El Dorado Hills, Oak Ridge, Social Media, United States

Cyberbullying at its Worse

  1. That’s how many people die a day from suicide. More than 13 percent of these people take their lives because of being bullied online. Social media is a huge deal at our school; it’s how we promote sports and support our school, but there is more to it.  Cyberbullying is a growing issue, not only in El Dorado Hills, but in other states as well. Cyberbullying is an effective way of hurting and making fun of kids across social media. This issue has been seen at Oak Ridge HS before and it’s making a return. From fun school rivalries turning into talking down upon other students, cyberbullying is coming back and maybe worse than before, and needs to be put to an end. Social media is an easy way of communication but it is also a easy way to lie about who you are or post false information. As social media apps are increasing with cyber bullying by its side, it’s an uprising event. Cyberbullying not only hurts someone emotionally but it can lead to people commiting suicide and becoming depressed.  Cyber bullying is not a joke and many reasons prove it true. So take a stand, tell someone, and figure out other ways to finally take cyberbullying down.

Social media has also become a way for different schools to communicate and compete regardless of the distance between them. While having school spirit is valuable and respectful, taking things too aggressively and too far, especially by anonymous means of social media, is uncalled for. Cyberbullying is a relevant topic towards the Oak Ridge community as it may be affecting more people than you think. One of the more common social media apps is called twitter. Twitter morning is used at our school for many things. One main thing we use it for is to promote our sport events. The Folsom Dog Pack and the Oak Ridge OZone accounts constantly fire friendly tweets to each other for the students to see to hype up our sports events. Recently Folsom and Oak Ridge had a basketball game against each other on February 1st. As the tweets for the game kept flowing students were joining in with the fun and games of “twitter beef”. When one anonymous student joined in they tweeted “Folsom vs Oak ridge (a thread)”, and listed evidence of Oak Ridge wins in several sports categories. With this the Folsom twitter account tweeted back to this tweet not once but three times, taking personal shots at the student. One saying they were going to make this person cry, another calling this person “unpopular”, and last finding and tweeting a picture of the student with rude remarks. Taking the friendly comments towards each other and turning it into bullying students is not okay. These tweets may be seen as playful fighting or something other but these are forms of cyberbullying that people need to recognize. Not only did the the folsom account show acts of bullying, but they took the fun rivalry too far that may change the way our school views Folsom forever. Cyberbullying is being brought up over the simplest things and is effecting a load of Oak Ridge students. Having this negative impact, even from other schools, needs to end. We as a community and students at Oak Ridge need to have awareness for what’s going on around us and when things go to far. We should stand up for not only ourselves but people around us to put this issue to an end.

While face to face confrontation is hard, social media and texting provides a new approach. Many people nowadays are using our new technology for the wrong reasons: cyberbullying. On a personal level, tons over the world are affected daily, including students here at Oak Ridge. Cyberbullying can range from many types of things and ways. Kids may use it to bully students about how they act or who they hang out with school, but the bigger issue is using it to make fun of a person’s religion, beliefs, or ethnicity; in what some may call it, racist. When bringing in people’s ethnicity, it takes cyberbullying to a whole other level, and its not ok. A year ago there was a twitter incident that some may say peaked the cyberbullying effect. In the picture shown to the right you can see remarks towards a student using inappropriate language and awful, racist statements. In this case, even without the protection of anonymity, the student presents hatred online for the public to see. The victim maybe have been publicly embarrassed, personally hurt, and possibly very insecure. Having this situation at our own school is not okay and may cause students to not feel safe at their own school. Criticizing people on the way they look, act, and live is inhumane and cyber bullying needs to end immediately. Using social media to hurt others in a public matter must be stopped, as social media is for communication, connection, and memories- there is no room for hatred.

While realizing that cyberbullying is a growing issue, us students interviewed our Assistant Principal, Mrs. Lishman. The first thing we did is try to get the point across that cyberbullying is not ok, and show we wanted to make a difference. We asked Mrs. Lishman this question, Being our Vice Principal, have you noticed that cyberbullying was making a comeback at our school? Do you have parents or students bring it to your attention? “ Cyberbullying is not making a comeback but has been with us this whole time. I have parents, students, and other staff members bring it to my attention almost everyday” (Mrs.Lishman).  With Mrs. Lishman awareness of cyberbullying we asked her a few more questions to get more answers on how to help prevent the issue. “Do you know how to help this situation or know any ways in which we could get the word out about how to stop cyber bullying? Are their apps or certain people we should ask? Do you think students are aware there are more than one option or person to tell when they see cyber bullying happening?” As we asked her these questions, these were her answers, “We have an app here at Oak Ridge called The Stop It App where people can report cases of cyberbullying anonymously. If a case has to be brought to someone’s attention, anyone in the administration office will help right away. We as the administration are trying to pronounce ourselves as approachable as possible, as we are always open and here. The office is always here for anyone.” (Mrs. Lishman). With cyberbullying is a popular issue there are more ways to end it than there is for it to happen. With the defeat of cyberbullying is bigger students should realize we could put this hurtful issue down.

From fun and games to personal hurtful actions cyberbullying is always there, yet it doesn’t need to be. As social media sites have increased in popularity almost 50% in the last year it is important to make sure all the kids online are being safe and mature online.  Like said before, us ORHS students are a community and we can come together and make the pain of others end. Cyberbullying is no joke and the change needs to be made. Our school should come together and realize all the possibilities we have to end cyberbullying. Turn our school to a bully free zone where people feel safe and there is no judgement towards anyone, so we the students can go on social media for entertaining videos instead of rude remarks about ourselves and others. Tell a parent, let administration know, or find a different way to take cyberbullying down. We can be the change, so make the change.

Article by Taylor Pollard & Video by Kelly Owens

Works Cited

Perrin, Andrew. “Social Media Usage: 2005-2015.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 8 Oct. 2015, www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/.

Pappas, Stephanie. “Cyberbullying on Social Media Linked to Teen Depression.”LiveScience, Purch, 22 June 2015, www.livescience.com/51294-cyberbullying-social-media-teen-depression.html.“Bullying, Cyberbullying & Suicide Statistics.” Megan Meier Foundation | Statistics on Bullying, Cyberbullying and Suicide, www.meganmeierfoundation.org/statistics.html.

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