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The Dangers of Cyber Bullying

by Alexandra Timpa, Reporter

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It’s 2017 and the amount of technology we have is incredible. Devices such as phones, tablets, and computers have all been created to make our lives easier. In a matter of seconds, we can have the answer to any question appear on the screen of our phone.

However, these devices aren’t always used for good. Sure, they can come in handy when we need to Google a question or text a friend, but the technology we have is making it easier and easier for people, especially teens, to bully each other.

When you think of bullying, physical fighting or talking face to face might come to mind, but thanks to all the forms of communication that we have now such as texting, social media, and online chat rooms, the way of bullying has changed. Cyber bullying is the new face of bullying.

Cyber bullying is the use of an electronic device to bully another person. This could include sending demeaning or threatening text messages or posting rude or embarrassing pictures of another person.

Cyber bullying is most common amongst teenagers. An article written by the New York Times states that girls are twice as likely to cyberbully or be a victim of cyber bullying, but it is no stranger to boys either.

It is very rare that you will come across a teen who does not have some form of electronic device or internet access. With that being said, 73% of teens in America own a smartphone and that number is only growing. The more teens that have access to a phone, the more chances there are for them to start cyber bullying. Posting that mean picture or sending that hurtful text is only a click away because teens are pretty much attached to their cell phone.

Cyber bullying is not a subject to take lightly. What could start off as just posting one picture as a joke could lead to a person committing suicide. The possibilities of cyber bullying are endless.

According to an article written by www.stopbullying.gov “ Cyber bullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reach a kid even when he or she is alone. It can happen any time of the day or night.”

The effects of being cyberbullied can really take a toll on a young teenager’s self esteem and can lead to the unthinkable.

Often times when a victim of cyber bullying has had enough of the harassing texts and hurtful posts, they can feel alone and destroyed. The only thing they can think to do is commit suicide. After all, if so many people are typing all these horrible things about you, that person might start to think that it is actually true. Statistics show that about 25% of cyber bullied kids think about suicide and about half of those kids actually go through with it. These kids go through with killing themselves because many are often scared to open up to their parents or to a teacher at their school. One way schools can help prevent cyber bullying is to stop it before it gets out of hand. Creating a safe environment, implementing rules and policies, and educating their students on the topic are all way to help contain this issue.

So why do teens cyberbully in the first place? According to an article written by www.nobullying.com, “Over 81% of teens admit that bullying is easier to get away with online.” Most of the time, cyber bullying is anonymous or goes unknown. It is easy for kids to create social media accounts under fake names or make hate pages about a person anonymously. This is why the cyberbully rates are so high. Many teens are too scared to bully a person face to face which is why they do it online. Half the things cyber bullies say online are things that they would never say in person. It’s easy for anyone to hide behind a screen.

It is obvious that cyber bullying is a big issue that can be very scary. Once something is posted online, it is very hard to delete or make that post go away. Something posted online can be seen and resent to tons of people in a matter of seconds.

Cyberbully laws have been passed and schools have started to take action to deal with this issue, but that doesn’t mean it has gone away completely.

It may seem hard for a teen to think that they can help with this problem, but there are ways. Informing someone if they see any form of cyber bullying online is one way to help. Also, you can be the bigger person in that kind of situation. Just because your friends are being mean to someone online doesn’t mean that you have to join in. You don’t want to be the reason that an innocent teen ends their life. Think before you type.

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The Dangers of Cyber Bullying