Nearly seven out of ten teenagers surveyed by Ditch the Label have been victims of cyber-bullying on social media platforms.
Facebook, Twitter are just some of the social media sites that have been deemed the most unsafe for kids.
Bullying has been a pressing issue for several decades but new developments in social media means that the problem is continuing to grow. Digital technology has allowed bullies to attack their victims even while they’re at home.
While the majority of social media sites have a policy against harassment and bullying, 91% of users who reported cyber-bullying said no action was taken. They say it leaves them feeling disbelieved, vulnerable and with low self-esteem.
Liv Broad, is the Vice President for Community and Welfare at Nottingham Trent University’s Student Union. She believes that more can be done by popular social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook to prevent cyber-bullying. She feels more visual campaigns would help raise awareness and tackle the growing problem.
“They will be able to offer you support and sign post you on to reporting it”
Liv broad, vp for community and welfare
She states that the “younger generation and people at university are using it [Instagram] more” so she may see this as a potential for why it may happen on the popular social media site.
Nottingham Trent offers a range of services to support those who have fallen victim to cyber-bullying. She recommends speaking to information and advice services about the problem. They will be able to offer victims the appropriate help as well as signposting them on reporting it to the university, or depending on the severity of the threat, the police.
A Nottingham Trent student, who wishes to remain anonymous, spoke about her experience with cyber-bullying and how it has affected her.
“Some people commented saying stuff like, ‘You’re just seeking attention’ and because it was from people I knew I didn’t think anything of it.”
ANONYMOUS VICTIM OF CYBER-BULLYING
She explained how she received hurtful comments on a bikini picture she had posted on Instagram from her holiday. She didn’t think anything of it at the start from the comments that were first made such as, “You’re just seeking attention”. However, the comments began to get a lot more serious as she was deemed a “slut” by her followers. She recalled how she felt very targeted and that’s when she realised they weren’t joking around but were actually being very serious.
She explains how the comments had detrimental effects to her mental health and confidence.
Anonymous explains how the cyber-bullying affected her mental health.
Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have outlined their policies regarding cyber-bullying. Facebook state that they will “remove bullying content when they become aware of it and may disable the account of anyone who bullies or attacks another.”
Bullying and child abuse charity, Kidscape, provide advice on their websites for parents on how to report cyber-bullying and also how they can protect their child online.