Case study: Cyber Bullying – But they’re just kids?

It’s a compelling argument. Kids don’t know any better.. or do they? It’s empowering, it’s anonymous and it’s dangerous. Where we are given the chance to compete on a level playing field,  yet with complete ignorance.

‘I’m too scared to go to school, too scared I will see the ‘popular’ girls. When I go home, my social media accounts are full of abuse and mockery. I’m too scared to be me’.

These are the words of an anonymous schoolgirl from Manchester, England. At just 14 years old, the girl is exposed to the inherent dangers associated with childhood bullying. Issues such as anxiety and depression are disturbingly common for children between 11 and 15, often as a result of deliberate acts of bullying. Perhaps what is even more disturbing is the continual reluctance of victims to seek help. This highlights the flaws in current support networks, where victims feel that speaking up results in a detrimental outcome.

Despite this, it is surprising to note that there is insufficient legislation, awareness and propaganda to educate children on this current issue. It is difficult to understand where the blame lies when a child is subjected to cyber bullying. Do parents need to be held accountable for the actions of their child? Perhaps the school for their negligence? Or is it simply up to a naive schoolchild, whose greatest claim to fame is the ability to inflict fear into the lives of their peers.

It is interesting to observe how these issues are portrayed in the media. It is even more interesting to question what effect this has on society, if any.
Since the introduction of programs such as Facebook and Twitter, children between 11-15 are more than 25% likely to experience bullying of some form. This is due to the fact that a child is vulnerable at any time, with the ability to be targeted on any given level…24 hours a day.

The media often position an audience to ‘sympathise’ rather than ‘empathise’, hence why the heart of the problem is evaded. Appealing to the human sense of morality, as apposed to challenging a sense of productivity. We take comfort knowing the right from wrong, but lack the intuition to make an active difference. We live in a complacent society, taking for granted that the precise tool used to create this anxiety; in essence, should be one which promotes inclusiveness.

Social media is incredibly powerful. When misused, it has the potential to inflict significant trauma upon an individual.

The story of Joe provides insight on the dangers of cyber bullying in schools. The video itself however, is an advertisement of how the same entity can be used to spread awareness and encourage victims that there is a positive outcome awaiting those who seek help. I intend to follow up on this case study, so feel obliged to watch, read and comment your thoughts. I look forward to hearing some different opinions

Alex

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About alexdebs

Second year Bachelor of Communications and Media studies student at the University of Wollongong. I am an aspiring journalist with a passion for sport, music and travel.
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3 Responses to Case study: Cyber Bullying – But they’re just kids?

  1. zer532 says:

    You raise a good point about the 24-hour accessibility of cyber-bullying. That really emphasises the relentless nature of such abuse, which I think is often overlooked. I also watched the Joe advertisement and, although it showed the bullying’s incessant nature, I thought it was too soft to be effective. The unremarkable pop song playing in the background to censored portrayals of cyber bullying whip-lash wouldn’t raise alarm bells for young people today. This advertisement speaks to the aforementioned sympathisers, rather than empathisers that need to tackle this issue. Rather than showing young people cheesy resolution, it would be far more effective to paint the worst case scenario in a realistic format. Media platforms shouldn’t be shying away from things like children ending their lives because of bullying. This would really drive home the message of cyber-bullying impact on others. I also agree with you, the internet has a lot of un-tapped potential to connect rather than disconnect others. I found this advertisement to be more effective than that of the feel-good Joe story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdQBurXQOeQ

    Like

  2. I can relate a lot to the account given by the young girl in England. Going through school with social media platforms holding such power and dominance regarding socialisation, I found it somewhat difficult to fit in. Seeing images of young girls that were trying to act older than they were, whilst at the same time running down other girls that didn’t yet care about make up or boys, etc. made it extremely hard to be myself. The fear of ridicule and isolation had me tiptoeing around for most of the time. You have touched on a great point in mentioning the 24 hours in which a victim is vulnerable as it is easy to relate to the constant fear of something being posted or messaged to you. But in a way, I think it should be mentioned that bullying can come in the form of self abuse from being subjected to unrealistic goals and expectations presented by those that dominate social media platforms and strive for “likes”, no matter the cost. Really great post, I enjoyed reading it!

    Liked by 1 person

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