The advent of social networking sites has made all of us more connected and by doing so has allowed others to more easily contact each other. Some of those connections are positive but some are not.
The format of social networking we see today began in the late 90s with ‘Six Degrees’, a social networking site that allowed users to create profiles and connect with others through existing relationships or through mutual interests (Boyd et al. 2007). However, it wasn’t until 2004 when MySpace was launched that social networking really took off.
With so many children having their own phone, it’s no wonder that they are joining the world of social networking and are exploring the internet. Much like in Topic 2, it is hard to know who is online and the ability to post/comment online anonymously can create an environment where people can be abused. A study was carried out to assess what students in primary and secondary schools; used the internet for, how they interact with others and what about the internet is a concern for them. Below is data showing what technology students use:
Cyberbullying is a big concern for parents and teachers. With 40% of 7-11 year olds knowing someone that has been cyberbullied (Boyd et al., 2007) and 7 out of 10 young people aged 13-22 have been the victim of cyberbullying (Anon, 2015). Furthermore, 60% of children aged 13-18 were asked for a sexual image or video of themselves (NSPCC, 2014).
This kind of attitude to what is acceptable online is unfortunately a reality for young people but luckily there is some good news.
The table to the left illustrates how many children were taught how to stay safe online whilst at school. Although this is not the case in every school, the fact that schools are beginning to introduce this is a step in the right direction. If this continues then this will lead to more young people knowing what to do to stop, block or report negative content that they find as well as help others who may be experiencing cyberbullying.
Hopefully, all children will be taught how to be safe online as part of their curriculum in order for cyberbullying to stop and attitudes towards what it acceptable behaviour online to change.
Below is a YouTube video on how to prevent cyberbullying:
Anon (2015) “Facts and statistics on bullying and cyber bullying”
Boyd, D; Ellison, N. (2007) “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship“. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (Accessed 25th March)
Broadbent, H., Fell, L., Green, P., and Gardner, W. “Have your Say: Young people’s perspectives about their online rights and responsibilities”
Nobullying.com, YouTube video: “How to Prevent Cyberbullying”
Summit, Roy (2011) “Facebook domination vs MySpace fall: Data comparison” (Accessed 25th March)
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