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Bridging the Gap – Cyber-bullying: parents beware!

Too often, a child has the unbearable thought of committing suicide because of bullying.  In previous years bullying typically occurred face to face, but now kids have the capability to bully others from the comfort of their computers and smart phones. Over the years, bullying on social media has grown dramatically. 

Emily Ashman, Journalist, Couch Middle School

 Parents – are you familiar with Twitter, Instagram, Vine, or   Most parents don’t even recognize some of these names! Recently these applications have become main sources for cyber bullying. Therefore, parents need to become more aware of social media bullying. 

While kids use many different social media apps to participate in bullying, I believe is a major source of these bullying situations. Parents – be aware of Ask.Fm. This is a social media application where any person can create an account.  Then, most teen users copy and paste this account link onto their Instagram biography. From here, people click this link to be taken directly to the user’s account.  

Anyone and everyone, with or without an account, have the ability to type and send a question or comment to the desired user, and still remain anonymous.  Ask. Fm may have been originally created to allow people to send compliments and questions such as “You are such a nice person – I look up to you – or what is your favorite color?” Users would then reply to the kind comments!

Sadly, this application has taken a turn for the worst.  People using the application have become very negative.  Bullies have found that this app allows them the opportunity to send hurtful and bully- like comments anonymously. People have begun to leave threatening comments such as “You need to die…” or “Kill yourself please!” 

As if this is not bad enough, another problem to be aware of is the raging profanity and horrifying inappropriate questions that young children should not be answering from anonymous strangers.  Many of the comments left to be seen are often quite offensive and vulgar.  

Another disadvantage of this website is that everybody can see every comment that the user answers. Therefore, people find it amusing to add on to the hateful comments.  The app eventually destroys the user’s self-esteem to the point of depression, or even worse. 

The user may eventually attempt to get rid of the comments by deleting the app, but the issue grows throughout other social media sources. 

Bullying on is occurring daily.  Minute by minute children are emotionally being destroyed.  Many times parents do not have a clue that their own child is being bullied – and sadly it often occurs within the safety of their own home!  

The issue of bullying is becoming very serious.  We need to take action and be aware of how social media sites assist bullies in attacking others.  Bullying does not just occur on – all social media sites have the ability to host bullying. 

Parents, please take a moment to sit down with your children and ask them about the social media sites that they use.  Talk to them about bullying and what to do if they become a victim to harsh verbal attacks.  The key is for parents to be aware! 

Couch Middle School RAMSEmily Ashman is a Journalism student at Couch Middle School. ‘Bridging the Gap’ is a Couch Middle School column written by teens to help ‘Bridge the Gap’ between teenagers and parents. Couch Middle School, located in Grayson, is a part of the Grayson Cluster. The Principal is Devon Williams.