Bullying on social media platforms is a phenomenon that usually occurs on popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. It is generally associated with teens who make emotionally hurting and mean comments about their peers on social media platforms. It can be through mean comments on photos that include fat-shaming or body-shaming remarks about an individual’s physical features. Moreover, they also send mean messages by ganging up against one another. The trend has a great impact on the psychological, emotional, and social health of the victim. It leads to adverse effects such as irritation, depression, anxiety, as well as social isolation (Dey and Gupta 89). All these effects have a tremendous impact on the victim’s social relationships and academic performance. Even though statistics indicate that social media bullying is declining, these platforms have made it easier for teenagers to engage in this demeaning trend. Bullying can be eradicated by enacting effective rules and regulations to monitor children’s activities on social media and instituting restrictions on certain activities.
Effects of CyberBullying
Studies indicate that cyberbullying results in increased psychological and emotional effects, especially among the youth. Today, a large percentage of youth use social media platforms for various reasons. With the recent technological developments in social media networking sites, the youth use these sites for entertainment, knowledge, and communication, among other activities. Presently, social networking sites are used by people to ensure their status. In the past, it was difficult for people to recognize themselves and build their class and social identity (Batool et al. 133). Social media sites are also used as platforms where people can make new friends. However, there are situations where people use these sites negatively by misusing other people’s information, creating rumors, and issuing threats that affect the victim.
Rules and regulations that are introduced to monitor Bullying on social media sites may not eradicate Bullying mainly because Bullying requires a more holistic approach to eradicate it. Rules may be effective in preventing some forms of Bullying, but the anonymity of social media makes the enforcement of these rules to be difficult. The factors that turn ordinary teens into bullies should be addressed at home and at school.
Cyberbullying leads to psychological and emotional disturbances that affect academic performance and create relationship gaps. Further, such misuse can lead to depression, insecurity, tension, and irritation among youngsters (Batool et al. 134). The use of these sites to gratify the needs of the aggressor harms the victim’s academic performance. As a result, they lack concentration in their academic work due to negative messages that affect them psychologically. All these can be avoided by making sure the use of the internet by youngsters is regulated. Cyberbullying creates relationship gaps where the victim isolates himself from friends due to rumors and negative publicity. They view friends in a negative light and avoid further socializing to protect themself. As a result, it prevents young adults from social development and maturity due to isolation and withdrawal (Bonanno and Hymel). Such incidences can be reduced if the youth are taught appropriate measures to deal with the internet. For example, they should know when to raise the red flag when issues of cyberbullying arise. The emotional and psychological disturbances faced by victims of cyberbullying affect their social activities and aggravate their academic performance.
Bullying on social media platforms can be remedied through various strategies, including monitoring the online activities of youngsters. Guardians need to be at the forefront of watching what their children do online, especially on their social media accounts. For example, they can easily supervise their children’s activities by befriending them and following them on social media platforms. It is an effective way of monitoring their children’s usage of such sites Cyberbullying on Social Media Among College Students (Johnson et al.). Equally important, they should be able to log on to their children’s social media profiles if possible. In this manner, they would be able to closely monitor and supervise the social media activities of their children and hinder any forms of cyberbullying before they become worse. The intervention of parents can help reduce incidences of cyberbullying because they will be able to provide appropriate guidance and counseling in the event of breaches.
There is also a need to create awareness, especially among youngsters and other social media users of all ages, about the rules governing social media platforms. All social media users should know the policies governing social media use and the penalties that can be imposed in case of a breach. All social media platforms have rules and regulations governing their use that should be adhered to. For instance, the Hateful Conduct Policy by Twitter provides that users are obligated to report posts that breach the rules and regulations governing its use. Some of these rules include promoting violence, attacking or threatening others, and inciting harm to a person based on their ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, nationality, gender identity, gender, age, religious affiliation, disease, or disability (Notar et al. 138). This policy stipulates that posts that have been reported to have violated the rules and their context are considered before they are removed or the account suspended or closed. Likewise, Facebook has the same feature that allows easy reporting of posts and photos that violate its rules. Once sensitized, it becomes easier for users to report such violations, including cyberbullying. In this manner, incidences of cyberbullying will drastically reduce as a result of sensitization.
The block feature in many social media platforms can help effectively to reduce Bullying on social media sites. It is a simple feature that can be used to block social media followers on various platforms. It can help a victim of cyberbullying rid their profile of disturbing messages and create a safer and more pleasant social media experience. For example, Instagram users can turn off notifications on posts to prevent malicious users from making threats, leaving hurtful comments, or engaging in body shaming commentaries. In addition to that, users should also be careful about who to allow to access their profiles. It is the user’s responsibility because such features are not available on most social media platforms such as Twitter. However, sites such as Facebook have strict privacy settings for users that keep cyberbullies away. Similarly, Instagram makes it easier for users to change their profiles from public to private. So, it is the responsibility of the user to ensure that they protect themselves from cyberbullies by taking advantage of the security features provided by social media platforms.
Finally, cell phone monitoring programs can also be used to help parents to block or filter content by the use of keywords. Monitoring can be done using software services that can drastically reduce cyberbullying by offering child-friendly internet. They are effective in quarantining, blocking, and reporting offensive messages, e-mails, and other communications. They also give the parent or school administration the ability to intervene in any form of violation. These programs can quickly identify potential cyberbullying without the need to check communication devices (Notar et al. 141). It helps stem cyberbullying that originates from other locations apart from home. Even though they provide limited protection, such programs can teach youngsters to refrain from cyberbullying or respond to such threats. It is a valuable tool that can help victims of cyberbullying store evidence that can be used to prosecute cyber bullies.
To conclude, youngsters’ use of the internet has led to an increase in bullying on social media sites which has some adverse effects. Cyberbullying through social media platforms has had negative emotional, psychological, and social impacts among youngsters leading to poor academic performance and an increase in the social gap. However, it can be remedied through various intervention measures such as supervision, monitoring programs, and sensitization. The anonymity of social media would make enforcement of these rules to be hard; therefore, a more holistic home and school-based approach to eradicate Bullying need to be applied. All these interventions can go a long way in reducing incidences of cyberbullying among teenagers and help them positively use social media sites.
Batool, Sumera et al. “Bullying in Social Media: An Effect Study of Cyberbullying on the Youth.” Pakistan Journal of Criminology, vol. 9, no. 4, 2017, pp. 119-139.
Bonanno, R. A., and Hymel, S. “Cyber Bullying and Internalizing difficulties: Above and Beyond the Impact of Traditional Forms of Bullying.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence, vol. 42, no. 5, 2013, pp. 685-697.
Dey, Veto, and Yogita Gupta. “Cyber Bullying: Causes, Phychological Impact and Remedies.” Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 47, no. 5, 2009, pp.652-665.
Notar, Charles et al. “Cyberbullying: Resources for Intervention and Prevention.” Universal Journal of Educational Research, vol. 1, no.3, 2013, pp. 133-145.