Back before the invention of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets, school bullying was a problem for younger kids – in school. A child who was a victim of bullying could at least look forward to escaping his bullies at the end of the school day. This is no longer the case.
Social media sites have greatly helped many businesses to get their word out. They have also been responsible for countless “reconnections” with old friends who have lost touch with one another over the years. But among their many benefits for users, these sites create one more place for children to be made fun of and ridiculed for the world to see.
On social media websites, users are free to express their opinions and say pretty much anything they want. This is wonderful for those who want to express ideas and feelings, but as a local ABC News outlet reports, sometimes it spells trouble when those words are expressed negatively toward another person.
Cyber-bullying has profound impacts on psychological well-being. Bullying in school is wrong and of course hurtful for those experiencing the negative effects. However, these effects can be even worse and more long-lasting through the Internet.
For instance, depending on your Internet settings, anyone can see what is being said/shown. It’s also important to note that it is much more difficult to understand context, tone, etc. through the web.
Cyber-bullying can cause major problems for young children and teens. Depression, eating disorders, and even suicide are the most common. Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University freshman, leapt off a bridge last year after peers broadcast footage of him allegedly having sex with another man over the Internet.
If these students realized that their behavior would contribute to his suicide, they would have most likely relented. There have also been other cases of suicide due to cyber-bullying such as Megan Meier, who experienced taunting and virtual torture through MySpace and was found hanging from her closet at the age of 14.
Fortunately for young kids, a new tip-line was formed to help with the issue of bullying. Jay Caponigro, a school board member at the South Bend School District in Indiana, makes a statement on the new system which allows both students and parents to text message or email complaints to the front desk: “We really wanted to look at bullying behaviors and how we can help parents and children reduce bullying activity in the schools…. It gives them an opportunity to report directly and anonymously to somebody in the building that lets them know what the incident was.”
Once the front desk receives the text or email, the complaint will be taken under advisement, a
solution to the problem will be created and, if necessary, the complaint will stay on record to help track bullying trends. The system was tested in eight schools in November. It was so successful that it has now been established in many schools. “Since the tip-line was put in place in all schools in January more than 100 tips have come in from those saying they have been picked on and need help.”
Hopefully with the new and improved ways to keep track of bullying, kids will begin to feel safer both at school and at home. If bullying can’t be banished altogether, at least people are coming up with ways it can be kept under control.