It’s key to teach children from an early age to be kind and accepting of others (Photo by Scott & Elaine van der Chijs, used with a Creative Commons license).
Sometimes, the solution lies within the problem. This philosophy has become more and more evident when it comes to acts of cruelty online, and what approach is most effective in stopping teens from attacking their peers on social networks. The proliferation of cyberbullying, explained as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices” is startling; the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2011 that over 16% of students had been victimized electronically, whether through email, chat rooms, websites or texting. Computers and other digital devices provide a platform for around the clock communication.
Cyberbullying cases are an unfortunate reality on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. Consequently, the best method of combatting online bullying takes place on those social networks where it’s occurring. One crucial point is that positive messages digest most effectively in teenagers’ minds when it comes to dealing with cyberbullying on social media. It’s oftentimes difficult for adults to empathize with this sentiment since children are growing up in a far different climate – much more interconnected than past decades with the prevalence and availability of smart phones and computers.
Instagram is a dynamic way to share photos with your friends, but it can be misused (via MySecuritySign.com).
Encouraging responsible and respectful use of the internet and social media is a collective effort. There are a variety of excellent resources, support groups, and campaigns that endorse positivity as a means of curbing bullying on the internet. Mobilizing bystanders to be aware and take a stand when they witness a harassing post or tweet is at the core. However, this is easier said than done. What do you plan on doing to contribute?