We’re all familiar with the old saying that begins “stick and stones may break my bones…”
However, in this social media driven society, the term could be revamped to include not only sticks and stones, but also social media, email, texts, etc.
Cyber bullying has become a hot button issue. According towww.how-to-stop-bullying.com, 77% of students have been bullied. Other anti-cyber bullying sites claim, 4 out of 10 middle schoolers have had their online passwords stolen and changed by a bully only to have that said bully post inappropriate online messages.
Perhaps cyber bullying through various social media outlets is on the rise because we are a civilization dependent on the ease of this form of communication. It’s easy to hide behind a laptop and post hurtful comments. Let’s face it, school ends at 4 but to these bullies, the internet can be a 24-hour outlet of vituperation.
19% of students ages 10-17 who are regular internet users have been involved in cyberbullying via social media and text messaging. Only 51% of preteens and 35% of teens reported the bullying to parents.
So, what is a parent to do? Certainly these kids shouldn’t be asked to avoid any social media activity. Fortunately the advantages of social media sites outweigh this blemish on its name. With that being said, parents should monitor their child’s use of social media sites. Perhaps parents can consider installing parental control software should they suspect bullying.
In an effort to combat bullying, a company named Safetyweb has designed a Facebook application called Find Help. With this, teens can report cyber bullying and connect with professionals and counselors to get help.
Another point for social media’s fight against bullying goes to www.itgetsbetter.org. This user created video site is a worldwide movement to fight bullying and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens. The videos (many celebrity created) send the messages that there is a chance for support, respect and happiness in these teens’ futures.