The Issue of Cyberbullying
By: Tucker Bass
As social media grows and technology evolves, people are more engaged with others and communication has never been better. Just about everyone has at least one of the many different social media networks. Digital media has a limitless audience and of course, the abundance of easier ways to chat with others is great, but what happens when chatting becomes an attack on the other person. Cyberbullying has been around around since people have been able to communicate with others on their electronic devices, but as the internet continues to grow the amount of abuse increases.
The definition of cyberbullying is basically the repeated act of sending others comments through the use of electronic devices connected to the internet, that is intended to cause harm or distress to another person. The action from the commenter is meant to give the perpetrator a sense of dominance and having control of the situation. They feel that they are safe from any actual harm and can get away with displaying threats that could get themselves into a huge amount of trouble. The main point behind their cause is the sense of joy they get by making the victim feel harm or distress. The next step is that the action is repeated over-time in which an onslaught of comments are driven out in hopes of getting a more angry response. While one person is having fun typing out hurtful comments, the victim is going through emotional blows that could drive them to do very dangerous things. With such an open platform, people are more vulnerable to being harassed. Bullying has always been an issue that many children tend to go through in life and it tends to fade off once they have matured by that point. However bullying has evolved beyond the school campus and it is more present within the home. As long as a device has access to the internet, the vile comments from others can reach them.
The negative effects of cyberbullying has made it's many victims fall prey to feelings of sadness, depression, and anger. With such a limitless audience, it is very overpowering when multiple people type out comments such as "you should kill yourself" or "you'll never be anything". Sadly, this harassment has brought many emotional effects to the ones affected and for a good chunk of them, they went to suicide for a way out of the abuse. Cyberbullying has gone far beyond students and it will take hold of anyone that may have a view that conflicts with them. It also reaches celebrities in which cyber bullies will send out very insensitive remarks about what they represent in their field of entertainment. A huge example for that is the section that Jimmy Kimmel does for his live show "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in which celebrities read out mean tweets that are focused on themselves and they react to them. Some of the tweets are used for humor, but there's a selection that really strike and make the celebrities sad about the possibility of their comment being true. I find this television segment smart in that it gives the many people going through similar comments the sense of not being allow and when a they blow off a comment as nothing on the show, then that gives the viewers confidence that they can do the same. There have been many people who go to the internet for helpful comments about a situation in their life or what they should do when dealing with coming out about what they consider to be their true nature and instead are given nothing but humiliation.
Rutgers Suicide After Gay Tryst Webcast. (n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n2rTQs5WLA
Article: Gay Student's Death Highlights Troubling Trend. (n.d.). Retrieved December 16, 2014, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gay-students-death-hi...
Sadly, Tyler is one of the many that took their lives from cyberbullying and I'm afraid that this problem is becoming much more possible and accessible to do. However since cyberbullying has been around for a couple of years, many people have come up with ways in which the harmful comments from the vile hivemind of culprits can be avoided and countered. Here are some of the steps that can be taken.
- Reporting harmful activity seen on the internet.
If one of your close friends are being abused, make sure that you contact them and let him or her know that it’s not an acceptable thing for this to happen to them. They should also tell a responsible adult about the abuse that they are receiving. Parents and other adults should take the information seriously and when they see any instance of harassment, it should be reported to the authorities as soon as possible.
- Never release personal information on the internet.
When you are giving others data about yourself, you could subtly giving them a map of your location and how to really abuse you without you knowing it. That is why when using the internet you should always be wary of what your actions are, whether it is message profiles, blogs, or chat rooms.
- If you are threaten, do not respond.
If someone is sending threatening messages to you, then don't respond to the comment. What you should do instead is show the threat to people you are close to and have them help you with the situation. It is dangerous to deal with this alone and with the help of others, you can form a sense of ease.
- If you think someone is being harassed, look for warning signs.
Red flags that show up when a person is the victim of a cyberbully include will usually include being nervous when downloading emails or becoming angry when online, or just getting off the internet. Another set of telling signs form from being uncharacteristically withdrawn from friends and family, having a unexpected absence of any cell phone usage, and avoiding any time on the internet.
With these tips, it is easy to see that although cyberbullying is a huge problem, it can be fought. This issue needs to be brought to a halt and not the growth that it has seen within the years. To conclude, I would like to get your thoughts on this subject and what you would do if you or your children where to fall into it's grasp.