As stated in the last several weeks, there are many positive and beneficial uses for technology and social media in our rapidly changing world today. However, there is also the Trojan Horse of social media. It plants itself, many times unconsciously, and infects its prey relentlessly and without mercy. It is the free-wielding weapon of Cyber-Bullying; and, Cyber-Bullying affects everyone, whether you’re the victim, bully, or friends and family of the bullied.
You can see it online on any form of social media. For some reason people are desensitized of how others may feel outside of the cyber-space world. Daniel, age 11, from Nova Scotia, tells me, “Someone may say something to another person as a “joke” but not even realize that what they say may hurt the other person. On the other hand, someone may use social media to say hurtful things that they wouldn't dare say in person to another.” Either way people are impacted by what others say online every day.
There have been many forms of Cyber-Bulling. Cyber-Bullying can include saying hurtful things to someone, posting pictures online that someone hasn't approved, even popular memes – like a photo or video making fun of a person group or culture that is virally posted or transmitted. For some reason kids (and even adults) feel the need to say things that could be hurtful to someone. Kayla, age 16, from New Brunswick, shares, “Usually kids who are not confident in themselves, or are not part of the socially acceptable “cool kids” group are targeted.” People take their own securities and mask them by picking on others.
There have been many cases of Cyber-Bullying seen all over the world. This hurtful act can lead to people taking extreme measures to stop the pain they are feeling. Some people have even taken their lives over it. Clearly, it is a big problem in society today. Cyber-Bullying can happen in every part of society. Yes, it even happens in Christian communities. Parents and Youth leaders may not notice it within their own circles at church, but if they looked online they would be able to see whether not someone is being targeted online. Even if a person is being picked on in a private conversation, you can notice whether a person is being Cyber-Bullied through their actions. “They will keep to themselves more, and will usually avoid telling an adult, which is actually the best solution to stopping Cyber-Bullying” says Sydney, age 17, from Prince Edward Island.
The “Anonymous-ness” of Cyber-Bullying is such a problem because it is definitely an easier form of hurting someone than physically bullying or hurting someone in person. People are able to hurt others 24/7 with social media. It takes the help of everyone in order to stop Cyber-Bullying. For those of you reading this (i.e. parents, youth leaders, pastors, teenagers, brothers and sisters), you need to stand up against Cyber-Bullying. If you notice anything different about your friend, family member, or youth member, that gives any indication that they are being Cyber-Bullied, then help your loved one. They may not have the courage to ask for help. Also, if you see someone Cyber-Bullying or targeting another person online, then hold them accountable, and be that person who is not afraid to stand up for what is right. Take a step and help stop Cyber-Bullying now.