Digital media can be used to build or shatter dreams. Unfortunately there are times when digital media is used in a negative way and there are consequences because of this. Cyberbullying, also known as online bullying, is when a child or teenager is harassed, humiliated, embarrassed, threatened or tormented using digital technology (Bullying statistics 2013).
Cyberbullying is difficult to combat because it can happen any time- 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Information can be distributed quickly and anonymously making it difficult to catch the person responsible and delete or recall the information. Because of this there is very little protection against cyberbullying as bullies are able to attack victims even when they’re alone in the comfort of their own home (stopbullying.gov 2015).
Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying. However, because of such rapid changes in trends and teens media usage it makes it difficult to monitor. 80% of young people also believe they’re more likely to get away with bullying online than in real life (InRealLife 2013). This means that teens are more likely to use the internet to target people because of the lower risks associated with being caught.
So what happens when things get out of hand… Like any kind of bullying, cyberbullying can have some serious outcomes, in some cases resulting in death. Its being brought to our attention the seriousness of cyber bullying and the need to take action to prevent it with things like websites, campaigns, charities, hotlines and schools and parents making a stand. Only 1 in 10 victims will tell a parent or a trusted adult about the abuse. This can be for many reasons including: fear, embarrassment, shame, worry stress, anxiety or denial.
Unless something is done about cyberbullying effects can be detrimental on teenagers lives resulting in things such as: low self esteem, self harm, skipping school, drug or alcohol use & depression.
One well known extreme case of cyberbullying was the Amanda Todd story. In the following clip you see Amanda age 15 tell her story through the use of flashcards of how she was bullied tormented and pushed to breaking point. Amanda uploaded her video to youtube on the 7th September 2012 but sadly committed suicide just weeks after it was posted.
This story shows the power of the internet and shows how easily someone so young can be exposed an humiliated to the point that they feel the need to end their own life. It also highlights the loneliness that and desperation that some teenagers are secretly feeling.
The 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey finds that 15% of high school students (grades 9-12) were electronically bullied in the past year (Centers for disease control and prevention 2014) .
If you or know anyone you know is being affected by online bullying there is help and support available. Simply click on the image below and it will take you to a website I personally found really useful:
BULLYING STATISTICS., 2013. Cyber bullying statistics. [online]. Bullying statistics. Available from: http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying.html [Accessed 30 March 2015].
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION., 2014. Adolescent and School Health. [online]. Atlanta: USA.Gov. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm [Accessed 1 April 2015].
STOPBULLYING.GOV., 2015. What is Cyberbullying. [online]. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Available from: http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/index.html [Accessed 29 March 2015].
THESOMEBODYTOKNOW., 2012. My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm. [online video]. 7 September. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOHXGNx-E7E [Accessed 1 April 2015].