When I was at school I remember witnessing fights in the playground and students being called names in the classroom; this was bullying as I knew it. Nowadays, due to the rise of technology in our day to day lives, bullying is becoming more and more common online. It is now a major issue, but cyberbullying, as it is known, has become a particular problem on social networking sites, specifically Facebook. This blog post and visual essay will discuss cyberbullying in relation to Facebook, with focus on what cyberbullying is, where it can happen online, the different types of cyberbullying and the effects it can have on its victims.
Cyberbullying has been described as “any form of bullying which takes place online or through your mobile phone” (Bullying UK, 2010). However, as we are now growing up in an increasingly digital economy, cyberbullying is becoming more prevalent due to children having easier access to technology and social media. I, personally, have access through my iPhone, iPad and laptop as do the majority of others these days, which makes cyberbullying more common. Those who are guilty of cyberbullying do so in order to upset, threaten or embarrass someone. It can in some ways be worse than physical bullying as the information can be spread rapidly to a vast audience causing the victim more humiliation and hurt (The I In Online, 2010).
Cyberbullying can occur almost anywhere online and through most forms of technology, including social networking sites, email, blogs and texts, to name a few. But, as mentioned previously, it is becoming more common on social networking sites. Research shows that 39% of teens who use social networking sites have been bullied in some way in comparison with 22% of online teens who don’t use these sites. This highlights that these sites are the main ground for online bullying to take place (Gilkerson, 2012). Cyberbullying is specifically established on Facebook – one of the most popular social networking sites, which has an average of 900 million visitors each month (eBiz, 2014). The issue of cyberbullying on this site was highlighted when one million children reported being bullied here between 2010 and 2011 (Consumer Reports, 2011).
Cyberbullying can occur in many forms, all of which have negative impacts on the victims. Three of the most common types of cyberbullying are: Harassment, Flaming and Outing. Below are some definitions of these terms as described by the End to Cyberbullying Organization (ETCB, 2011):
Harassment – This is where the bully sends vicious and aggressive messages to someone, usually occurring on a regular basis.
Flaming – This has been described as being similar to harassment but occurs when people are having an online argument and the bully directs offensive comments or images at the victim.
This form of cyberbullying has been noticed on Facebook a lot and mostly occurs on ‘open groups’ on the website (Sophie, 2012).
Outing – This is where the bully leaks personal data about an individual such as information, images or videos.
Every form of cyberbullying has negative effects on the victims including low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and the most serious effect of feeling suicidal (Gordon, 2014). Anxiety and depression usually occur together and are the most common effects of cyberbullying, mostly as a result of decreasing self-confidence. In terms of feeling suicidal, the victims usually feel worthless and that this is their only way to escape from the bullying (Gordon, 2014).
Unfortunately, there are many cases like this including the story about Lewis Thelwall, a 19 year old photography student. When two girls posted vicious and untrue rumours about Lewis on Facebook it caused him serious distress and upset. As Facebook is an extremely popular site, rumours are able to be spread rapidly and to a huge number of people, encouraged by the options to ‘like’ and ‘share’ images and statuses. After the online abuse, Lewis committed suicide and a coroner urged people to think of the consequences when posting comments about others online (Arkell, 2013).
Here, Khushal Shah tells his story about how he was bullied through the site, Facebook. Luckily, for him, he came out on top and now campaigns to stop cyberbullying. Khushal explains how it feels to be cyberbullied and the effects it has on victims. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK0ZwaOIwvU
Due to the ever expanding digital world, I think people need to be made more aware of the dark side of technology, where people’s privacy can be abused and their feelings damaged. Cyberbullying is an issue that has to be taken seriously due to the large number of people who fall victim to it and the serious effects it can have on them. Overall, it is important to think before you speak, or in this case, type.
Below is the link to my video for the visual essay which pin points the main ideas of this blog post:
Arkell, H. (2013). Coroner warns of dangers of Facebook after student, 19, targeted by young women bullies online hanged himself. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2513782/Facebook-bullies-led-suicide-student-19-hanged-himself.html
BreakingWorldNews. (2013). Cyber-bullying: One teenager’s experience. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK0ZwaOIwvU
Bullying UK. (2010). What is cyber bullying? Retrieved from http://www.bullying.co.uk/cyberbullying/what-is-cyberbullying/
Consumer Reports. (2011). Bullying, Cyberbullying & Suicide Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.meganmeierfoundation.org/statistics.html
eBiz. (2014). Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites. Retrieved from http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-networking-websites
ETCB Organization. (2011). 5 Different Types of Cyberbullying. Retrieved from http://www.endcyberbullying.org/5-different-types-of-cyberbullying/
Gilkerson, L. (2012). Bullying Statistics: Fast Facts About Cyberbullying. Retrieved from http://www.covenanteyes.com/2012/01/17/bullying-statistics-fast-facts-about-cyberbullying/
Gordon, S. (2014). What Are the Effects of Cyberbullying? Retrieved from http://bullying.about.com/od/Cyberbullying/a/What-Are-The-Effects-Of-Cyberbullying.htm
Sophie, A. (2012). Flaming on Facebook. Retrieved from http://essay.utwente.nl/62439/
The I In Online. (2010). Cyber Bullying. Retrieved from http://www.theiinonline.org/secondary-schools/competition/cyber-bullying/
Torres, J.C. (2013). Cyberbullying. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/61626678@N07/9109171738/
Unsplash. (2014). Sadness. Retrieved from http://pixabay.com/en/sad-depressed-depression-sadness-505857/