A recent report from The Wall Street Journal revealed that Instagram made body images worse for one in every three teen girls while citing Facebook’s data. Self-image is just a single factor in what may be making some girls and young women feel bad because it coincides with increased bullying on social media. Generally, cyberbullying has increased among teenagers due, partly, to increased access to devices, the advent of the internet, and sometimes lack of supervision of their online activities.
Social media can amplify bullying.
As mentioned earlier, bullying existed before the advent of social media and may have included trolling on message boards, forums, and chat rooms. It may have included sharing inappropriate content with adolescents, sharing secrets, and spreading rumors online.
But as more people, particularly younger Americans, connect on social media, it has resulted in an uptick in bullying. Statistics reveal that most cases of bullying are taking place on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and other popular social media platforms.
While these social networks allow teenagers to share fun and informative posts, photos and connect with friends, they’re also a hotspot for bullying. Indeed, cyberbullies often make hurtful and emotionally scarring posts and comment anonymously. Such comments can be made public on a photo or sent privately in a direct message.
Another stressor related to bullying is the unlimited access adolescents have to social networks via smartphones and other mobile devices. Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying is often ongoing even after the teenager has left school (where it often happens), making the victim feel helpless.
If you’re worried about your safety or that of your child using social media, speak to someone you trust. Remember, the first line of defense against cyberbullying is you. And by taking the right measures to protect yourself or your loved ones against cyberbullying, you will be positively contributing to the fight against bullying on social media.