Archives for posts with tag: teenagers

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Social media sites are a great way for teenagers to socialise with their friends. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and Instagram are all social networks that teenagers use to communicate with their friends and others through the Internet. But with the use of these networks increasing daily stories of teenagers coming under attack by cyber bullies and the fatalities because of this is also rising. Parents and teachers are mentors and guardians of children and teenagers; therefore do you think that they should have a better understanding of cyber bullies on the Internet to help guard teenagers against harmful situations?

In October 2013 a 12 year old girl from Florida committed suicide after malicious messages were sent to her via social networking sites. Two girls were later arrested in connection with the death of Rebecca Sedwick; however even after her death more spiteful messages appeared on Facebook clearly showing that the two girls felt no remorse over their actions. The parents of the two girls and the staff of the school came under scrutiny for not taking action earlier to prevent this tragedy as it came out that Rebecca and her mother had apparently reported the bullying to the school before the fatal incident. The police officer that was appointed to the case urged parents to take more responsibility for their children’s actions online. Many of the public believe that the parents of the two girls are to blame as they did not know their teenage daughters activities online and maybe if they knew more about it, they could have prevented the casualty of the young girl. Do you believe this is true?

Another cyber bullying case that caused a teenage suicide is the one about Rehtaeh Parsons, but this time instead of the parents it was the teachers of her school that came under scrutiny for not helping to prevent the fatal incident. Rehtaeh committed suicide after months of torture over social media sites where pictures and videos had surfaced of her being raped by four different boys. When finding out the news her parents did everything they felt they could do to support Rehtaeh, however they felt that the school did not support her and take necessary action within the school. As the pictures and videos were circulating around Rehtaeh’s classmates, she found school unbearable with the constant negative comments made towards her face to face and over the web. Her parent’s felt that the school should have spoken to students about the incident and supported Rehtaeh in anyway they could to make her time at school more bearable. Some of the public feel that if the teachers were more aware of how harmful cyber bullying can be to a person’s emotional and physical state maybe they would have understood and helped her more during this troubling time. Do you believe that the teachers could have done more in this situation?

After hearing about the two different cases on teenage cyber bullying do you think that it is teachers and parents moral duty to be more aware of cyber bullying amongst teens to help prevent further suicides?

Please let us know your thoughts on this subject; all your views are very much appreciated.

R

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In this day and age social networking sites are ever growing in popularity, and play a big part in young people’s social lives. Such media platforms are harmless, when used in the right way; however it appears that social networking sites are host to cyber-bullies. Cyber-bullies hide behind screen names and email addresses, and are often unidentifiable. Unfortunately, cyber-bullying is something that is happening more frequently, with statistics showing that one million teenagers were bullied online in 2011. It is questionable however, whether young people are fueling the fire by putting themselves on social networking sites in the first place? But are they really to blame?

Cyber-bullying can have very severe effects and in some cases lead to suicide. One week before her 16th birthday, Amanda Todd took her life after being victimised on the internet for several years.

Amanda thought to be talking to a boy her own age, which later turned out to be a suspected paedophile. She went on webcam, and as requested she flashed the boy. Little did she know, she was being recorded and things took a turn for the worst. The perpetrator blackmailed Amanda, threatening to upload footage unless she gave him another “show”, and when she refused the footage went viral and was sent to pupils, teachers and parents. She received both verbal and physical abuse, and was called names such as “porn star”. Amanda was taunted and bullied until she was at breaking point and fled, hoping to make a new start somewhere else.

Unfortunately for Amanda, she had not escaped. The online perpetrator followed her wherever she went, creating fake Facebook accounts and befriending people at each new school she attended, sharing the footage. As a result, Amanda became isolated with no one to turn to, and no matter how hard she tried she was unable to remove herself from the situation.

After several suicide attempts, Amanda successfully took her own life in 2012, leaving a video of her story behind on YouTube, and was viewed by millions. You would think that a case like this would make bullies realise the severity of their actions and that it would bring a stop to it. Unfortunately this is not the case, and parents are still at risk of losing their children to cyber bullying. Amanda did not ask for this. Her trusting nature caused her to make a small mistake, which others never allowed her to forget, and haunted her right up until her death.

Daniel Perry, aged 17, experienced something very similar to Amanda. However roles were reversed and he thought to be talking to a girl of his own age for several months through Skype and other websites. One night, Daniel exposed himself on Skype and was later blackmailed with the footage. The perpetrator demanded payment and said that if he failed to “pay up” the footage would be shared with his friends and family. It is also believed that Daniel was urged to kill himself on Q&A social network ASK.FM, and three months later he did.

It can be argued that by willingly exposing themselves online, Amanda and Daniel brought it on themselves. However, they believed to be given attention from someone of their own age, boosting their self-esteem and made them feel wanted. They didn’t ask to be bullied and driven to their deaths. Amanda even tried to remove herself from the situation several times, but it became a viscous, inescapable circle.

It is important to remember that both Amanda and Daniel’s cases are very recent, emphasising that cyber bullying and blackmail is a current, ever growing problem with young people seen as soft users. In these two cases it is clear that the two teenagers became trapped and saw no way out other than to take their own lives. They aren’t the only cases; a study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying. The law would not let a murderer get away with killing someone, so why let a cyber bully get away with causing the death of an innocent young person? Please share your views on this.

Thank you.

A


Amanda Todd’s story

ASK.FM is a Latvia-based social networking site, which was launched in 2010, and has grown in popularity with an astounding figure of 80 million registered users worldwide (2013), half of whom are under the age of 18. This site allows users to ask other users questions, with the option of anonymity. Thus permits anyone to ask personal questions, delving into the privacy of other people’s lives. With this in mind, it is fair to ask whether having such a website in place is ethically correct?

Age is an important factor to consider when it comes to social networking sites, especially with ASK.FM. Facebook for example has an age restriction in place meaning that those under the age of 18 are not allowed to use their site. However ASK.FM’s Terms of Service state that, “Physical persons must be 13 years or older to use this service,” making it more vulnerable to children and adolescents, putting them at risk immediately.

Furthermore, ASK.FM has received an abundance of press attention regarding abusive, bullying and sexualised content. Consequently, the website has been linked to cases in which teenagers have committed suicide for reasons as stated above. Reports show that in just over one year, there were 12 teenage suicides linking to the website, and with messages such as “drink bleach”, “go get cancer” and “go die,” these suicides do not come as a surprise. Comments like these are totally anonymous, making it impossible for the victim to identify their abuser, and therefore difficult to report. The victim is able to block their abuser, yet the abuser is still able to access the user’s profile, enabling them to view all interactions taking place. Online bullies like these are still out there, and remain a danger to anyone using ASK.FM.

Izzy Dix, aged 14 took her life as an outcome of online bullying that took place on ASK.FM. Since her death, Gabbi Dix has created a petition in hope to put an end to cyber bullying, in memory of her late daughter. The petition reached over 12,500 signatures (09 December 2013) and includes a list of other young people who committed suicide for the same reason, and are all aged between the age of 14 and 17. Reports show that as a result of this, the Prime Minister has set out a series of measures that ensure the safety of young people online.

In addition ASK.FM has recently undergone some changes allowing users to opt out of receiving anonymous comments, and now requires an email address from registered users. However, numerous teens have taken their lives as a result of being bullied on this site, so why has ASK.FM only just made these changes? How many more deaths will it take to make them realise that their website is immoral and wrong?

After reading this blog, you may have hundreds of thoughts running through your head. You may wonder whether the users of websites such as ASK.FM are at fault, and are responsible for the comments they receive. However, with some users as young 13, their vulnerability may make them oblivious to such harm. What can be done to put an end to these ambiguous bullies, and bullying as a whole? Do we need more parents like Gabbi Dix to make bullies realise the implications of their actions? Or do parents need to step in and monitor their children’s activity online from the start? Please share your views on this matter. Any contributions would be appreciated.

Thank you.

A

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This info graphic shows the facts and figures on the truth about cyber bullying. It is shocking to see that 1 million children were cyber bullied in the year 2011, a number this high just shows how common it is within a vast amount of people’s day to day life. Knowing how bad it can affect a person both physically and emotionally and how many people have been affected in the past just shows that action needs to be taken to bring awareness to this cause.

Do you think if parents and teachers were more aware of how common this issue is amongst children/teenagers, they would be able to not only be more conscious of if a student or child is going through it, but maybe able to teach them the results it can have on a person to prevent any cyber bullying in the future?

If you have any views on these shocking facts please let us know, we would love to hear them.

R

This video shows the effects that bullying has on a person and their emotional state! Videos posted online about this cause are a great way to bring awareness to it!

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Social media sites and the internet are used daily by cyber bullies to target their victims and could be thought of as negative devices by many, however online campaigners have decided to fight fire with fire and have created online campaigns including videos that have then been posted the web to raise awareness of the effects that cyber bullies have on others. But is there a point in which campaigners efforts to change teenagers actions online are conflicted with being too hard-hitting on such a young age group?

When typing ‘cyber bullying campaigns’ into YouTube it produces a mass amount of campaigns, one that stood out amongst the others was entitled ‘the cyber bullying virus’ and is attached to the blog post below. It shows teenagers at school and how so many people are somehow connected to cyber bullying, whether they are the victims or the online predators. Many people may think that cyber bullying is not as bad as face to face bullying, although in this video it shows just how far a comment on a social media site can hurt an individual. Within this video it compares being a cyber bully to being a virus and when a computer has a virus it ultimately destroys it, just like when a human being has a virus it weakens them physically. In the video a teenage girl is being attacked by the cyber bully virus, therefore demonstrating to the audience how badly a person can be affected when being cyber bullied and the damage it can cause. With the video also showing how easy it is for internet trolls to post vile comments on social networking sites with the use of not only computers but phones too it brings to mind how hard it is to end cyber bullying.

Many of the online pictures and videos which are posted by campaigners about cyber bullies are hard hitting but campaigners believe that they are effective. But, there was one video where the general public felt that campaigners had taken their point too far. The video showed a young female with a needle and thread in her bedroom and then when she looks at herself in the mirror her mouth is sewn up. The caption at the end of the video says ‘If you’re being bullied, who can you talk to?’ The video was in memory of a teenage girl who was cyber bullied over the social networking site Bebo. This was said to be too graphic for teenage viewers because of their age, but campaigners of the video argue that because the rate of teenagers being cyber bullied is so high that teenagers and parents of teens need to know that there are websites and support available.
What are your thoughts about online campaigner’s actions against cyber bullies? Do you think they are morally right to post graphic videos online to change some teenager’s online behaviour or do you think that they have gone too far with such a young age group?

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

R

A great video which shows how badly cyber bullying can affect a teenager. The video compares cyber bullies to a virus, therefore shows the emotional and physical stress it can have on someone.

R

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