Category:  Social Media

Technology Perpetuates Cyber-Bullying

The pervasiveness of technology opens the door for a number of opportunities, good and bad. While the latest forms of communication – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to name a few – allow people to connect and network in ways that were once unimaginable, some unfortunate consequences have surfaced as well, such as bullying.

Today’s younger generation is especially tech-savvy, and particularly interested in broadcasting their every action online, reports the Huffington Post. Once upon a time, a bully had to be physically in your face to terrorize their victim, the victim either responded or didn’t, and that was the end, until the next day at least. However, the ascent of technology permits bullies to be on around-the-clock bully patrol, leaving victims without an escape.

 Thanks to technology, victims of bullying can’t even avoid harassment in the safety of their own homes with the people they love. But, it gets worse. Not only is there no escape for victims of cyber-bullying, but online harassment is also a permanent reminder of public humiliation, and bullying “trends” spread like wildfire! Online communication apps allow bullies to act without having to face any immediate or direct reaction. As a result, the bully is no longer just the oversized, scary-looking rebel, but the pretty-girl, the skinny kid, the music-lover, and whoever else wants to take a wack at it. It’s almost as if kids genuinely get a kick out someone else being broken down in front of an audience.

 Notice the emphasis on “someone else.” Kids aren’t sensitive to victims of bullying until they experience its damaging effects first-hand. Bullying doesn’t do anyone –the bully, the victim, or the audience – any good. According to the Huffington Post, bullies often turn into repeat offenders in the criminal justice system, victims often become emotionally unstable and turn to heinous crimes such as mass school shootings, and by-standers often harbor feelings of serious regret, if they don’t intervene.

Technology is around to stay, so some serious thought needs to be given to ways that schools and adults in general can counteract kid’s inclination to bully online. Some schools are giving these methods a shot:

  • Offering cyber-etiquette classes
  • Employing cyber-safety experts to speak to students
  • Increasing the number of “trusted adults,” like guidance counselors, counselors, harassment, intimidation and bullying specialists, and school resource officers available to students
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