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On our blog we have previously written about whether celebrities are more at risk of coming under attack of cyber bullies than the general public; however, what happens when celebrities ARE the cyber bullies? As previously said the popularity of social networks is growing all the time and now fans can follow their favourite stars and see their daily tweets about anything and everything. With some megastars having millions of followers it just shows how their tweets can reach so many people worldwide. As celebrities are thought of as role models, it is normally the case that their fans will imitate their behaviour. With that in mind it is thought that some celebrities are conveying a positive light on a very damaging action.

As portrayed in September 2013, Rihanna was accused of cyber bullying a fellow star, singer Teyana Taylor. Rihanna posted on the social networking site Instagram a video of her hairdresser wearing a wig much like Teyana’s hair and singing a song which the singer had covered.  When Teyana tweeted her dismay over the unprovoked attack Rihanna wrote “I REFUSE to help your career…you will NOT get an @ from me! Not til you pay me! #nomorefreepromo #iRefuse.” And then later tweeted “I hate broke bitches.” The tweets were later deleted, suggesting the star had realised the damage that she had caused. Some feel that Rihanna made it look to her millions of fans that it was ok to talk to and treat a person this way, surely as a role model that sort of treatment to another person should not be publicised, as some followers could think that it is acceptable to treat a person that way?

Another example of a celebrity that has been accused of cyber bullying is Perez Hilton; he made a name for himself and his fortune by posting vulgar pictures and stories on his blog and Twitter about stars. He gained millions of followers from his offensive behaviour; he even tried targeting certain stars about their sexual preference. Celebrities and the public came out to say that he was thought to be a cyber bully and when he caught wind of this he said he was determined to change his ways. Nevertheless, he had by then gained his millions of followers and publicity so surely they were rewarding him for being a cyber bully?

Many think that celebrities are role models to others and therefore have a great amount of power over millions of people worldwide. Some fans will do anything to be like their beloved icons, dress like them, speak like them, and act like them. Therefore, with certain stars publicising cyber bullying it could increase the amount of internet trolls as fans could think that behaving like that is acceptable.

Do you think it is ethically moral for celebrities to publicise their cyber bullying and let their fans think that behaving like that is the right way to act?

Please let us know your opinion on this matter; all your comments are appreciated.

R

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It’s a problem that is continuing to occur, especially with social media becoming more and more popular with young people as a way to connect with many others on the internet. Unfortunately, recent reports and studies have shown that cyber bullying is on the rise, which is the opposite of what needs to happen. Childline, the UK’s leading children’s helpline charity, has seen a huge increase in the number of children contacting them about concerns of online bullying. It saw 4,507 cases of cyberbullying in 2012-13, up from 2,410 in 2011-12. But what can be done to stop this? One of the biggest and most difficult questions to ask when looking into cyber bullying is whether the responsibility is on the social network for the safety of the users of the site, or whether the responsibility is on the decisions and actions a child makes by using a social networking site. 

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC charity, which runs ChildLine, said: “The issues facing children today are very different from those that faced us as children”. This statement really highlights the fact that in this new social media age, children face many more vulnerabilities by being so exposed on the web, in contrast to the adult generation who didn’t have the technology which would have allowed for this to happen. 

With the problem of cyber bullying continuing to happen, affecting many children and teenagers not only nationally, but internationally, is it fair to say something really does need to change?

E

It’s a topic with many differing viewpoints, and can be looked at from a range of perspectives, but the same question remains with the problem of teenage cyber bullying; can parents of teenagers using the internet to abuse and harass others be held at all responsible for their child’s actions? In this day and age, its near enough impossible for a parent to know what their child is doing every time they are online, with so many different social networking sites available. It therefore begs the question of how parents can monitor their child’s online presence without infringing on their privacy which may push their child away.

When it comes to cyber bullying, a term commonly known for its frequency in the news and media today, with increasing numbers of teenagers in the news committing suicide over internet bullying, parent’s responsibility and accountability for their child’s movements poses an interesting argument. On one hand, it can be contended that when it comes to a teenager using the internet, who is still technically a child, under the care and guardianship of their parents, a parent should be aware of what their child is getting up to on the web, making sure that they are using the internet for a positive purpose and not using any sites that could potentially put their child in danger. It could be said that a child’s behaviour is seen as a reflection on their parents and the upbringing they have had, so when a child is using the internet for a negative purpose, to taunt, tease and harass another child, is it reasonable for parents to take the blow? Tina Meier, mother of Megan Meier, a thirteen year old teenager who committed suicide after being bulled via MySpace voiced her opinion, stating; “is it important for us to hold parents accountable for their children’s actions? “Yes. But it’s impossible for parents to be there 24 hours a day.”

On the other hand, it could be disputed that a child’s online behaviour should bear no reflection on the parents. The rights to privacy and the ability to use the internet freely can be out of the control of parents, as how can a parent be expected to watch over what their child does online every minute they are using the internet? In some cases, it’s just not feasible. Similarly, it can be argued that the way a child behaves can’t be blamed on the parents of their child, as parents can’t possibly govern their child 24 hours a day, making sure they are acting appropriately. Casey M, a 17 year old cyber bullying advocate from New York said that “the more that parents try to control what their kids are doing online, the more sneaky kids get, and the less parents know what their kids are doing online”.

It’s easy to judge a parent on the way their child behaves, but what has to be considered is how far a parent can go when it comes to monitoring their child’s online profiles and presence. When you were a teenager, would you have been happy for your guardians to watch over what you were doing online?

It’s a tricky and sensitive subject, especially with teenagers who use the internet to bully others when they are still under the care of their parents, and still technically a child. With regards to laws and punishment, would it be ethical to enforce a law punishing parents when their child is a perpetrator of cyber bullying? This is an interesting question and could spark many more debates on the topic.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below, any input would be greatly appreciated.

 

Hello,

Welcome to our brand new anti cyber bullying blog. We’re three UK students in our third year of University, who are dedicated and passionate about the issue of cyber bulling. The aim of this blog is to get people talking about this issue; any comments, opinions, or personal experiences are encouraged and appreciated. Although this blog isn’t going to stop bullying or trolling on the internet, we hope it’s a step in the right direction, and a place where people can come to share their thoughts on the topic.

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Thanks, E, A and R