Social Media and Bullying

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Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・English ・MLA

The internet and social media are without a doubt wonderful inventions that enable people to interact with the outside world. Because of technological advances across the world, billions of people can now use social media from any computer that can connect to the internet. There are several social media platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snap Chat, to name a handful. A person creates an account on the social media platform and is free to post any details he or she wants. Therefore, most users take advantage of joining the social sites with fake identities and ages because joining these forums is open to a less detailed and personal information. As a result, the social media has become a platform where people, especially teenagers are exposed to bullying, and the perpetrators go unpunished. Therefore, social media sites like Facebook permits their users to intimidate other users without any fear of being punished.

First, social media gives users permission to bully, abuse, and threaten any other users without any fear and remorse because users are allowed to publish any information on their social media pages without asking permission. Facebook is a social sites that give its users the freedom of expression whereby they write anything they feel like without even thinking that it might hurt third parties. All Facebook profiles are always open to the public unless the account owner restricts them. Therefore, those users with the intention of hurting other users will always leave their posts to be public so that their intentions can be accomplished.

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In addition, social media gives users permission to bully, insult, and threaten any other users without the fear punishment because users can create anonymous accounts. Snakenborg John, Van Acker Richard, and Gable Robert note that, when an anonymous account is set up on social media, a user can use the account to threaten, intimidate, and bully other users without being identified because the account does not bear his/her personal information (90). It is easy to abuse other users with such an account because

Facebook allows a user to have many friends from all parts of the world and this means, a majority on the friend's list are strangers, and therefore, it will not be easy to know if the user is real or has a fake account. Hence, many users end up becoming friends with strangers with secret accounts, and this makes them vulnerable to abuse. This is because the user with the anonymous account will take advantage of the friendship shared on the social sites and acquire another user's personal information with the aim of humiliating and intimidating him/her. Even though some people argue that this is not the social media’s fault but again, we join these sites to socialize with people around the world, so, we should be protected. If only Facebook could limit the friend requests sent to only people, we know in real life. This happens because the user does not fear of being punished as they have confidence that they will never be identified since they have an unidentified account.

Facebook also allows users to create groups and add members from all corners of the world without even their knowledge and consent. As a result, the administrator of the group can use the group wall to bully and insult other users without being identified. Such people will gather personal information from another user’s account and use it to bully them on social media groups, and it is sad that these bullies commit these crimes without any fear of punishment because most of them do not have their personal detailed information on Facebook.

Facebook also gives users permission to bully and threaten any other users without the fear of punishment because it lacks a proper way to apprehend the perpetrators. Therefore, the victims have increased the culprits’ confidence to continue cyber bullying any vulnerable user because they know that they will not be reported. They continue conducting the illegal acts on social sites, and many other culprits end up joining them because the social media allows them to commit these crimes. On Facebook, there is an option to report abuse, but again, they take too long to act and reply to the reports. It is unfortunate that most accounts reported on Facebook remain active and this shows their incompetence in protecting their users. As a result, most of the victims end up in depression, even a majority commits suicide because they cannot withstand the intimidation these bullies make them go through, and Facebook is doing nothing serious about it.

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Moreover, social media gives users permission to intimidate and threaten any other users without the fear of penalties because they do not have a quick medium of response for reports of bullying. For instance, on a social site like Facebook, a user can upload a picture or write a comment that is insulting, threatening, or derogatory and after it has already caused harm, he/she deletes it (wordpress.com). Even though the defamatory image or the statement is removed, it has already achieved its purpose of hurting or threatening the other user. It is unfortunate that there can be no evidence to make the user accountable for his/her actions unless screenshots were taken before it was pulled down (Mann 260). This is an example of how the facebook permits users to abuse and intimidate other users, and they go unpunished. Evidence of a crime committed on social media sites can be eliminated, and this gives the cyber bullying culprits the confidence to continue making their mischief because they believe that there is no way they will be caught.

Social media facilitates bullying and threatening without the fear of punishment because most of these sites are privately owned. Facebook only provides an agreement contract whereby a user is only supposed to accept the conditions of the social networking site (which in most cases are never taken seriously), and he/she is free to post anything. According to Barbra Dozier’s blog, this means that there is little that can be done on the many social media bullying because these private institutions do not invest in inspecting the material on their social sites because they created them for monetary gains (wordpress.com). For instance, there are many cases //////////////// Therefore, this gives permission to proceed to bully other users openly because the site owners are doing nothing serious on the issue as the bullies are left unpunished. Nonetheless, if these social networking social sites could insist on verifying all users’ identities before an account is made active, then there could be a reduction of social media bullying.

Even though several social media sites give their users a platform where they can report any form of threats and bullying, the intended purpose has never been achieved. Most of these reports go unnoticed because many users complain on never getting appropriate help (Luxton June, and Fairall 198). As stated earlier, a user can add a defamatory message or photo about another user, and before it is even reported, the message is deleted from the wall. Therefore, even though there are laws created to regulate social media contents, it is hard to find evidence to apprehend a perpetrator. Furthermore, since most of the culprits have anonymous accounts and so, there is no way to identify exactly who is behind the insulting and bullying on social sites and this gives the offenders more confidence to continue with their mischief on social media.

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It is apparent that social media gives users permission to bully, insult, and threaten any other users without the fear of punishment. Facebook allows its users to bully others and they go unpunished because it does not authenticate info given by the account holders as true. As a result, this allows many anonymous account holders to bully, insult and threatens other users openly without the fear of being punished (wordpress.com). Therefore, several things can be done to stamp out these increased incidences of bullying. For instance, introducing strict laws for all social media users whereby anyone who joins any social media site has to verify his/her identity before joining.

Encouraging users to take screenshots of any abuse and reporting them may also help in the reduction of the increased social media crimes that go unreported. Furthermore, creating awareness of the issue at hand can transform into significant steps of creating a safe environment for every social media user (Cassim 12). Even though many users maintain that the internet should remain anonymous, it is vital to introduce very strict online regulations because to make social media a safe environment for all users. According to Manuel, when strict rules are implemented, many social media trolls will cease their mischief, and they will be no more bullying and abuse of Facebook because they will fear being arrested and punished (219).

The Internet is a necessary due to the advancement of technology because people are dependent on the web for several things. Therefore, there is no way we can shut social media sites; however, we can advocate for new regulations that will govern social media use by protecting all users. Choosing to report cyber bullying in a timely manner will help curb social media crimes.

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There is no question that the social media has made it easy for people to connect with the rest of the world. However, close attention should be paid on the darker side of the growing network where there are increased social media bulying with perpetrators remaining unpunished. Social media encourages users to insult, intimidate, and bully other users in several ways without the distress of punishment. According to Barbra Dozier’s blog, most social networking sites are plagued with fake and anonymous profiles and illegitimate photos (wordpress.com). As a result, vulnerable users fall prey of these strangers and become victims of abuse and bullying. In the real world, one has to face the consequences for abusing or bullying another person, but since Facebook is just a virtual version of the real world, people break the rules and abuse and bully others without fear of any serious punishment for their actions. Most users do not even consider online interaction as real, and so they use social media platforms to intimidate others because they are confident that they will get away with it because there is no proper legal prosecution for social media bullying in many countries. So far, there are no stringent internet laws that ensure the social media perpetrators will be punished for their crimes. This issue needs to be addressed soon to stop abuse and bullying and make the internet a safe place for everyone.

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Works Cited

Barbra Dozier. Social Media Allows Users to Insult, Bully, and Threaten Others without Any Fear of Punishment. Babradozier. WordPresss.com. n.d. https://barbradozier.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/social-media-allows-users-to-insult-bully-and-threaten-others-without-any-fear-of-punishment/ Accessed 24. April. 2017.

Cassim, Fawzia. "Formulating Adequate Legislation to Address Cyber-Bullying: Has the Law Kept Pace With Advancing Technology?"South African Journal of Criminal Justice26.1(2013): 1-20. Print.

Luxton, David D., June Jennifer D. and Fairall Jonathan M. "Social Media and Suicide: A Public Health Perspective."American Journal of Public Health,102.S2 (2012): S195-S200.Print.

Manuel, Natasha Rose. "Cyber-Bullying: Its Recent Emergence And Needed Legislation To Protect Adolescent Victims."Loy. J. Pub. Int. L.13 (2011): 219. Print.

Mann, Bruce L. "Social Networking Websites–A Concatenation of Impersonation, Denigration, Sexual Aggressive Solicitation, Cyber-Bullying or Happy Slapping Videos."International Journal of Law and Information Technology, 17.3 (2009):252-267. Print,

Snakenborg, John, Van Acker Richard and Gable Robert A. "Cyberbullying: Prevention and Intervention to Protect our Children And Youth."Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth;55.2 (2011): 88-95. Print.

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