Private social media normalizes bullying

Cyberbullying has been an issue since social media became prevalent in today’s society. However, private social media accounts result in increased cyberbullying and harassment that not everyone may be aware of.

In a school-wide survey, 58.4 percent of students reported that they or their friends have a private account in addition to their public account. These private accounts have a tendency to be used as a forum to torment and attack other students and post sensitive or controversial material.

Bullying is not a new concept, and now that social media is so apparent in everyday life, people are more common to get on their account and use it in a negative way. Additionally, no one is exercising self-control in regards to degrading their peers. Social media, especially private accounts, has given teens a unique way to attack from behind a screen.

Teens with private accounts only let a select few follow them. Just because the account owner may be talking negatively about someone that does not have access to the account, that does not mean they will not find out about it. That also does not mean they do not care. It is still cyberbullying, and it still hurts. People have a difficult time thinking about others feelings and how it may affect that person.

Even if someone is not criticizing a person, starting rumors and creating drama is wrong. Instead of going up to the person they have a problem with and talking about it face-to-face, they are letting everyone that follows them know about unnecessary drama. The problem with our society today is that no one can personally figure out problems; they have to include other people and make drama bigger than it should be.

In the previously mentioned survey, 67.4 percent of the 442 students that responded, believe that cyberbullying is worse on private social media accounts than main accounts. That is over half of the people that responded to the survey, so obviously this is a problem. People should be able to have private accounts, but when they start using them to harass and tear down others, it crosses the line. Even if the bullying is taking place on a private account, it is still relevant and people should still care. It was not until high school that these private accounts gained popularity, and it has now become the norm for teens to have separate accounts.

Parents should be able to trust their children, but with private accounts, they are not seeing what their kids are posting and may not be aware that their child has a private account. Parents should have a general awareness of what their child is putting out onto the internet.

Just because it is private does not mean that the people who follow the private accounts will not share the posts with others. Instead of continuously letting people get away with cyberbullying, students should report any signs of cyberbullying when noticed. They may not only be hurting others, they could potentially be hurting themselves.

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