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Advancing Technology and Cyber Bullying

With the advancement of technology, the more available people are to their social media following and the world around them. With this widening of availability comes the inevitable widening of a potentially negative audience. With the new iOS update, Apple users can now like text messages and other various forms of opinion that were not available before. Social media outlets such as Instagram and Twitter allow users to post and share comments. Snapchat has a feature that allows people to communicate via instant messaging as well as sending pictures or video. As the sharing of ideas can be beneficial and productive, it can just as easily and is more often an outlet for negativity. With these advancements of technology, how do we protect people from cyber bullying?

A large part behind negative online comments is the simple anonymity or lack of in person confrontation. It is much easier to write a horrible comment on someone’s Instagram page than to say those mean words to their face. Many negative commenters use social media as an outlet for their own insecurities or problems in their life, but this is still no defense. Many cyber bullies are younger teenagers who may not fully understand the consequences for their actions. However, I have personally seen grown adults attacking other grown adults on Instagram. I have personally seen grown adults attacking famous teenagers on Instagram. Before the new age social media, other than maybe Facebook, adults and teenagers did not cross each other’s paths on any form of social media. But now with Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, it is much easier for people of all ages to have contact.

In April 2015, Twitter announced policy changes in order to protect people against cyber bullying. Instagram has a reporting system on its Help page for those who want to report harassment or bullying. Facebook also addresses the issue of cyber bullying in its Help Center. But with all of these resources and policy changes, people are still suffering from cyber bullying and the advancement of technology is making it all that much easier. But the advancement of technology is clearly not slowing down anytime soon, so what can be done? Other than eliminating all forms of social media, I do not see a way around cyber bullying. Criminal charges could be tougher, social media apps could have a stricter no tolerance policy, but I am not sure how much that would help. One person removed from Instagram could just start another account under a different name. Unless technology is developed to track these people and stop them from creating multiple accounts, I unfortunately think cyber bullying will forever be part of the technology world. With the advancing technologies, it may just even become worse.

 

Facebook Help Center page on bullying: https://www.facebook.com/help/420576171311103/

Instagram Help Center page on bullying: https://help.instagram.com/547601325292351

Twitter article on changing policy: http://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2015/0422/Technology-gave-rise-to-cyberbullying.-Can-it-also-stop-it

-Mallorie Thomas