Today, we live in a world where social media is among us in many ways. We have Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and many more. It has become a way of life. For many of us, we have learned how to use social media effectively, and more important, positively. But what about the social media that’s used negatively? What about the people who use it to bully?
We all know that cyber bullying has been an issue for years. There have been documentaries, movies, and websites created to fight against it, yet today we are still hearing tragic stories about young teens affected by bullying through social media. Over the years, statistics have only grown to prove that this is not a dying conflict.
- Over 95% of teenagers use social media networking sites to communicate with peers.
- Over 25% of teens have been bullied repeatedly through texts or the Internet.
- 1 in 3 teens has experienced cyber-threats online.
- 85% of teenage online users have been cyber bullied at least once.
- 90% of victims will never inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse.
I have been working with young children and teens at a YMCA for five years now. Recently, I have had at least three young teens approach me and say that they are experiencing forms of bullying through the Internet. Fake Facebook profiles and Twitter pages are being created to negatively attack peers. Rude comments are being left under pictures and statuses. This is social media gone wrong. So, what are ways to prevent cyber bullying from continuing its vicious circle? Here are a few solutions.
- Communicate with parents, teachers, or other adults. By talking, young children or teens will be informed about how to properly use the Internet, and detect early signs of bullying. If it happens, children/teens should immediately notify a parent or authoritative figure.
- Limitations of Internet use. Young children/teens should have limitations when using the Internet until they learn more about how it’s used and how it should be used. Having accessibility to too many social media sites may expose them to content that they are too young to see.
- Talk about the serious affects that bullying has. Bullying is no joke. It becomes personal and can cause depression.
Cyber bullying can be resolved by taking small steps like communicating and limiting Internet use. It has only grown bigger as an issue and has caused pain, depression, and worse. Social media should be used for good and only good. It truly is the best way to connect, communicate, and network. There should be no room for anything else.