Cyberbullying as a Serious Crime Through the Social Media

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This essay looks at the links between social media and mental health. With social media being such a major part of our everyday lives, it is a topic that can split opinions and can cover many aspects of a discussion. Accordioning to experts we spend almost 9 hours a day on our phones and a whopping 73.8 hours a month on social media. There are so many positive and negative effects from social media. Below are some examples of both sides of this debate.

More and more people are developing mental health problems because of what they see online. So many of the pictures we see every day on all the different social media platforms are not real life. A lot of celebrity’s use Photoshop to make themselves skinnier and have flawless skin. Many newspapers and magazines shame celebrities if a picture of them is taken and they show the slightest hint of cellulite or are not looking their best. This makes young girls think that they are overweight when they are not. “In 2017 there was a big rise in girls being hospitalised because of self-harming and experts suggest social media and the digital world could be the main cause.” According to The Guardian in 2014, “Increasing numbers of young people being admitted to hospital because of eating disorders. figures show the main cause was social media and that has helped develop an obsession with body image.”

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Social media can have a big positive impact on a lot of charities. They can help in raising awareness of charities and get people talking about them. They are also good at raising money for so many different charities. The just giving website has so far enabled “over 22 million people to raise over £1.5billion for over 13,000 different Charites.” Some examples of this being of help are: Cancer research UK received a donation of over “200 thousand pounds from a person who raised money using the just giving website.” Someone also raised “14 thousand pounds for Help for Heroes by doing the big bike ride in 2018.” Donating is made so easy for people on social media as it is just a few clicks and you could have donated as little or as much as you want. But the downside to donating online is you never actually know if it’s a scam or not.” A new social media scam was identified by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau's (NFIB) Proactive Intelligence Team, It sees fraudsters use social media to attract victims into donating money to fake animal welfare charities overseas. Any money that you donate will not go to a legitimate charity but to a fraudster – who transfer it overseas to fund a criminal lifestyle. The team have identified criminal groups based in Spain and Cyprus targeting victims in the UK.” They target vulnerable people and scam them costing them hundreds.

Cyber bullying has drastically increased over the recent years. Cyberbullying is when someone uses technology to threaten, harass or target another person online anonymously. Cyberbullying is not only done by younger people. Many adults do it too. The more popular and used social media becomes the more cyberbullying becomes a problem. “87 percent of todays youth have witnessed cyberbullying either by taking part in bullying someone, seeing videos posted online or been a victim of bullying.” In the space of a year, cases of cyberbullying had doubled. According to a study in 2013 “16% of children between the ages of 11 and 17 were bullied on the internet.” In 2014 approximately 35% of children of the same age were cyberbully victims. Cyberbullying is a serious crime and you can be jailed for it. BBC news reported in October 2012 “Erin Gallagher, an Irish teenager, took her own life after being bullied on her page. Erin warned anonymous bullies on her page that she would take her own life, but the harassment about things like her weight and how she looked didn't stop so it ended in tragedy.”

Overall social media does have many good points, but also many bad points towards people and their mental health. With social media being such a big part of our everyday life, it can have many different impacts on people whether it is positive or negative. It is down to each individual if they think the good side of social media out ways the bad side.  

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