Instagram Gives Way to Highest Form of Cyber Bullying
Instagram started as a fun way to post photos about our lives. A delicious bagel in the morning, walking our favorite pet or spending a night at the movies with friends. It all started out innocently enough, and even worked its way into a completely acceptable way to advertise, spread news, promote our own photography skills or start a business.
Unfortunately, not all things can stay as they are, and sometimes there are people who ruin perfectly good things for other people. Social media happens to be one of them.
Evolving Bully Problems
When I was a kid, I definitely got bullied. There were lots of mean girls at my school and I just wasn’t wearing the right clothing brands, I just wasn’t tall enough, and I didn’t know the rules coming from a smaller town.
Fortunately for me, social media wasn’t a problem back then. Girls who didn’t like you made it glaringly obvious by not sitting with you, or passing notes beside you that you weren’t allowed to see. And while that sounds fairly standard and harmless now that I’m 30, the fact that I can still remember how it felt makes me shudder at the thought of what kids are going through today.
Speaking of, it has become more and more obvious that online or “cyber” bullying is the new form of punishment for kids and adults alike. Now bullies can use messaging, commenting and even disappearing messages to taunt and degrade others without any sort of punishment. And the problem is getting worse.
A survey done by Ditch the Label gathered information from 10,020 people ages 12-20. In total, 55% were female, 43% were male, 1% were transgender and 1% identified as other. The survey was taken over a 3-month time span, and all were required to have parent consent before taking part in the survey.
In total, 31% admitted to saying something nasty to someone online, and 13% admitted to starting a rumor about someone else. Based on their own definition of what bullying is, only 12% recognized that they had bullied someone, while the remaining 88% reported they had not.
Do these numbers sound right to you?
More than 50% of the survey takers believed they had been bullied at some point, and half of all of those bullied attributed their appearance as the reason for being attacked. Attitudes towards gender identity or expression was the lowest, at 3%.
Be sure to read over the survey results in detail- there is some very interesting responses and information you might want to know about.
In total, 17% felt they had been cyber bullied, with the most common issue at 68% being that someone had sent a hurtful private message to them through social media. Other big issues included nasty comments on profiles and photos, as well as having rumors posted about them online.
The two most common social media platforms for alleged cyber bullying attacks were Instagram with 42% of problems and Facebook with 37% of problems. More than 70% of those surveyed believe that social media platforms do not do enough to prevent cyber bullying.
A lot of the information taken included questions about photo editing, reasons for attacking others, social media usage in a day, etc. All of the information is very informative but what I can’t ignore is the fact that while many social media users feel badly about themselves online, they continue to try and create an image of themselves that others will praise or respect.
More people want to fit in online, more kids want more likes and positive comments, and many feel that without proper editing of a photo they won’t get the response they want. Half of survey takers felt more confident online, and assumed a different persona behind the screen.
So while I still cringe at the things I’ve been through in my younger years, there’s no denying that even now I still take a second and third glance at a photo before it goes up anywhere. I can’t imagine what it would have been like walking through the halls of high school with things like disappearing snapchat messages and websites dedicated to making fun of someone.
I think it’s important that we take the time to talk to younger audiences about how big of an impact they can have on social media, and how they can use it for good as opposed to bad things.
What do you think? Do you have any suggestions?