Bullying can be referred to the unwanted and aggressive behavior that is experienced among people which may be influenced by the power imbalance. The bullying tends to affect those who are bullied negatively. For an action to be considered as bullying, it must be aggressive and includes there must be an imbalance of power such as physical strength, access to information or popularity to be able to control or harm other people. The bullying behavior tends to happen more than once and have the potential to occur in the future. Actions which can be regarded as bullying includes making threats, spreading rumors about a person, attacking of other people physically or verbally and excluding an individual from a group on purpose. Bullying occurs in three primary forms which are verbal bullying, social bullying, and physical bullying. Social media and the internet have played a primary role in changing the landscape of bullying. The internet is being considered to be the main channel where bullying is taking place (Rooney, 2012).
The internet has in some way made the world to be a rural place when it comes to bullying. Before the introduction of the web and social media sites bullying would end once a person withdrew from that particular environment. For example, if the bullying occurred at school a person would know that once outside the school environment there is no bullying unlike today with the access of the new technology one will keep on receiving the irritating messages and pictures irrespective of one's location. The new technology has resulted to bullying being dynamic, hard to contain and also harder for it to be ignored by those on the social media sites. If a person happens to be harassed on their social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter all your circles or friends on that particular site will have access to that specific information as long as they have access to ones network. The endless stream of notification results to a person being a victim of victimization. The social media has made it hard for a person to get away from being bullied. Most teens wanted to stay connected to the internet and the various social media sites hence making it hard for them to get away from the bullying since they are always connected to the internet. Bullying happens in fewer occasions while it is face-to-face as compared to when it is behind the scenes (Hart & Caven, 2013).
The social media has made cyber bullying to increase which has had an enormous impact on both the adults and children. Cyberbullying has resulted to individuals getting humiliated, ignored or even being the subject of gossip on the social media sites which happens at least once in a week. Cyber bullying victims are more prone to higher levels of mental strain and also have a lower level of job satisfaction as compared to those who are subjected to the traditional types of bullying. It is because the traditional bullying such as an undermining colleague at work at the end of the day an individual can manage to put that out of mind. With the new technological advancement, a person persecutes you through use of social media, email or even anonymous comments and it becomes hard to avoid them or even dismiss. The internet has significantly increased the consequences of bullying as it increases the risks of individuals who are victims of cyber bullying to think of ending their lives through committing suicide. Some individuals have committed suicide as a result of cyber bullyings such as Hannah Smith and Amanda Todd. It makes the people to feel like the whole world knows what is happening in their lives. Most young people are not in a position to control their emotions which have been caused by severe bullying over time. Online bullying has also resulted in depression, low self-esteem issues, isolation, and self-harm (White, 2013).
The internet has not only made bullying hard to escape from but also hard to identify it. Some people have been turned to be bullies who would otherwise not be by the internet since they believe that it is difficult for them to be identified or located where they are. The internet and social media have enabled bullies to de-personalize other individuals as they are both not seen. The social media has increased the distance that is perceived between peers. Technology has made it hard for bullying to be addressed in schools. Through the use of mobile phones and also social media students can easily bully each other outside the classroom without being noticed through message boards or instant messages. People have been immersed in a world where most of the things are done online, and most of the consequences are not identified hence individuals are easily deceiving themselves about what they are doing. People can use fake names, impersonate other people or use phony accounts while bullying to hide their identity.
People have been given a platform for public shaming by the internet and social media. It has contributed towards the rise in public shaming whereby the individuals who are on the internet unite to criticize what another person has done or said on Facebook, twitter,instagram, and other social media sites. People who are involved in public shaming feel justified to use the abusive language and actions and that the other deserves the harsh treatment from them due to their bad choices. Bullying on the social media has made bullies to have more courage and show fewer signs of empathy. Most people who practice cyberbullying do not have an insight towards their behavior and show lack of self-awareness. They do not know how their words, posts, actions and the photos they post online affect another person (Rooney, 2012).
In conclusion, it is easier for bullying to occur through the social media. No matter how people try to control their privacy settings, it is hard to completely not being at risk of cyber bullying. Bullying through the social media can be through posting of abusive posts on another persons wall, posting of negative comments on the pictures of a person, making fun of someone else through the use of pictures and videos and hacking of other peoples account and making posts so as the owner of the account can be held accountable. The constant connection to the world through the internet results to the continuous bullying. It is important for parents, educators and other adults to teach children on how they can protect themselves from the bullying on social media and how they can interact with each other in a friendly way. Social media bullying can have long lasting effects on a person.
Hart, L., & Caven, K. (2013). The bullying antidote: Superpower your kids for life.
Rooney, A. (2012). Bullying. London: Encyclopedia Britannica.
White, S. (2013). An Introduction to the Psychodynamics of Workplace Bullying. Karnac Books.
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