The Side Effects on Cyberbullying Through the Social Media

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In today’s society, everyone has access to the entire world through the use of computers, cells phones, and all electronic devices. The internet opens the world of unique opportunities and possibilities, as well for a new danger. Before advanced technology, children would get bullied in school. Today, they are the target by bullies on the internet. This is called Cyber Bullying which is defined as a “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices and social media”. It is a growing issue that many young students face, in the American school system. Studies have shown that one-third of students have faced some form of cyberbullying in their lifetime. Cyberbullying is becoming a major issue that has gotten increased attention over the last few years, as more and more teens are facing the issue. By 2002, 99% of the public schools in America reported having computers with Internet access. The results have been devastating. With teen suicide on the rise, acts of violence increasing, and more victims being identified, it has affected not only their personal lives but their education as well. There are numerous ways in which schools and parents can prevent cyberbullying and ways in which they can intervene if it has occurred.

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The Pew Internet and American Life Project on cyberbullying conducted a study in 2006 which found that one out of three teens has experienced online harassment. Pew also found that one form of cyberbullying was; having their private emails or text messages forwarded without consent; having an embarrassing picture posted without permission, or having rumors about them spread online. Pew also mentions that girls are more likely to be a target than boys. Teenage girls between the age of 15-17 are more likely to experience some type of cyberbullying, the survey showed that 41% of cyberbullying was the girls.

Children who are harassed or cyberbullied often have symptoms of anxiety, unhappiness, depression, and loneliness. They might have a problem when it comes to sleep, focus and making decisions. This issue will not just be affecting their home, but it will affect their school education. School is the main center for students. Cyberbullying/ harassment can take place at night and at home, but the fallout is seen at school. This can interfere with the educational environment. The student can drop out of activities, might not speak in class, won’t participate due to fear, and can even isolate him/herself from school. Their performance may decrease and due to this grade can drop. The student might even resist going to school because they might not know how to deal with the situation. One teenager reported that it made her “feel hurt physically and mentally. It scares me and takes away all my confidence. It makes me feel sick and worthless.” In the early 2000’s children hung out in group chats, and the harassment started in there. Now it is seen more on social media such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, video sharing sites like YouTube.

Cyberbullying is a growing problem because 95% of teens are using the internet. They do for school work, to keep in touch with friends, to play games and to keep up with the social network. The internet has opened up the whole world to users and this is a good thing. Students are able to feel free to send whatever they want but never thinking about what could harm them.

Cyberbully is a very important topic and there are different measurements and responsible that should be taken. Schools need to educate the school community about the responsibilities of the use of their devices. Students should be aware of all types of bullying and know that it is wrong. Those who are engaged in harassing or threatening behaviors will be subject to discipline. All school personnel should review their harassment and bullying policies. Teachers need to be informed of what is going on in social media. This is a world that they are in, and we aren’t. We need to emphasize a positive environment and explain what will not be tolerated. The first step is to take it seriously. Educators should be tech-savvy and get familiar with the social network. They should know sites, slangs, and terms.

Another main category recommended to prevent cyberbullying is the development of social skills and communication skills. Increasing social club activities at schools can improve the development of social skills and can become a healthy friendship and human relationship. Educators should show that they care and want to help. cyberbullying stops if a student speaks up. While not every word we say is retained by our students, they are listening more often than you know. Instead of just using our influence to teach math, science, English, and history, teachers also need to speak out against destructive practices like cyberbullying. Teachers should add to their curriculum class discussion on the side effects on cyberbullying, share suicide statistics. Educators should be able to have a connection with their parents; most parents don’t know what types of signs to look for. Or how to deal with the situation. We should be empowering students to speak up if they feel harassed by online behavior.

As educators, we should make sure that our students feel safe at school and in classrooms. We should have a baseline, an example is to give out surveys about bullying/cyberbullying once in a blue moon and have students hand it in anonymous, this can help teachers have an idea of what is going on in their classrooms.

Cyberbullying goes beyond the schoolyard in an attempt to harm every part of a child’s life. Intervene as soon as you see the signs, and you may save your student or child a great deal of distress, and perhaps even their life.  

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