Staff editorial: Cyberbullying problem begins to worsen

Staff editorial: Cyberbullying problem begins to worsen

JagWire staff

As the number of social network users rises, so do the number of reported cases of cyberbullying. Our school proves no exception to this, and the number of times harassment on sites like Facebook and Twitter has infiltrated our student population has gotten ridiculous. At our school in the last year, there’s been a Twitter account and Facebook group that targeted some of our students. Cyberbullying has become too common place and the people partaking are ignoring the possible consequences of their actions.

The people who take advantage of the anonymity the Internet grants them for negative purposes are not only cruel, but they are also cowardly. The majority of what online comments would never be said in person. Many people don’t think twice about what they’re posting an how it may affect others around them and simply just do it for a laugh. They know who they are, too; calling someone names on Facebook or sending a tweet commenting on a classmate’s weight is never an accident. It’s done strictly with the intent to hurt another in mind.

For people who have been bullied, the best advice is to ultimately let it roll off your back. But if you are truly bothered by something said about you online, tell someone. Tell your parents. If you don’t want to tell your parents, tell a trusted adult at school like social worker Debbie Gudenkauf or school resource officer John Midiros. They will only want to help you. Somebody needs to be aware of your situation, whether it’s a worst case scenario or not. Even just talking to a friend can ease your mind.

The people who say these things have no credibility. They’re simply people who have nothing better to do or feel the need to qualify themselves among their friends by putting others down. Bullies focus on your insecurities, and the details are often fabricated or exaggerated. Even though you go to school with someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean you know them on a personal level. Just because you heard that someone did something embarrassing over the weekend doesn’t mean you have the right to tell everyone on Twitter and Facebook.

The only way to prevent the effects of cyberbullying is to stop bullying altogether. If you get the urge to say something negative about another person, just don’t say it, and especially don’t say it online, where everyone has the opportunity to see it, and it will be there forever. You could be criminally liable for what you say.

To truly end cyberbullying, we need to stop fueling it. Stop looking at it, stop watching it and stop talking about it in the hallways. Only students can end this vicious behavior.

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