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Time for a change: Stop cyberbullying

Cyberbullying+can+be+done+in+various+ways%2C+all+which+are+harmful+to+the+person+being+bullied.+Photograph+by+Sarah+Keller
Cyberbullying can be done in various ways, all which are harmful to the person being bullied. Photograph by Sarah Keller

Cyberbullying can be done in various ways, all which are harmful to the person being bullied. Photograph by Sarah Keller

Cyberbullying can be done in various ways, all which are harmful to the person being bullied. Photograph by Sarah Keller

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Social media can be a useful tool. It allows us to keep in touch with our friends, share pictures of special moments, keep up with the latest trends, and more. These are just a few of the reasons why approximately 81% of the U.S. population has some kind of social networking profile. Although social media has its pros, there are major cons; one of these is social media bullying.

Bullying via social media provides the bully with a way to make hateful comments on someone’s post, all while hiding behind a phone, computer, or tablet screen. If the bully wanted to, he/she could even make an anonymous profile and verbally attack their victim without it getting back to them. The victim then becomes too afraid to post another picture out of fear that the bully might strike again with another hateful comment. With just one comment, social media can go from being a fun place to post pictures to a hateful environment.

Victoria Flores, sophomore, said, “Social media is fun, but it can also be a very dangerous thing. I often worry that someone might make rude comments on one of my pictures, and that fear is something that no one should have to deal with.”

When someone gets bullied, it not only affects how they think of themselves, but makes them worry more about what other people think of them as well. Most people already question posting pictures of themselves because they are afraid of how they will appear to other people, so a bully putting more doubts in their minds can cause a severe drop in one’s self-esteem. Studies report that more than 85 percent of people suffer from low self-esteem, and social media can cause one to feel worse about themselves.

Cyberbullying not only affects one’s self-esteem, but can play a large role in someone’s declining mental health. According to lifescience.com, a significant relationship is evident between an increase in depression and use of social media. This feeling of depression can lead to more devastating effects, such as causing someone to not be as outgoing or worse, causing suicidal thoughts to be put into someone’s head. Suicide has become more common for teenagers since 2014, and the main culprit is due to some form of bullying, mainly cyber.

Chiana Chuc, sophomore, said, “Some of the comments that I see on social media are very rude and hard to look at. The bully makes the victim feel as if they are smaller than everyone and like they do not have a voice in the world. I could see how cyberbullying could cause higher rates of depression and anxiety.”

Although people say that they want to stop cyberbullying, they could be one of those who have participated in this cruel activity. In 2015, a survey was taken on cyberbullying.org by students; it reported that approximately 14.6 percent admitted to cyberbullying someone before. Some of the offenses of cyberbullying that students admitted to were spreading rumors about someone online, threatening to hurt someone, posting a mean comment or picture, or even pretending to be someone else.

While the overall cause of why someone would cyberbully is unknown, it is mostly done because the bully feels insecure about his/her own problems, but chooses to lash out against innocent victims. Some bullies may even feel like it would help them fit in and be popular. If a popular group in school is bullying someone or believes that bullying is cool, then someone may join in to make it seem like they are popular as well. Whatever the reason may be for cyberbullying, there is no excuse for the trauma they impose on their victims.

Being cyberbullied adds a tremendous amount of stress on the victim, which is not necessary. Students already have so many other worries, such as homework, projects, and sports; they do not need to worry about a bully making crude comments. With the stress of bullying, there also comes an increase or start in the victim’s anxiety. The bully, whether he/she knows it or not, causes the victim to live in fear of going on social media or posting a new picture; in an instant, social media becomes paranoia central.

An individual said, “I have been cyberbullied before, and it was a terrible experience to go through. The bully used to comment on my posts and say hateful things, and it was from a profile that did not have a name so I was not able to know who it was. Eventually, however, the bullying stopped. I hope that no one has to go through the pain of being bullied.”

There is hope, however, for the victims because social media platforms are making it harder for someone to get bullied. Most of the social media networks offer the block button, which allows the user to not allow that specific person to be able to access their profile or comment on any pictures. Instagram and Twitter have also created a feature that provides users with the ability to limit comments on a post or block a specific word from being said in the comments. If the bully still manages to surpass all of these safety precautions, then it is best to report the bullying to a trusted adult because some forms of cyberbullying are considered crimes and could get the bully into serious trouble.

Brianna Gadut, sophomore, said, “I believe that it is good that all of these social media platforms are taking more steps to ensure that cyberbullying can be stopped. However, it is not just the platforms that need to take action, there is more that we can do and more that schools can do.”

Some schools do not always take actions to prevent the bullying from happening, which causes the bullied student to feel like an outsider and as if they have no one to turn to. According to watchdogcreative.com, schools tend to ignore the bullying that is happening because they are afraid that their reputation as a good school will be tarnished, and a bad reputation means that less parents want their children to attend. Schools should stop ignoring the bullying that is going on because it can make the student feel isolated or make them believe that no one cares about them.

If no actions are taken to stop your cyberbullying from happening, just know that things will get better. Eventually, the bully will move on. Just remember that the bully is most likely acting out of anger and the insecurities they have about themselves. Even if the bullying becomes even worse, do not stoop down to their level; take the high road and ignore the ones who try and bring you down.

 

For more information on cyberbullying, go to these websites:

https://www.stopbullying.gov

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/cyberbullying.html

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