Social media has changed the way people communicate with each other and in turn, has affected our ability to empathize in both negative and positive ways. One of the most harmful consequences is the rise of cyber-bullying, which can be found from a hateful Facebook post by a classmate to anonymous trolling in the comments sections of websites. Some argue that social media is a breeding ground for this type of behavior while others say it would still take place even if you removed the medium.
Thomas J. Billitteri’s “Cyberbullying” sees social media as a cause of bullying and states out of the teenagers using social media, forty percent have a least once claimed to have been cyber bullied. Child advocates view the incivility from television reality shows to the political arena as growing to a point where youth have learned it acceptable to humiliate other people as a form of entertainment. This attitude is commonly found on commentary sections of social media and news websites. The article points out the responsibility social media sites takes in contributing to and preventing cyber-bullying. Working with individual states and law enforcement, Myspace has tried to help to stop harassment and cyber-bullying. Meanwhile, the social media website Juicy Campus was solely made to spread gossip that is hurtful (Billitteri “Cyberbullying”).
In Sarah Nichol’s article “Cyber-Bullying and Trolling”, a view is expressed that social media does not cause bullying. According to Karyn Krawford, online anonymity has little to do with making bullies since most victims already know their attacker. In addition, often in real life, bullies and victims play the same role. As director of Cyborg Australia and expert on cyber psychology, Krawford has stated that, “It’s an off-line problem, the internet doesn’t create bullies.” She supports this argument because most of the time bullies have similar communication issues when they are not online. Moreover, offline, they still have a lot of problems (Nicol pg. 3).
Despite the argument over social media being the cause of cyber-bullying or not, it is a widespread issue with a deadly consequences. No matter your belief on the cause of it, individuals still can decide to take personal responsibility by not actively engaging in cyber-bullying themselves and by supporting those who are victims of it.
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