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.
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?
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.
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