(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Cyber Bullying: A Whole New Open Door
By Kimberly Loidolt
The cyber world is one that has become a very important part of our daily lives as people who live in the 21st century. For many, social media is the first thing that we do when we wake up, and the last thing we do before we fall asleep. According to Social Media Today, teens now spend up to nine hours a day on social media sites, from Instagram to Twitter to blog sites like Tumblr, and out of those teens, 25% of them are being actively cyber bullied.
The world of social media is a tricky one to navigate. It’s where people post pictures of good times with friends and family, their pets, a delicious looking lunch, and that bomb selfie that they took in the bathroom mirror. On social media sites, people post the good. No one ever posts the real; the good, the bad and the ugly. This causes for a false façade for almost everyone online. For example, someone could be alone, crying in their room but pull up a selfie from a week ago and post it with the caption “Look good, feel good,” but no one knows the truth. Not to mention the hype that comes along with comparing yourself to others. “Oh that girl is so much prettier and skinnier than me,” but she was just holding her breath in that photo and it took 28 tries to find one that she liked enough to post. Honestly, social media is fake. That is, in my opinion, the biggest problem with social media.
Another big issue that goes along with this “curtain” that people put up over social media is the issue that people are getting left out. Nothing sucks more than logging on to Snapchat and seeing story after story of all your friends at a girl’s or guy’s night out, and you somehow missed the invite. This happens all over the world all the time. Social media has a tricky way of getting under our skin and making us feel like we are less than those on our feed. Whether it be that you weren’t invited, or that you’re not as pretty as the girl who just posted her latest haircut.
Here is what my mom had to say on the subject drawing from my personal experience being cyber bullied:
Teens today have it hard already. People everywhere expect them to be adults all while still having fun like a kid should, and then you throw in the mix of social media and the expectations that come with that and it’s just a recipe for disaster. I had to watch my daughter go through cyber bullying for a while during her high school career and the worst thing about it is that there isn’t much that I could do to help her. There are so many options now with anonymous accounts that even when I tried to call the company they told me that there was nothing they can do. It’s ridiculous that this is something that is happening all over the world and there isn’t much that can be done.”
According to nobullying.com, 95 percent of teens that witnessed bullying on social media report that others, like them, have ignored it, and only half of those being bullied actually tell anyone about it.
I mean honestly, I don’t think that social media should be banned or deleted because it is such a big part of our lives today. But as someone who has been on the receiving end of cyber bullying, I ask you to try and be cautious about what you say and post online; you could be hurting someone’s feelings without even knowing that you’re doing so. It is so easy to type something that could be mean without even realizing it. So please, be extra nice to those on your feed, and don’t look into the small stuff as much– sure, your friends might have gone out without you, but they still love you, I’m sure of it.