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Bullying In Social Media

By | Blogging, Guest Blogs, Social Media | No Comments

This guest blog comes from Digital Marketing Apprentice, Josh. His role is all things Social Media.

Social Media is used right, it is without doubt the most successful and creative platform in the world, but is it always used right? Find out in this latest blog.

Social Media

Did you know there 3.48 billion people are using some sort of social media platform in 2019? To put that into perspective, that is just under half of the whole world! A lot of these users, like me and you are just wanting to see the latest news, share our lives, get some followers and maybe even get Philip Schofield to follow us back (Please Philip). However, there are a number of users across these social media platforms that constantly insult, undermine and hate on people’s content, this is a form of Cyber Bullying and it has grown massively in the past decade. According to research 87% of young people have witnessed cyber-bullying on social media in 2019, that is a lot of kids who have read abusive comments and the majority of them will think it is okay to do the same. This needs to stop and fast.

The Impact Of Social Media Bullying

The Impact of Cyber-bullying has become more and more drastic over the years and there is a lot of reasons for this. Firstly the anonymity, people can create fake accounts and post the nastiest comments and think because they are sat behind a screen that it wont affect them or the people they are talking too. When in reality they could not be more wrong, words hurt people whether they are said in person or as letters on a screen, bullying is bullying and you are not an attention seeker for being hurt by someone’s comment! Another reason is that the hate comments that are posted online are there forever, and whilst this is good to track bullying it can also make things so much worse for the victim. Everytime they log onto their favourite social media to check out that new meme everyone keeps referencing (yeah I’m always the one who doesn’t get the meme), they will see the comment and it creates a constant reminder that they are “not good enough” and soon enough makes them believe it is true. There are many reasons as to why cyber-bullying has grown but they all lead to one outcome, sadness.

It is now a common fact that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, that is a very alarming statistic which no one seems to be taking seriously, the younger generation who are constantly being affected by this are now being branded as “Snow Flakes” which in my opinion is disgusting. These young adults are being forced to deal with constant harassment and mental health issues all on their own and to make matters even worse they are now being segregated and laughed at for it. Social Media bullying is lethal, will it be too late by the time people realise this?

Who Does This Effect?

Everyone who has used a social media platform can tell you that bullying is rife and can be witnessed on a daily occurrence, for example if you have been watching Love Island recently then you will have seen all of the abuse that is posted on Twitter whilst the show is on air. Every 10 seconds there is a new negative comment on the Love Island hashtag, that is a lot of insults and hate that the islanders will be reading when they come out.

My point is that social media bullying affects everyone from Influencers to Celebrities to your everyday guy who gets excited when pizza hut wishes him a happy birthday #guilty. Our comments on these social media platforms may seem harmless at first because we don’t know the person or think that we are joking but in reality, they can cause a lot of damage, shown by the suicides of Love Island’s Mike and Sophie. So please, before you post a mean comment on your mates Instagram “for a laugh” or tweet about a new Islander you don’t like. Think. Would you want someone to say that to you?

My Experience

Pretty much every social media user has experienced some sort of hate on the popular platforms, including myself, yet people are very afraid to speak about it. This is something we need to try focus on, we need to encourage people to speak up about the problems they are facing on social media and instead of just getting them to report it and have the comment taken down, we need to help them deal with these comments and make sure it is has no affect on their mental health. As a society we concentrate too much on taking action and reporting, rather than helping the victim learn how to cope with what has happened to them and stop it having long lasting effects.

My experience of social media bullying was never extreme but has had a long-lasting effect which I didn’t think was possible. When I was younger I used to post a lot of photos on Instagram which in all honesty were cringe, but at the time they made me feel good about myself, these posts were then met with hurtful comments and people laughing at me now this never made me depressed but it did stop me posting pictures and still has some effect on me today. If I go to upload a photo on Instagram I always have to think “Are people going to judge me for posting this?” and often I don’t post it because I’m afraid what people may say. We need to stop this, there are many people who have experienced a lot worse or are in the same situation as me and will feel this way. So, post that picture from your holiday, tell people how much you like Philip Schofield, do anything that makes you feel better about yourself. If you are feeling anxious about posting something or are worried about what people may say, just do it anyway, their comments do not reflect the person you are.

What Can We Do?

Social Media is great when we use it the way we are supposed to, it helps us make new friends, find new series to love and show our appreciation to the great Yewande. We need to start using these platforms properly, many campaigns are now being ran to fight back against Social Media bullying and it finally seems like we are heading in the right direction. However it is not all down to the companies to make this happen, we all need to help each other, so go out of your way to compliment your friend on that Instagram Picture, tag everyone in a funny meme and don’t post that hurtful comment just because everyone else is. Social Media is great for businesses, influencers and everyday users, we just need to use it properly.

If you are feeling suicidal or suffering from any other mental health problems due to social media bullying please speak out, I have left a number of links below to various helplines that you can visit and get the help you deserve, it’s time to rise up against Social Media Bullying.

Bully Busters

The Mix

Papyrus

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If you would like to join the discussion and answer the questions within the blog then be sure to follow us on all of our social media platforms, we would love to know what you think!

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Instagram Removes Likes!?

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What has happened?

Earlier this week, Instagram revealed a new test that if used correctly will completely change Social Media for good. It is no secret that Social Media has had a huge impact on our lives for many years now but many people are starting to wonder whether this is such a good thing. In the past 5 years, depression and anxiety levels have risen by almost 20% and is shown to mainly affect teenagers, which uncoincidentally are the majority of Instagram’s user base. Research now shows that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year! That is a horrifying statistic and it seems Social Media is the main cause for this, Instagram has picked up on this and have begun to make massive changes to their platform to try and reduce anxiety and depression when users are on Instagram.

The new test is the removal of likes on Instagram posts and is set to be trialled in Canada this week, this will mean that users will no longer be able to see how many likes other people have got on their posts, they will only see their own. Instagram has done this in the hope that users will stop basing their self-worth on how many they likes they get on Instagram and therefore reduce anxiety when using the platform. Not only will this help users mental health, it will also stop third-party companies offering services where users can buy likes and comments because there will simply be no need.

Do you think Social Media is the leading cause for the growth in mental health problems?

How will this work?

Since most social media platforms use the “Likes” format on their apps, it will be interesting to see if Instagram are able to maintain a functioning yet still fun app for their users due to the “Likes” format playing a big role in the algorithm of Instagram, they will need to change a lot of features. The question is, will this be detrimental to their app or will it encourage other platforms to follow suit?

The way that Instagram looks will not change for users during the test, the only thing different is that they will no longer see a number of likes it will just say “liked by others”. However, Instagram will not be removing likes completely from their platform, they have announced that the creator will still be able to see how many likes they have gotten on their posts but the way they can find this information will change. This is because Instagram tells you straight away how many likes you have on your post and therefore users are believing this is in an important factor which is proven to have negative effects on their mental health, the change will aim to stop this and only show users their likes if they want that information.

Will these changes result in Instagram becoming less active?


An example of Instagram’s new format.

Are there going to be any other new features coming?

In this attempt to fight back against mental health problems, Instagram is reportedly also looking at tackling Cyber Bullying on their very popular platform. Due to the outstanding 1 billion users on Instagram today, it is very hard to track cyberbullying and because of this, it has become quite common. Users have been sharing negative comments on people’s posts and the only punishment for this is that the comment is taken down when reported but by then the damage has already been done.

Although, Instagram is now supposed to be working on some new features for their platform to stop cyberbullying all together. The new features include a “nudge” message where Instagram will send the user a message if they are about to comment something offensive or hurtful, this new way of addressing bullying could be a major success as it will keep a record of users who are commenting hurtful content and it can be taken further from there. Another feature aimed to stop hurtful comments on Instagram is the new “Manage Interactions” setting, this will allow users to choose how different people can engage with them, for example if a user is being tormented online they can choose to not allow that certain person to comment on their posts. These features could have a very positive effect on mental health as they will no longer have to worry about being bullied on their posts and will be free to post whatever content they choose.

Are these new features a big step forward in the anti-bullying campaign?

What are other competitors doing?

As you know Facebook does own Instagram and therefore it is likely that if this removal of likes does prove to be a success then Facebook will do the same and will need to change their whole algorithm in order to do so. Another platform that has been following Instagram’s test is Twitter, who have now reportedly started a prototype app called “twttr”. This prototype aims to remove like and retweet counts on their popular platform so that users will stop doubting themselves because someone has else has more likes.

It seems that all of the Social Media platforms have realised the damage their apps have caused to user’s mental health and are now aiming to rectify this by adding these new features to make Social Media fun again.

Will Social Media become a fun place again?

What does this mean for marketing?

There is only one disadvantage to this new Instagram test and that is because Instagram Influencers will no longer be able to gain money by posting products on their profile. This is because the sponsored content is measured on how many likes they get and if they get enough then they will be paid. However, with the like count being removed companies will no longer be able to see who is getting a lot of engagement on their profile and therefore users will lose the opportunity for paid promotions. Instagram has said they are thinking of ways to make sure that paid promotions still happen on their platform but for now, it looks like it will stop.

Although this is a very small disadvantage in a rather large cause to fight back against mental health problems. The way we see it is that mental health is a much larger priority then influencers advertising products to gain more money.

It’s time to speak up!

If you are struggling with any mental health issues or are experiencing anxiety when using Social Media please take a break from it and talk to someone. The links to a number of helplines are below and we urge you to contact them if you are feeling down.

YoungMinds – https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/conditions/depression/

Childcare – https://www.childline.org.uk/

Mind – https://www.mind.org.uk/

If you would like to join the discussion and answer the questions within the blog be sure to get in touch.

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