So far in college, Ihave not met one person that does not have at least one social media platform. According to Statista, eighty one percent of U.S. Americans have a social media account and there are 1.96 billion social media user in the entire world. Social media has brought a great deal of positives and advancements in the way that we all share and communicate our work, ideas, and our personal enjoyments in life. However, with the great deal of positives, there are negatives that tag along and if the power of social media gets in the wrong users hands, it can become ugly. Cyber bullying is an example of one of the many negatives that get dragged into the conversation involving social media. The wide range of social media platforms, which include Twitter, Facebook, and many others have produced a wave of cyber bullying across many different sources that can become devastating for those that are on the receiving end.
What I mean by a wave of cyber bullying is that before this past 20 years, cyber bullying has really never been an option for those to attack others with the use of social media. Now
cyber bulling can be seen everywhere throughout the Internet, but two cases that really stand from among the rest are the Tyler Clementi case and the Amanda Todd case. Both these instances ended up leading to the receiver taking their own life.
According to an article, Clementi was born December 19th and was raised in a very wealthy town of Ridgewood, New Jersey, which is not very far from my own household. After upon graduation of high school, Clementi decided that it was the right time for him to embrace his inner self and tell his close family and friends that he is gay. That next school year, Clementi attended Rutgers University, which is now known to be one of the top 100 campuses for the LGTBQ community.
Clementi had a roommate named Dharun Ravi and asked him one night to have the room to himself till about 12. Ravi decided that he would keep his webcam on during the time that Clemeti had someone over and he would watch with his friend what the two individuals were doing. Ravi and his friend had seen the two individuals shirtless and kissing, which led him to go to his Twitter account and post some of his thoughts to his followers. Some comments included “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.” Unfortunately for Ravi,he would have no clue on how his roommate and his followers on twitter would react to comment. Clementi ended up seeing the tweet and all the reply’s that it had gotten from the friends on twitter and he did not react in a positive way. A few days later, Clementi ended up taking his life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge leading Ravi to a very difficult future to face and everyone else who was involved in the harassment.
Another case, which I had mentioned earlier, is the Amanda Todd case. Amanda Todd was born November 27th, 1996 and was from Canada. She
was a young girl that had a bright future; however, got caught up in the wrong groups and took part in taking the wrong substances at such a young age.
It all started when a few years previous to her death, she was online video chatting with a man we requested that she would take her shirt off and flash the man. The man ended up taking a picture of Todd half naked and saving it to his photo album. Years later, the man would follow Todd on the Internet through social media platforms and eventually reached out again. This time, the man had asked her for another chance to see her flash him; however, Todd has made the right decision and refused to do so. This had infuriated the gentlemen to reach out to Todd’s classmates and have conversations with them so that he could eventually send out the photo that he had taken. This type of cyber bullying would go under the section of cyber stalking and harassment. The social media sight that the man had used was Facebook, which allows users to find friends through mutual friends.
Again, Todd had a very difficult time in the atmosphere that had been created for her from the man sending around her picture. Her classmates did not have great opinions of her, which seems as though the picture started a domino effect within her life. According to “The New Yorker”, this had led Todd to descending “into drugs and alcohol and ill-advised flirtations and sex”. This case is very much related to the Tyler Clementi case because both involve a high
level of cyber bullying.
The difference between the two cases is that, Todd had decided to leave one last piece of evidence on this world for those to remember her by. Todd decided that she would tell her story by producing a youtube video so that anyone in the world could see what had happened to her. Todd did not say a word in the entire video, but decided to relay her message to the people by writing on flashcards and playing “Hear You Me” by Jimmy Eat World.
As noted before, Facebook and Twitter were two sources that the two cyber bullies have used to cause distress in Clementi’s and Todd’s life. Stated in Current perspectives: t
he impact of cyberbullying on adolescent health, “cyberbullying has emerged as a relatively new form of bullying within the last decade”. Facebook, being the most accessible and commonly used social media platforms is ranked at number one for the most cyber bulling taking place. With Instagram coming in at second and Twitter not falling far behind, cyber bulling can be seen all over. The most problematic part about Twitter is the fast pace sharing methods that tag along with it. People have the ability to retweet, comment, or like a tweet at the touch of a finger, which leads to others seeing what others have posted without even following that specific person. The effects of cyber bullying can be extremely detrimental to adolescent health and the future development. Some instances include: “negative affective disorders, loneliness, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and somatic symptoms… substance use, and delinquency”.
Another problem that I would like to address is the fact that there are very few options for users to address cyber bullying. For example, users have the ability to report the bullying that is occurring, but for the post or comment to actually be taken down it may take days. By that time the post has already been advertised to hundreds and possibly thousands of people. What if someone had done something about the posts and comments in both the Clementi and Todd case? There could be a possibility that both these students still could be alive and the harm that was done could have been shed off a great deal more. The actions that people
can follow for when cyber bullying occurs includes: responding to the bully in a positive way to point out what the person is doing wrong, talk to the victim privately, keep the victim calm, give advice, offer other alternatives then using that certain social media platform that they were bullied on, make positive comments, encourage the victim to tell and adult, and convince the victim not to look at the cyber bulling.
In conclusion, cyber bullying is one of the negatives that are constantly intertwined with our advancing society, which constantly is fluctuating in numbers each year. It can be seen throughout any social media platform and is considered as an action to be frowned upon. Tyler Clemeti and Amanda Todd are just two of the many victims that receive this cruel behavior through the use of the Internet each day. There are many what if scenarios that could have changed the paths of Tyler Clementi and Amanda Todd. We can only hope that these creators of social media apps and cyber bullies have the realization that they are the problem and can change some aspects so that this wave ends.