The use of social media has become a gift and a curse to the society. It has become a gift to the society because; it is an easy way of communication with people and friends around the globe. People communicate easily through messages and posting through social networks such as Twitter, Whatsapp, Facebook, MySpace, just to mention but a few (Baran, 2012). Most teens use the social media to communicate and use it others for fun. On the other hand, it has become a curse because, many people are suffering from social media bullying. Social networks have made it easier for many people, especially for teens to bully others, even without feeling any remorse. As the number of people are embracing the social media for easier communication, many others are using it to harm others, by carrying out attacks on them, and even stalking them every time.
Bullying is an act of intentional physical or mental harassing, intimidating, and even insulting another person. Social media bullying, also known as cyber bullying is a deliberate act of harming another person repeatedly through information technology or the social media (Schmidt, 2013). It involves sending vulgar messages, posting sensitive information about someone, pretending to be someone else by using his/her accounts to hurt others, and posting nude pictures of someone. In addition, social media bullying involves creating fake accounts and web pages and using them to harass other people on social networks. The social media is a platform for communication, interaction, and socialization, and it is mostly web based. The advancement in technology, especially social networking has adverse effects on the society. Most teenagers are using these advances for the worse, particularly the social media for bullying their peers; and this has adverse effects because, some youth, even ends up committing suicide, due to social media bullying. Therefore, it is important to find effective ways to prevent social media bullying since if a better solution for this problem can be found, teens will be safe and confident, while using social networks since they are protected from social media bullying. In addition, by preventing social media bullying, the adverse effects caused by this problem will be forgotten in the society. Therefore, social media bullying is unacceptable, and everyone should play a part in preventing it. Cyber bullying is inhumane an efforts need to be made in order to end it completely.
The growth of the social media has formed a social issue, called cyber bullying, which is affecting most social network users. The issue of social media bullying has become a worldwide problem that has caused many states to put regulations in place, which are aimed at minimizing the cyber bullying cases. Social media bullying happens everywhere, every day, every hour, minute and second. Most teens have taken social media as a lifestyle since it has become part and parcel of their teenage life. Therefore, most teenagers have become a target in social media bullying and something has to be done to stop this menace (Boyd, 2014). Social media bullying perpetrators are mostly teenagers, who harass and bully their peers, and they should be stopped before it becomes a worldwide scourge. This is because; teenagers are the largest consumers of the social media services, and this makes it easy for the perpetrators to select their victims, access their information, and torment them.
Social media bullying is, as a result of, a number of factors. For instance, victims of social media bullying can be racially targeted by a particular group of people (Hinduja and Patchin, 2008). In addition, most victims who are bullied in the social media come from a minority group. Therefore, social media bullying has become a major problem and a threat to the youth in the world today, and until preventive measures are taken, it will continue to haunt most youths.
In order to stop social media bullying, educational institutions ought to develop mechanisms aimed at preventing the growing trend. This can be done by putting in place strategies, which will enhance social media security, and this will help in preventing the crime in a significant way. In addition, educational institutions can deny their students access to social media networks while in the school setting, and this will help in prevent social media bullying in schools. This is because, according to Hinduja and Patchin, the school setting makes it easier for the victims to be selected, considering that many students love using social sites to communicate and post information about their life and activities they like (2009). In addition, in order to stop social media bullying, teachers should set out rules on how to use social networks, and consequences that follow if any students breaks the rules. Social media bullying is unacceptable, therefore, students found harassing and intimidating other in school over the social media should be suspended, or even expelled from school if they make it a habit. All schools should have a zero tolerance for bullying. Consequently, educational institutions can play a vital role in preventing social media bullying by setting harsh and strict rules, against those students who bully others on the social media.
The most effective and simple way of preventing social media bullying is by monitoring what happens in the social media. Kowalski, Sue and Patricia assert that, monitoring social media sites is the best and effective way of preventing social media bullying (2012). Moreover, this will help in monitoring everything that is posted on social sites, and it will make it easy to track those bullying others on social media. In addition, by monitoring social sites, it will be easy to scare away the perpetrators, since they will be fully aware that they will be caught; thus they will avoid bullying others. Moreover, those who still plan to continue bullying others in the social media will be warned of the consequences of their actions through the monitoring system, and this will stop them from executing their plans.
Likewise, parents can play a significant role in monitoring what their children do online, and what social sites they frequently visit. Through monitoring, it will be easier for them to recommend safe sites for their children. Parents can put passwords on computers, and before their children use them, they have to consult with their parents first and this will be easier to find out what social sites these teenagers visit. Furthermore, they will be able to discuss with their kids about social media bullying, and how they can avoid it. In addition, parents through monitoring what their children post on social networks, they will be able to help them not to bully others and not to post and share anything that could hurt or even embarrass others. Moreover, parents can teach their children to refuse to pass cyber bullying messages, and to tell their friends to stop social media bullying in addition to being nice to everyone on social sites. Therefore, the monitoring approach is the best way to prevent the social media bullying, since it will completely prevent the perpetrators from committing any social media crime. Likewise, it will enable parents to monitor what their children do on social networks and advise them not to bully others.
In addition, the states should provide platforms whereby, the victims will be able to report these crimes. Laws and policies developed to stop cyber bullying have significantly minimized its occurrence probability since the perpetrators fear being reported. The victims will find a platform, whereby they will be able to seek help when abused, and this will prevent the many deaths being caused by social media bullying. Laws in the justice system should be used to prevent social media bullying, through the juvenile justice that can be used to prosecute the offenders. The legal prosecution of social media bullying offenders will significantly reduce the cyber bullying problem. According to Schmidt, cyber security laws have been developed in Wisconsin, and are aimed at minimizing cyber crimes in the social media (2013). The Wisconsin laws include the penalties for the offenders, and these laws have helped curb social media bullying cases in the United States. Therefore, in order to prevent social media bullying, the state should develop strict laws to govern social networks use, and this will help curb cyber crimes (Schmidt, 2013). Laws and penalties meted to offenders of cyber crimes will help curb social media bullying in the best way possible.
Social media bullying can be prevented through launching educational campaigns on its effects. The sensitization of this problem should mostly target academic institutions that record the highest number of victims. Through these campaigns, the consequences of social media bullying will be spelt out, and this will help prevent the cyber bullying problem, as most of the perpetrators will fear committing these crimes. Educating the masses on social media bullying will help minimize cyber bullying cases in the social media. In addition, programs about the prevention of social media bullying should be incorporated in school curricula, and this will make online use safe for all people. Through these programs, many teens will be taught how to avoid potential social media bullies by blocking them, and even increasing security on their home and school computers. Moreover, the victims of cyber bullying will be taught how to cope with social media bullying, and how to combat future social media bullying crimes. According to Campbell (2005), most social media bullying crimes goes unreported, therefore, through these campaigns and school based programs; many teens who have been abused or harassed in the social media will know the protocol to follow in reporting these crimes.
Another way to prevent cyber bullying is through making use of the private setting on every site. Most people who use the social media should make sure they go through the settings and keep most of their contents private, in order to block the cyber bullies from getting access to their personal profiles and pages. In most social sites, the pages can be adjusted to only the people one wants to be able to see the profiles and personal information. Boyd (2014), states that, blocking the social media bullying offenders is among the perfect ways of preventing cyber bullying. This can be done by going to the settings button on either a computer or phone and block all the unwanted contacts and profiles. In addition, social network users should make sure that their personal information remains personal, and this can be done by not revealing their personal information to the public. This will help curb cyber bullying because, the offenders will not know much about the social network user, thus will have no information to use against them or harass them.
Social media bullying may lead to serious emotional distress to the victims. Victims of cyber bullying always have a low self esteem, emotional breakdowns, most of them are always frustrated, depressed and angry which might even lead to suicide. According to Hinduja and Patchin, suicide is a notable outcome of social media bullying in the United States (2008). Most teens who are bullied on social sites end up committing suicide because, they cannot stand the humiliation and intimidations their peers make them go through. A good example is the case of a 15 year old that dated a senior footballer, Phoebe Prince of South Hadley, Massachusetts, who ended up committing suicide after being bullied on the social media (CNN, 2010). Prince was referred to as a whore, on facebook and Twitter and because she could not stand these insults, she opted for suicide, therefore, social media bullying should be prevented in order to prevent such cases in the future. Furthermore, most of them will always shun away from friends because of the frustrations they receive from the social media. Most teens become frustrated and angry and this affects them psychologically. Cyber bullying should be completely eliminated in order to give the teens and youth who use the social media an ample time while using the internet.
In addition, social media bullying can lead to poor grades for teens because of the depression they suffer after being bullied by their peers. Moreover, in some cases, the social media has been reported to cause eating disorders, and self-mutilation. Cyber bullying makes many teens hate themselves after being insulted by their peers, and they end up causing themselves bodily harm. Additionally, most teens will end up becoming drug addicts and even alcoholics in order to forget what their peers talk about them, or even the names they are called on social sites. Therefore, social media bullying is a serious problem that has to be addressed and proper prevention methods put in place in order to save the lives of our teenagers (Mooney, David and Caroline, 2009). Social media bullying can be very dangerous and needs to be addressed by everybody, since it not only happens to the teenagers, but also to the adults. Moreover, cyber bullying is serious problem that leaves most of the victims helpless, and if not addressed, it will lead to the death of many teens, since many of them commit suicide after the bullying incidents. Combating social media bullying is vital since in the modern world, technology is everything and it cannot be avoided at any cost.
In conclusion, with the development of social networking technologies and the internet, social media bullying will become more common and severe. The social media bullying is a social problem, just like any other social problem, therefore, it should be prevented at all costs, just like other social problems are prevented. Technology is here to stay, and so its effects, therefore, it is vital to look for the most effective way to curb the social media bullying menace. The social media is being used to harm and intimidate others for their gratification. In addition, it leads to frustrations of many school going children and this affects their performance in school. Many teens are dying due to others intimidating and bullying them through the social media. Hence, it is important to stop this ill in order to avoid all of the above problems. Even though it is difficult to control the young people who use the social media, because of the fastest growing technology world, it is also easier to control how they use the internet and the social sites they visit on a daily basis. It is important to educate these teenagers on the use of social media, the dos and don’ts, and what is cyber bullying and how to avoid/ overcome it. Hence, it is important for every individual to realize the importance of the social media, and the disadvantages that come along with it, and help to prevent them. It is the duty of every parent to ensure that, their children are protected and are taking part in preventing the social media bullying menace.
Social media bullying is a serious matter that should be taken seriously whether we like it or not. In addition, it has become one of the biggest topics of the 20th century, and it needs serious attention, and due to the much advancement in technology, people have to educate themselves in order to advance with the technology. Further research on social media bullying should be continued in order to come up with more effective methods to prevent this problem. If this is not done, there will be more reported cases of social media bullying and increasing numbers of teens being harassed and bullied while using social networks. The solution to prevent social media bullying is as simple as getting adults involved in this matter, and this will help shutdown the bullying, before even it starts. Social media bullying should be prevented at all cost for the reason that, it is unacceptable.
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