The social media universe and it’s impact on cyberbullying

Emma Regal, Contributing Writer

The value in communicating with each other face to face is becoming lesser with every smartphone update. Job conferences are held via Skype, relationships are withheld through texts alone, and schoolwork is becoming completely dependent on technology. In some ways, yes, the technology takes away from otherwise tedious work done by hand, and it’s enjoyable. We all would prefer typing to handwriting, and CandyCrush beats Monopoly any day. However, it also opens up an entire different universe in which most Americans live in-social media. It is our photo album, our diary, and our biggest affliction. Social media allows anonymity, something that is not possible in the real world. The ability to be invisible, or to be any one we create online, is powerful. And like most power, we abuse it.
I have a Twitter, I have an Instagram, and I have a Snapchat. I spend a considerable amount of time on them each day, and it would be a lie to say I haven’t scrolled right past someone being picked apart on my home page. It’s obvious when it’s friends picking on friends, like an ugly picture posted for a birthday. I may not know exactly what pictures my friends have of me, but I know that they undoubtedly have pictures of me I would never want seen. It is when people sneak pictures of other people and post them that the bullying comes in. We’ve all seen it. Someone in school has a picture taken of them unknowingly because their hair is an odd color, or their outfit doesn’t match. It goes up on Twitter and spreads like wildfire, because I mean, who doesn’t want to see someone wearing pink leg warmers? Yes, it’s funny. And no, sometimes it isn’t meant to be malicious. However, that’s exactly what it is. Cyberbullying starts off with something small like that, but kids are suspended daily for doing those types of things, and other kids never live down their reputation after being exposed like that. Some people are made famous on Vine or other networking sites just for dressing a certain way, looking a certain way, or doing a certain thing. People love to make fun of others, and I’ve laughed at people before too. Society thinks it’s okay to humiliate people on social media because it’s not to their face, or because “it’s a joke.” But it should be a rule of thumb: don’t say online what you wouldn’t say in person. If you feel the need to pick someone apart for how they look or act, don’t be upset when your bad hair day goes viral.