Cyber Bullying On Social Networking Sites: Can It Be Stopped?
Social networking sites, like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter, has dramatically increased in popularity over the past few years. Such sites have made this world a much smaller place. It is now possible for us to connect with the friends we haven’t seen for several years and family members who live abroad. It is even possible for professionals to connect with other professionals, which is very helpful when it comes to business.
However good this is, there is one major drawback: nothing is private. Everyone can see what you post on Facebook or Twitter. The people who run and operate Facebook are always seeking new ways to make the social networking site more open. This presents a problem for people who want to make their account on Facebook more private. No longer does anyone have any control over their privacy settings. Facebook also does not have an age restriction. Increasingly, teens and children are creating accounts on Facebook.
What does this all have to do with cyber bullying?
Let’s face it, we live in an age that is dominated by the internet. The internet has provided adults and children alike with the opportunity to connect with other people. When children and teens are not at school, they like to chat with their friends on Facebook just as much as adults enjoy talking to each other on Facebook. Unlike adults though, teens and children cannot differentiate an appropriate comment and photo from one that is not appropriate until they learn the hard way. Sadly, the internet is no different than real life. People will criticize, berate and bully individuals for posting something they deem inappropriate or simply different.
– About 38% of girls have reported some form of online harassment.
– 59% of harassment comes from other minors, which makes up a majority of people involved–directly or indirectly–with the cyber bullying.
These statistics were published in 2010–more than one year ago–yet they are very worrisome. They also show that social networking sites, like Facebook and MySpace offer no recourse for the victims of cyber bullying.
Can Cyber Bullying Be Stopped?
If people would put their energies in the right places, they can stop cyber bullying. Parents and teachers should teach children the difference between what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. They should also explain to their children what makes something wrong and why that certain behavior is destructive, not only to themselves but to others as well. Children and teens who are being harassed by peers online should be advised to keep a printed record of the malicious comments, but then delete their personal accounts. They should also be encouraged to tell a trusted adult about the ongoing harassment. When reporting the abuse, they should show the record as proof because that will provide for evidence which is needed in an intervention.
If people continue to confront the issue of cyber bullying, but in a non-violent manner, then cyber bullying will eventually cease to exist.
Deanna Proach writes for discounts.ca, a website that specializes in promotional codes. She also authored two novels: Day of Revenge (Inkwater Press) and To be Maria (PULSE, release date not yet known).