A Battle Against Keyboard Warriors

It’s the 21st century now so it’s common to see people with multiple electronic devices and using social media on a daily basis. But are the negatives of social media going to be ignored? With the increasing amount of social media becoming available to the world, the amount of victims to cyber bullying is also rising. It has spread widely among youth, with 42% reporting that they have been victims, according to a 2010 CBS News report.

Cyber bullying can come in many forms, but the most common are direct attacks such as:

  • Stealing passwords and posing as the person under their personal account
  • Creating websites with insulting or embarrassing content that are available to a larger crowd
  • Sending mass emails and/or text messages with embarrassing content

Social media has such a big influence on everyone, especially the younger generation. Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Snapchat and Twitter are just a few of the major social media platforms that are available for cyberbullies to use.

Image result for social media

The rise of the digital revolution can be overwhelming and around 2/3 of the world’s internet users are active on social media. This means that around 2 billion people all over the world have access to social media and are using it on a regular basis. (Richards, 2016) Social media has such a big audience and a very big influence on everyone, especially today’s youth. Cyberbullying is different to other forms of bullying because it’s hard to escape. People all over the world, at school and at home have access to social media so cyberbullying isn’t something you can simply get rid of just by turning off your phone. Reports show that 1 in 8 Australians experience cyberbullying (Bully zero Australia foundation, 2016). One of the negatives about social media is that anyone can own an account and have access to private information, any information that is shared on your account (name, age, email etc.) can be easily accessed. Because of social media’s huge online audience, if someone was to post something bad about you then its available for a lot of people to view or comment on as well. A simple post of a photo on social media can be saved, or sent to others within seconds and almost impossible to get rid of, forever.

Another negative point of social media are fake accounts. Fake accounts are so common now and are used for cyberbullying because people can hide behind their computer screens and don’t have to confront someone face to face. All major social media websites have them, and people can use them to post things in another person’s name, or even use different photos to scam people. A lot of major social media sites have fake accounts and are having a hard time trying to identify and eliminate the problem. Facebook has recently reported that close to 10% of its accounts may be fake (nobullying.com, 2016). A “keyboard warrior” is a common phrase in this century and is used to describe a person that uses a keyboard and social media to express their negative thoughts/opinions towards someone else online (Urban Dictionary, 2006). By creating a fake account, the bully is able to hide behind an anonymous name and in most cases, get away with the harassment without being caught. According to a DoSomething.org survey, 70% of student’s report having witnessed “frequent bullying online” and over 40% have been victims of online bullying themselves. The vast majority (over 80%) of respondents indicated that online bullying is “easier to get away with” than in-person bullying. (Kwan, 2015)

There isn’t anything on social media that stops people from making fake accounts and makes it really difficult to eliminate the problem. Too often people are being scammed, cat fished (luring someone into a relationship using a fake online profile) or harassed by an anonymous person or fake account, and while it may be a small joke for one person, it could have a serious effect on another.

Cyberbullying has the ability to effect someone’s psychological, emotional and physical health. StopBullying.gov reports that youth who are bullied have a higher risk of depression and anxiety. The amount of teenage suicides and diagnoses of depression and anxiety cause by cyber bullying are increasing gradually every year (Bully zero Australia Foundation, 2016). Having a social media account gives every person online, exposure to cyberbullying and some people might not even notice. Just like other forms of bullying, the major cases of cyberbullying can cause people to have possible thoughts of suicide, or committing suicide; for example, the story of a 14 year old girl called Megan Meier. Megan was overweight for her age and throughout her high school life, was bullied over MySpace, another major social media website. Her ex-best friend and her mother made a fake account, pretending to be a boy and became Megan’s online boyfriend. They continued to post things about Megan online and it resulted with Megan hanging herself in the closet. One of the worst things about this story was the involvement of her ex-best friend’s mother. This just shows that cyberbullying isn’t just restricted to adolescents but has the negative influence on adults as well. More information on cyberbullying needs to be shared in schools all over the world so victims have a better knowledge of the dangers of social media, and what they can do to reduce the amount of cyberbullying.

Megan’s story: https://nobullying.com/cyber-bullying-stories/

Social media does have a lot of positive impacts with things such as education and communication, but because it has such a big audience, there is constant exposure to cyberbullying every time you log on. The growing amount of cyberbullying cases is confronting, and with that the increasing amount of people with depression and anxiety, teenage suicides and exposure of it on social media. Cyberbullying has become a common term and because of social media, the problem won’t be eliminated anytime soon unless the social media sites find a way to monitor what’s going on and are able to reduce the amount of cyberbullying.

Bibliography

Australian Human rights commission. (2011). Australian Human rights commission. Retrieved from cyberbullying: what it is and how to get help: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/cyberbullying-what-it-and-how-get-help-violence-harassment-and-bullying-fact-sheet

Bully zero Australia foundation. (2016). Retrieved from cyber bullying: http://bzaf.org.au/cyber-bullying/

Kwan, M. (2015). Why social networking is bad . Retrieved from Lovetoknow: http://socialnetworking.lovetoknow.com/Reasons_Why_Social_Networking_Is_Bad

Nobullying.com. (2016, October 19). Cyber Bullying Statistics. Retrieved from Nobullying.com: https://nobullying.com/cyber-bullying-statistics-2014/

Richards, R. (2016, April 21). How many people use social media? Retrieved from sysomos: https://blog.sysomos.com/2016/04/21/how-many-people-use-social-media/

Urban Dictionary . (2006, September 27). Keyboard Warrior. Retrieved from Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Keyboard%20Warrior

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2 thoughts on “A Battle Against Keyboard Warriors

  1. This is a very interesting perspective on social media but I particularly don’t believe in the topic of choice. Yes cyberbullying exists, but it is so easy to not pay attention to these cyberbullies and you can easily find ways around them. I personally believe that cyberbullying is almost a myth, cyberbullying can be so easily avoided by just turning off your device. I understand that you say in paragraph 2 that you cant just turn off your phone, but you say this because a lot of people over the world and at school have social media. This doesn’t mean anything because getting rid of your phone would fix this problem.

    Even if the idea of cyberbullying does exist, I believe that the good uses of social media outweigh the bad uses. There are so many things that social media does in our lives that are good for us, it allows us to message people easily and If you are getting abused with ‘rude messages’ then you can very easily just block this person. Almost every single messaging app or website have a block button that allows you to just never get a message from that person again. Social media is one of the best things in the 21st century and there are a few bad things about it, but I don’t believe cyberbullying is one of them. Cyberbullying and fake accounts are so easy to counter as the block button is just one click away.

  2. Maya, the first thing that caught my attention was your title. After reading the entire blog I thought that they worked perfectly together. The points you raised about cyberbullying I felt brought to light the important issues that needed addressing. I agree with the point you made in paragraph 2, that “cyberbullying isn’t something you can simply get rid of just by turning off your phone.” Ignoring the fact that cyberbullying is occurring wont help solve the issue. I believe that it needs to be addressed and not left alone, because if it were not addressed then the bully may feel as though they have won and pushed the victim to the point where they cannot have social media anymore. Although it is possible to block bullies on social media sites and change your mobile phone number, bullying is relentless. Bullies will find other ways to reach them, this could include verbal or physical bullying. It’s as though it becomes a challenge to them, and the scariest part about this is that they don’t stop until the victim takes their own life. I also liked how you chose to mention the story about Megan Meier. It made me feel really angry, not only because Megan hung herself but because a grown adult didn’t even have the sense to teach her daughter about bullying, instead joined in and helped drive Megan to suicide.

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