Cyberbullying through Facebook & It’s Effects on Teens
It’s important for parents to focus on ways to use social media to keep a watchful eye on the way their children interact with peers in the cyberworld.
News media and other outlets are loaded with stories that feature negative outcomes from teens engaging with social media and it’s harmful effects. The topics range anywhere from dropping grade statistics to dramatic suicides related to cyberbullying. For numerous parents, these headlines cause a lot of angst. The stories often conjure up frightening encounters with cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is a frightening trend that will probably never go away. Social media impacts almost every facet of everyday living, especially for the younger population. These platforms are revolutionizing the way people of all ages communicate, and in turn, are creating scenarios that have the potential to negatively impact children.
One common platform, Facebook, is utilized by both parents and children frequently. Parents need to take advantage of this common platform and utilize Facebook as a tool to connect and interact with their children to keep tabs on cyberbullying. Cyberbullying through Facebook is becoming a common problem many of today’s families face.
Dangers Facebook Doesn’t Want You To Know About
Parents need to be aware that the age restriction on Facebook is hardly ever followed or enforced. Many children under the age of 13 have accounts. It is estimated that 7.5 million U.S. accounts belong to the under 13 crowd. Even more alarming, is the fact that about 5 million of the accounts belong to youth under the age of 10. Children this age might not have the maturity or self control to handle social media without a parent’s involvement.
The Internet fosters abuse in a variety of ways. These abuses can range from downloading nasty viruses, encouraging identity theft, and cyberbullying through Facebook. Real dangers hide on social media for all users, regardless of their ages. However, about 1 million children who are active on Facebook have been exposed to some form of bullying.
Facebook fosters “pile-on” mentality with likes and comments. Children are more likely to type hurtful things that they would never say to someone’s face. This enables them to post bullying comments freely. Facebook makes it easy to like or comment on negative posts, allowing multiple children to jump on the bullying bandwagon with a simple click of a button.
It should be noted that 70% of students have admitted to observing frequent cyberbullying through Facebook. Cyberbullying through Facebook sends the message to the victim that the world is against them and the bullying is deserved. This could result in the victim to feeling isolated and alone.
Facebook is loaded with fake profiles that can be used as vehicles for cyberbullying. “Catfishing” and luring victims is easy with free profiles and photo stock. It is believed that 83 million profiles are fake- that computes to about 26% of the U.S. population. Many parents are aware that their child has a Facebook account, however it is easy to create secret accounts with new emails and fake birthdays to promote cyberbullying through facebook.
Facebook is constantly evolving and changing formats. This evolution makes a parent’s job that much more difficult. Parents should try to stay up to date on current changes with Facebook and “watch” for any concerns. Here is a list of ways a parent can utilize Facebook and help protect it’s effects on their teen:
- Encourage your child to friend only their “real” friends
- Help set your child’s privacy settings.
- Friend your child online.
- Keep electronics in common areas.
- If your child is a victim of cyberbullying through facebook, remind them that “this too shall pass”.
- If you notice cyberbullying, document each post with screenshots.
- If cyberbullying through Facebook is becoming a problem, have your child wait to open Facebook until you can sit and read the messages together.
- Interact sparingly with your child online. Observe at a distance.
- Avoid posting embarrassing photos and comments regarding your child. Respect their autonomy and personal space.
- Instruct your child about social media etiquette.
In our technology focused society, parents need to examine the effect Facebook can have on teenagers and children before allowing them access to social media.
We all know that many parents want the best for their children, but they may find it difficult to find the right balance of monitoring their child’s Internet activity. Parents are not immune to the stories about inflicted pain and deadly outcomes for cyberbullying victims. If parents and children work together, they can all benefit from these social platforms.
Parents need to notice that cyberbullying through Facebook is a real issue facing today’s teens and children. Mothers and fathers need to take a step back to start asking questions to become involved with a teen’s social media activity. Involved parents can be on top of any developing situations and might be able to prevent more tragic headlines from flooding our news feeds.