In this day and age of Instagram and Snapchat, it is easy to get lost in the social media world.
With this virtual world comes a harsh reality of how evil the world really is. Facebook alone has 2.47 billion users making it the most widely used social media platform.
On such a big network there are bound to be cases people mishandling the power that comes while sitting behind a computer screen. This concept of cyberbullying has grown with social media as it has each platform has become more popular with young teens.
Kids are using platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat to not only get their daily news but express themselves as individuals. According to hhs.gov, 94 percent of teens have a mobile device they use to access the internet and 71 percent are on more than one social site. Because of this high average teens are more at risk for cyberbullying.
In 2016 the theory that someone could sit behind a screen and push someone to their breaking point became a dim reality for one family. In an extreme case of cyberbullying, 18-year-old Brandy Vela took matters into her own hands in the form of a gun to the chest to end her misery.
The teen had been bullied online for a year before she took her own life, along with dating profiles that had her picture soliciting free sex. While many reports were made to the city and school officials, they continually expressed that there wasn’t a lot they could do. Along with the social media bullying, Vela’s attackers got a hold of her personal phone number sending her cruel messages even after she changed her number.
43 percent of children have been bullied online and one in four have had it happened more than once according to dosomething.org, “one in 10 teens will tell a trusted adult about their issues. Smaller sights such as Ask.fm and Kik are another reason that the online community needs to be monitored closely.
Millions of users visit the site daily. Take for instance “Ask.fm”, which became one of the fastest growing social media sight in history. The site was first launched in 2010 and was originally used as a question and answer site. In the year 2013 at its peak popularity, the site became a breeding ground for bullies.
There were nine suicides connected to the websites within a year. The site that was first praised for the way to anonymously spark a conversation around the world, came under fire for the way it created gang like communities of people. Ask. Fm founder Mark Terebin ultimately blamed mass media and the users for the deaths.
It is social sites like this and their creators that make the internet a terrifying place. People who fall victim to these sights are two to nine times more susceptible to committing suicide, and it is our job to put the tools and resources out there to help individuals.
Those who are young and impressionable, fight their way through their inner darkness and back into the light.