they are the ones who need to take action in preventing cyberbullying. As presented in this article, 30% would not report if they saw cyberbullying occurring. Teens need to learn that it’s okay to speak up, because awareness is the only way to prevent cyberbullying from happening.
I’m going to leave this blog posy with a question, have you ever seen cyberbullying on the internet, and did you do anything about it?