The modern technological breakthroughs have infiltrated all the aspects of human lives and made enormous effects on our day-to-day activities in terms of the way we communicate; socialize with other people and travel. Some of the technological developments that have revolutionized the way human beings socialize as well as communicate are the social media and also the Internet (Stuckey 32). Facebook is the most-admired social media site worldwide, trailed by Twitter and then MySpace which comes in the third place. The world is crammed with an array of problems as well as concerns that many people hardly realize. With the explosion of contemporary technology, the old school bullying has become outdated, and it has been replaced with a new form of bullying on the Internet platform. Most of these issues are rarely addressed because we are scared to recognize that they have turned out to be a concern in the present-day society. One such issue is cyber bullying. Usually, cyber bullying does not raise an alarm regarding its dangers until it is too late. Cyber-bullying is serious concerns that can negatively the children as well as their parents.
In the modern world, many people are techno-friendly, and they will start using the Internet for social while they are very young. McLaughlin et al. asserts “90 percent of all children in the U.S. have an access to either a phone or the Internet” (7). Logging onto social sites like Facebook and chatting with other people is a common thing whereas emails appear not to appeal to the youths. There are other social media such as Kik Messenger that are popular in particular places on earth. If a young person utilizes the harsh or cruel status updates on the social media website so as to embarrass others this acts as one form of cyber bullying. For example, in the text, the use of Kik Messenger by Rebecca had negatively affected her life and even led to suicide. This cellphone application had negatively affected Rebecca and even gotten to a point that through the same platform, she had been encouraged to commit suicide on grounds that she was ugly et cetera. Other forms of cyber-bullying are posting of personal information or videos with the intention of intimidating or harassing others. Another popular act of cyberbullying entails the creation of fake accounts so as to harass someone.
The Internet as well as the cell phones acts as a problem to both the teens and children. Although it might be likely for young children to commit suicide resulting from cyber-bullying, it is not impossible. For instance, Rebecca, a young girl was a cyber-bullying victim and this is why she committed suicide at fifteen years. Rebecca had been cyber bullied up to a point where she changed her username on the Kik Messenger application from her real name to “That Dead Girl,” something that explains her eventual action of taking away her own life. Rebecca was driven to suicide by the cell phone application through threats as well as taunting from the online cellphone application. Cyber bullying is turning out to be a growing concern in the society today. Bullies within the cyberspace may be anywhere and not merely on one’s publicized websites such as Facebook. The terrorization that Rebecca received from her friends was so much to an extent that she could not bear any more. Over the years, there have been an increment in online bullying instances.
Social media may lead to cyber-bullying: Social media provides an immediacy that is accessible to both friends and predators. Charness & Schaie describes cyber bullying as, “willful as well as constant harm such as harassment, disgrace, or threatening messages, that are imposed by means of the Internet or interactive technologies” (45). According to Jhally, George & Jean “Children particularly are most vulnerable to cyber-bullying where the perpetrators, posing as individuals whom their victims can trust, or anonymously, terrorize them (43).” These internet attacks usually create devastating effects to the victims which can leave unfathomable mental scars. These social media networks can provide the perpetrators of cyber-bullies a high level of anonymity an aspect that can reveal dark impulses which would otherwise be contained. According to Szyperski (34), cyber-bullying has increased extensively among the youth, with 45% admitting being victims. The advancement in technology makes it difficult for parents to keep up with their children’s online activities. In the case of Rebecca, her mother had made numerous efforts to monitor her daughter’s online activities, including reporting her daughter’s case to the school’s administration. This has negatively affected the lives of many people.
Cyberbullying is such a grey area since it is easy to discuss it, but very hard to identify. The definition that is provided on cyberbullying by many people is far from the clear-cut definition. Cyberbullying is increasingly becoming an issue more than it has ever been. Whereas there is an increment in the number of teenagers using Facebook, MySpace, as well as Twitter, these young people are more likely to become victims of cyberbullying. Nevertheless, Facebook is making significant efforts to ensure that their privacy settings are stronger in order to avert cyber bullying. According to McLaughlin et al., it is only 15 percent of children between nine to fourteen years who have an idea of what cyber-bullying is (56). Amongst the challenges that face cyber bullying is the fact that it has a chameleon effect, that is, it assumes many forms, often blending with its environment. Technology has turned out to be a significant aspect of the day-to-day life. The fourth amendment asserts that one has protection against unreasonable search and seizure whereas in the first amendment; it asserts that one has the right towards free speech. The interpretation of these provisions is a problem that arises from these online issues. Many people are struggling in the manner in which to interpret the digital world (Marlow 11).
Cyberbullying may have severe consequences. It may hurt the self-esteem of the individual who is being cyber bullied. According to Trolley & Constance (50), children who have become victims of cyberbullying have low self-esteem, as well as other health problems. This as well affects the families of the children who have been cyber-bullied as they will have to incur the costs of treating the children for health problems such as depression. Rebecca had been cyber bullied for at least one year by 15 middle-school children who continuously urged her to take her own life. The hostile texts that these children sent to Rebecca made her to ultimately commit suicide. Cyber bullying is, therefore, a serious issue that leaves its victims helpless as well as overwhelmed.
In order to avoid being cyberbullied, it is essential not to give out one’s email to just anyone (McQuade, Colt, and Meyer 12). In case one falls a victim of cyber bullying, the appropriate course of action is to save the messages or rather print them, as it will be resourceful in proving to the authorities that one was actually a cyber-bully victim. In the case of underage children, it is significant that they report this issue to their parents or guardians since they can be helpful in stopping the bully (Hunter, 22). The terrorization that Rebecca received from the social media from her peers led to her eventual act of taking away her own life.
In conclusion, bullying is no longer limited to the physical world. Bullying is bullying even though it may appear to be less actual when it is hidden behind a screen, as the consequences are similar to a slap on the face. The cyber world has as well been afflicted with this concern, where information, as well as technology, are utilized to deliberately and recurrently harm other people. It is, therefore, significant for both young and old people to be educated on how to deal with this concerns efficiently so as to avoid its ugly consequences. It is therefore imperative for teachers as well as parents to takes steps that monitor the activity of their children in the online platform. Children are most vulnerable to bullying from the Internet, and measures to protect them ought to be put in place.
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