It has been said that “if screens were mirrors, people might be able to see just how filthy they really are.” This is an important quote in relation to cyberbullying. It strictly takes place behind the mask of a username and concealed by a screen. Social media has taken cyberbullying to another level with the billions of users that float throughout each network. Bullies use social media as an outlet for oppression because they are given the ability to do so comfortably.
To begin with, social media is the perfect outlet for bullies because of the accessibility. It can be accessed from school from cell phones. Students use notebooks to hide their phones in during class and can easily scroll through Facebook newsfeed during lecture. This easy access allows people to bully people on social media while in school with just a tap on their screens. After they leave school, many students like to hang out in public places. Public WiFi is huge these days. Most any place that offers free WiFi, you just have to agree to the terms and conditions and then you are allowed free range. Consumers would often times bring their laptop into Taco Bell to gain access to the WiFi use. Then they are able to reach many social media sites. Even late at night, people find themselves in the comfort of their own bed with accessibility to social media. They could easily type a message or a comment or even a retweet to someone’s comment about one of their peers in a matter of seconds while laying in bed or even sitting on the toilet. There are endless opportunities to peruse social media and endless ways to antagonize people on these networking sites.
Additionally, social media allows the tyrant to stay cowardly behind the protection of their screen from any place. Social media allows you to make fake accounts and use fake names to hide your identity. The television show Catfish was made because many people hide their identity while trying to find a relationship. The host had an experience of it himself and now he is devoted to traveling across the country to allow people to meet the people they have been talking to on the internet to show if they are really who they said they were. Sometimes, they really are who they said they are, but most of the time they were hiding behind a fake name and using someone else’s pictures. After they use the fake names, they are also able to use an anonymous name on other social media sites such as Tumblr and post hate comments. Screenshots would go viral that showed people posting hate comments anonymously to celebrities’ Tumblr accounts. They would post things telling them to kill themselves or that they are terrible at what they do. They would be able to post them without anyone ever knowing who posted it. After all the ways to disguise who they are, they are also able to block anyone from seeing what they post. Most people have things they would like to share, but they do not want their family members to see it because it may be inappropriate humor. Blocking the people you do not want to see your posts would be a way to prevent that. It allows culprits to deny anybody but their victims to see what they are posting as well. Social media gives bullies a hideout to hurt their victims.
Not only are they cowards, but they also do not have to face any punishment for their bullying. Particularly for school ages, students face no repercussions from their school for the things they are posting to harass other students. The schools claim they are not obligated due to the fact that it was not done on school property. An instance shown on television, would be the movie Cyberbully. The main character was a victim of bullying done online for a website that represented only their school. As a repercussion, she had felt so alone, she thought there was no other option than to kill herself. Luckily, she was unable to do so. When her mother was trying to take legal action, she had contacted the school. They had told her there was nothing they could do about it because it was not done on school property and they all used fake usernames. Then, on top of the school not taking action, the social media sites do not take action either. There are plenty of ways to report harassment on social media and that is the only thing that is done. If you report something as harassment it takes up to twenty-four hours to be removed, and it could take longer, These networking sites do not punish those who have had multiple people report their things for harassment, but they do put a ban on people who post too many things too fast. They are not seeing the important part their websites play during cyberbullying. Social media sites need to help stop bullying by putting a punishment for those who are reported for harassment because they are giving bullies a comfortable way to do so.
Bullies are everywhere. They will find a way to do what they are doing. However, everyone needs to take a stand and tell them that what they are doing will not be tolerated. People need to ensure they do not feel as comfortable bullying others on social media.
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