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Social Media Risks Such as Cyberbullying

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Brandy was 18 years old and she was a high school student. She had a lot of friends in the school and warmly welcome with many peers and teachers. Before Thanksgiving, she was harassed through messages from different people. Someone was putting her name on the dating websites, they put her name, her cell phone number, and pictures. It was written on the websites that she was available for free sex and she was one call away. In the school, she was getting so much harassment that she even changed her number, but bullies always found her number. She was depressed about this issue. She texted her family that she couldn’t handle all the pain and she was sorry about it. After two weeks of getting a lot of messages from random people, Brandy Vela killed herself by shooting a gun into her chest. Brandy Vela’s family says cyberbullying pushed their daughter to commit suicide.

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Brandy Vela was one of the victims of cyberbullying through Social Media. This is proof that social media can be impactful to someone’s life. Social Media is a form of electronic communication where users can share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content. Myspace was one of the “first” popular social media sites for kids and followed by different platforms such as Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, snap chat, twitter, etc. It’s no wonder why people are so attached to their phones every time. Next time when you go out, expect people on their phone using social media. I bet you will see 90% of them are scrolling through their social media accounts. According to one study, Americans check their phones an average of 52 times a day (Al-Heeti). This illustrates our connections with our phones are dominant that it became part of our daily lifestyle to the point that we forgot the risks of it. Therefore, using social media involves many risks such as cyberbullying, catfishing, along with mental problems like anxiety, and depression.

Cyberbullying is a major risk of using social media and it affects a person’s self-esteem. Cyberbullying is harassment that involves technology or the internet. According to statistics, “59% of teens have been bullied or harassed online”. This is showing that there is a chance that people who used too much social media will experience cyberbullying. They are being bullied emotionally, mentally, and physically. They are bullied emotionally by receiving hurtful words such as ugly ducking, hideous, retarded, gay, etc. These words also affect the victim’s perspective about themselves which can affect their self-esteem. These turn into having a bad self-esteem that causes the victims to hurt him/herself just to lessen the pain. A common reason why people bullies is either their need attention or they are victims of bullies. According to the study, “ family functioning is an important factor of bullying”. Kids who are being neglected, harassed, abused or abandoned have are more likely to bully. They grow up with this kind of set up and in their mind this is correct. Sometimes they are victims of bullying and they want to get relief so they bully through social media like posting mean or hurtful words.

My cousin was a victim of cyberbullying. When she was in high school, she was harassed by her friends. Her friends created FB accounts and named it after my cousin. My cousin didn’t know that her friends were using her name to make fun. Her friends used that account to meet boys online like Omegle. Omegle is a website where you chat with strangers and exchange social media accounts to continue the conversation. Good thing one of her classmates ask her if she was the person in that viral naked photos. She was not the person in that viral photos, but students in the school were always teasing her “how much” “yummy”. Then it gets to the point she started not going to school because of the judgments that she received in the school. She started not getting out in her room, her mom was so worried that they even asked for help from the police to find out who was behind this issue. Then, we found out that it was her friend who created that fake account. It was too late because she dropped out of school and even worse got depressed. She got depressed to the point that she even cut her arms with blade and take a lot of capsules because of what happened. Victims of cyberbullying are more likely to develop psychological distress low self-esteem. They were likely to get depressed because of all the judgment of other people. It becomes a mental issue or a mental disorder. The worst part is the depressed fall to suicidal attempt. Using too much social media is a risk of cyberbullying that fall to anxiety and depression.

Anxiety and depression are the worst risks of social media. Anxiety and depression are both mental illnesses. They occur at the same time. It’s been estimated that 45% of people with one mental health condition meet the two criteria. Many people get anxious and depressed because they lend too much time in social media to the point that their daily lives depend on it. They put all their attention to social media where their happiness relies on social media. If the source of happiness destroyed it will lead them to anxiety and depression According to a study, people who consume more time in social media have a higher rate. A 2017 study of over half a million eighth through 12 graders found that the number exhibiting high levels of depressive symptoms increased by 33 percent between 2010 and 2015. They have higher levels of depression because they compare themselves to what they see on social media. This is the reason why they have a poor self-image. They have the perception in their mind of not being good enough.

Catfishing is another risk of using too much social media. Catfishing is an activity on the internet where people are trying to use identity or make a fake identity to deceived. This is commonly used on the internet to find romance. These people are hard to recognize because they are good for these kinds of activities. In a survey, 20% sending money to catfishers, 25% of victims felt humiliated by their experience, 13% heartbroken, and 9% said they were caused mental health issues . This is just showing that most people in social media are catfishers that will put you in risks especially if you are not aware. In facebook, a lot of people are just faking their account to meet new people. Some people put a good image in their profile picture just to attract someone. Some of them used this as a trick to threaten someone and ask for money. If you will not grant their request they will threaten you that will lead you too traumatized or depression. In Raffy Tulfo Action, many people go to their station to ask for some help. Most of their cases are victims of fraud and scams that they met through social media. Most of them scammed by their loved ones that they meet online. According to Forbes, “In 2018 romance scams ranks top one and people lost $143 million more than any type of fraud”. These are the reasons why we should not trust everything we see in social media. Before you said yes to someone, give more time to know each other to avoid these kinds of scams and fraudSometimes they are just nice or good looking, but it will put your life in danger if you're not aware.

Overall, Social media involve so many risks such as cyberbullying that affect self-esteem, anxiety, and depression which causes them sadness and even worse leads to suicidal attempt, and catfishing which more likely to happen when you easily trust someone on the internet. I found out that youth today are growing up with technology. Most of the children are addicted and become slaves of social media. I believe to prevent these kinds of problems, parents should join their kids in outdoor activities rather than just letting them inside their house by themselves. Parents should always look for their kids in what they are doing on their phone. To be safe, they should put a limitation on what age can use certain social media. In this way, it would be safer for them and avoid these kinds of problems. To avoid the negativity online, start with positive thoughts. You can start it by participating in the community like volunteering. Also by deleting and ignoring all the negativity around you. You don’t have to follow someone because they followed you in your social accounts because being private is better. If you are a victim and still struggling, ask some help to someone you can trust or someone your comfortable to talk to. Haters and bullies in social media are always there, but you can deal with it by being more alert and positive.   

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