Mean Tweets on TV Might Seem Fun – But Cyber-bullying Isn’t a Joke
Seeing famous people read mean tweets on TV might seem fun. At first. But there is a harsh reality behind all these mean comments and tweets on social media.
What if you found yourself being a victim of cyber-bullying? It probably wouldn’t feel that fun at all. Especially if mean comments or pictures were shared multiple times over the internet and way beyond your control. Reality is sometimes much worse than on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Would We Do This in Public?
In an everyday environment, most people would think twice before they made a mean comment. They would probably not even laugh at others in public. Because that is impolite and rude.
But being behind a screen, and sometimes anonymous, removes some of the common unwritten rules about how to behave. Social norms are powerful ways of understanding and predicting what people will do, but they cease to exist when it comes to cyber-bullying on social media. Social media creates the illusion of invisibility.
You will hear teenagers say it is just a joke and everybody’s doing it.
The Victim is a Real Person
It is true that teenagers tend to do what others are doing. They just want to fit in. Many have not yet figured out who they are and what they stand for. Still, when asked, most of these teenagers understand that cyber-bullying isn’t a joke and that the victim is a real person.
Cyber-bullying often result in long-term harm to young people. It shows itself in anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, school failure, school avoidance, and even suicide.
What Can We Do?
That is why it is so important to strengthen a positive climate when dealing with social media. Schools and employers should enforce some simple positive values like “we never make fun of people”, “we never bully people” and “we take care of each other”. This must be enforced even when there is no evidence of bullying.
It is also important for teenagers, schools, parents, and others to speak out against bullies. Together we can all make it stop.