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Effects of Social Media on Bullying

In: Social Issues

Submitted By venivediveci
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How is the advancement in technology, especially cell phones and social networking affecting how our society communicates and interacts with each other? How are teenagers using these advances for the worse and bullying their peers to the point they even commit suicide, and what is being done to stop this?
The use of mobile phones has become a gift and a curse for society. We no longer experience a face to face conversation with people, but rather send a text or call them up. This issue is even to the point that parents text their children while they are only one flight of stairs away. The use of anonymous posting through social network sites such as facebook or myspace, or through cell phones makes it easier for teens to bully others without feeling remorse. Why are we letting ourselves become this type of society?
In a recent study done by UCLA psychologist, it was reported that three in four teens had been bullied through some sort of cyber resource.(UCLA newsroom). If we can find a solution to why this is happening, we can help teens be more confident and help protect them from cyber bullying.
A recent study in Manchester, England shows that bullying via mobiles was also a concern for over two-thirds of young people, who had either received an unpleasant call or text message, or have been the victim of phone pranks, or knew someone that had experienced this. For example: An eleven year old female from Hampshire states, “Somebody got my number and was making mean comments, calling me fatso and stuff” (Devitt). Another thirteen year old female from Manchester states, “I was getting bullied for about two weeks and people sent me nasty texts…. I wasn’t scared because I knew they couldn’t do anything to me, but I just felt really annoyed.”(Devitt).
Bullies such as in the examples shown here, are using cell phones to pick at kids because it isn’t directly to that person, but rather anonymous.
One researcher says cyber bullying comprises “willful and repeated harm inflicted toward another and includes the use of e-mail, cell phones, text messages, and Internet sites to threaten, harass embarrass, or socially exclude”. (Mishna).
Recently, a number of states have passed strong cyber bullying laws that are designed to protect children from being harassed, threatened and humiliated online. These laws represent a crucial step towards National anti-cyber bullying laws which will protect children of all ages in every corner of the country. (Arminen, I.).
States such as Missouri have only recently passed laws after a 13 year old girl committed suicide after a being the victim of an internet hoax.(Cyber bullying alert). Why do we have to wait until someone commits suicide until something is done?
Why is this such a big deal? Reports said that 85 percent of those that had been bullied online or through cellular devices were also bullied at school. (Christensen, toke h.). Out of all the teens being bullied, only one out of ten brought up the issue to an adult.
Why do so few teenagers tell their parents about being bullied online? The most common reason for not telling an adult, cited by half the bullied participants, was that teens believe they "need to learn to deal with it."(Cyber bullying alert). In addition, 31 percent reported that they do not tell because they are concerned their parents might restrict their Internet access. This concern was especially common among girls between the ages of 12 and 14, with 46 percent fearing restrictions, compared with 27 percent of boys in the same age group. One-third of 12 to 14 year-olds reported that they didn't tell an adult out of fear that they could get into trouble with their parents. (Christensen, toke h.).
Research on this topic should be continued because if something isn’t done, more and more teens will be harassed and bullied through cyber resources. The numbers will continue to rise until we can find an effective way to prevent it. A solution could be as simple as getting adults more involved and to shut down the harassment before it even starts. I myself have been bullied through social networks, and occasionally through a mobile device. This fact could have caused me to be biased, but with the research that has been done, I know it is not just me.
The term teen refers to any youth between the ages of 13 and 19, however some of the studies also include 12 year olds. The term “cyber” refers to any means of communication that is not in direct physical contact with the person, such as a social network or cell phone. Bullying refers to any act of intentionally physically or mentally harassing or harming another peer or being.

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