Author – Jordan Satterfield
The Solution (My take on it) –
Unfortunately for those who will eventually be hurt by cyberbullying, there is no clear-cut way to effectively solve the issue. As social media continues to grow, expand, and change, the atmosphere of interaction is destined to do the same along with it. Cyberbullying is especially dangerous because of not only its applications and intensity, but also because of its permanence and ease. Permanence and ease are two critical characteristics of the internet.
Preventing bullying has hit an all-time high in popularity just recently, as examined in our previous posts. Through film, music, and the news, the danger of bullying in general has started to make an incredible amount of press just within the past few years. It has been declared somewhat of an epidemic, and we can seriously hope that whatever popularity the subject has now will help spread the word about its dangers.
The biggest and most realistic solution to cyberbullying is simple, and does not involve removing internet access or constant technological monitoring (two things that are, these days, close to if not completely impossible). Parents have a remarkably large role in whether or not their child will have the potential to cyberbully other kids, so raising children in a thoughtful, appreciative manner will likely yield results in the future. Problem is, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The fact of the matter is that most cyberbullying is done by teens, less susceptible to what their parents tell them than younger children. This is why cyberbullying became a thing in the first place: it’s an environment not monitored by mom and dad (or dad and dad or mom and mom, though there is something to be said about the correlation between kids raised by gay parents and their lack of tendency to bully, specifically with homophobia, check it out: http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/children_with_lesbian_gay_bisexual_and_transgender_parents) and as such is a place where they can easily and readily say whatever they want without consideration of the message’s purpose or consequences. Or permanence. Or visibility.
Which is why cyberbullying is a hot topic right now. What do we do? How do we stop it?
There is no clear answer. But the best thing we can do as a society is continue (or start) to promote awareness and consideration, replace “tolerance” with “appreciation,” and do what we can to tell and show future generations how much bullying hurts. Promote sexual equality. Make gay marriage legal. Whatever needs to be done, cyberbullying can’t be defeated today. But in a decade we can look back on it as a dark period in our technological history. Awareness won’t kill a Ugandan warlord, but it can eventually kill cyberbullying.