With social media and new technology, this generation seems to struggle even more with bullying. The recent suicide of 12-year old Rebecca Sedwick caused by bullying through Facebook and text has brought attention to the power of social media. Does social media perpetuate bullying? And does social media negatively affect teens?
Social Media Bullies: Old vs. New
Before new technology and social media, bullies usually only had access to their victims during the school days and school times. After 4 PM on school days, victims usually were free of criticism and attacks from their bullies. Their home would be a place of peace and they were safe from their bullies. However, social media has turned bullying into a perpetual event for these kids. Even at home they cannot get away from the harassment of their social media bullies because of sites like Facebook and Twitter. Like Rebecca Sedwick, many are harassed also through text. Social media and technology has provided constant access to these victims, changing the dynamics of bullying.
This is what happened with 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick who plunged to her death. She received cruel Facebook messages and harassing texts from former friends:
“nobody cares about u”
“i hate u”
“you seriously deserve to die”
Social Media: Good for Teens?
So is social media a positive environment for teens? People tend to feel more comfortable being honest online and sharing their private information online. Everyone has seen the dramatic event of breakups over Facebook and political debates over Twitter. But oddly enough, most teens believe social media to be a positive and welcoming place for them. It helps them maintain their relationships with friends and family, and be up to date with their lives. Parents also like social media because they can keep up with their children’s’ lives. Many also say that social media has provided a voice for victims that otherwise would not have been heard. Overall, social media is a double edged sword. It can be a breeding ground for social media bullies, but at the same time, it can be a place for social media saviors.