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