The internet has proved to be a wonderful resource for modern society. Many organizations help individuals by raising money and awareness. The internet enables us to gain endless information and to purchase just about anything we can think of with the click of a button. Because of the internet, my husband has reconnected with his teenage hobby of rebuilding English motorcycles, and I was able to find the identical manual Corona typewriter I owned as a child.
Social media also allows us to join community groups in order to bond and share similar interests and concerns, particularly when we are too busy to get together in person. During the pandemic, social media has allowed us to work and educate from home, to get food deliveries and to stay in touch with friends and family. Many have used their creative abilities to share uplifting videos, like the recent “Snow Day” video sent to all ER9 members by our new Superintendent of schools, Dr Rydell Harrison. As an educator, I was so impressed at how much time he put into this student centered video, which has gone viral across the nation, putting ER9 on the map.
Unfortunately, like anything else, there is a downside to the rapid rise of social media. Cyberbullying has become an increasingly problematic issue for not only children but also for adults. If you are unclear about what constitutes cyberbullying, here is a list of definitions:
Online harassment involves sending abusive or offensive messages to or about an individual or group. It is intentional and often repeated.
These messages are often more threatening in nature. Messages may escalate to threaten the victim’s physical safety. Cyberstalking can quickly lead to in-person harassment or stalking.
Outing is when someone publicly shares the content of someone else’s private Facebook page, private messages, pictures, or other information about an individual. Outing is done without the individual’s knowledge or consent. The information may be trivial or more private and serious. Regardless, the bully shares information about someone after gaining access to their private account.
Masquerading occurs when the bully assumes another identity to anonymously harass another individual. They may either impersonate someone else, use a real person’s account or phone number, or create an entirely fake identity. Often, the bully will know the victim if they feel the need to hide their identity.
Fraping is the act of logging into someone’s social media profile and posting inappropriate content under their name. While many people consider this to be a funny joke, fraping can hurt people’s reputation, get them in trouble with family, or otherwise embarrass or harm them.
Let’s be good citizens and role models by refusing to engage in or tolerate cyberbullying in any way, shape or form.