As all parents know, cyberbullying is a widespread problem that most kids today will unfortunately run into at some point in their lives. Many people brush it off as “kids will be kids,” but for some tween and teen victims the bullying has been the source of anxiety, depression, and other emotional and behavioral problems. Some have even taken their own lives in response to unrelenting cyberbullying.
Facebook is one popular social media network that is unfortunately the platform for a lot of cyberbullying that goes on. Facebook has included bullying FAQ for victims and parents of victims on its website, but has been criticized for not doing more.
In response, Facebook has teamed with Time Warner to launch an app called Stop Bullying: Speak Up, an anti-cyberbullying app. Unlike previous attempts to educate potential bullies on proper online etiquette or efforts to teach victims how to handle cyberbullying, this new app focuses on bystanders who witness bullying as it happens.
Speak Up: Stop Bullying provides specific steps and actions to take when you see bullying occur. People can sign a pledge to counteract the effects of cyberbullying, share their pledges and stories with others, and work to start anti-bullying groups in their own communities. Bullies – cyber or otherwise – always need an audience to function. If their audience gives them approval then the bullying will continue. Along with teaching kids what to do if they are ever bullied or harassed online, we should also teach them what to do if they see it happening to someone else. If bullies don't get the attention or approval they are seeking, bullying will effectively be stopped in its tracks.
-Article contributed by Jenny Evans