The digital revolution has brought about significant advances in academia, and one avenue has been through the prevalent use of social media in education. According to usage statistics gathered, 66% of adults have a profile on at least one social networking site. Correspondingly, universities and other educational institutions have increasingly used social media as a medium to engage and interact with students. (BBC Active, 2010)
Social Media in Education (http://bit.ly/1jCn123)
Some of the uses of social media for teaching and learning are: compiling information to share with other students across courses and institutions, creating a public profile to showcase personal research and to connect with a broad audience, using Twitter as a forum to share content, encourage debate, and answer queries with the use of hashtags for individual courses (#mang2049!), and conducting live discussions with the use of Google+ Hangouts. (Brien, 2012)
While social media is a useful tool for education and communication, its widespread adoption has led to a rise in a notorious form of bullying, commonly referred to as cyberbullying – an ethical issue revolving around the increased use of social media in education. Cyberbullying occurs when individuals use technology to write aggressive, embarrassing, or hateful messages to other users in order to intimidate, harass, shame, or control. (Malcore, 2015) Cyberbullies often create one or more fake profiles, as discussed in Topic 2. They use tactics such as gossip, exclusion, and harassment, while some will resort to cyberstalking or impersonation (Burns, 2012); as with the case of Ruth Palmer. (Kleinman, 2015)
Cyberbullying Illustration (http://bit.ly/2dCHeLQ)
Today, 71% of teens use more than one social network and have come across cyberbullying in some shape or form. (Steyer, 2015) 21% of teens said they checked social media often to make sure nobody was saying mean things about them. (Hadad, 2015)
Infographic on Cyberbullying Statistics (http://bit.ly/2eZlt8N)
As actively as it is used in education, a significant amount of cyberbullying takes places on Facebook. (NoBullying, 2013) This is because Facebook is a common platform for students to aggregate, where photos and other media are shared.
Twitter on the other hand, often used as an online discussion platform for students like us, has up to 15,000 bullying tweets shared daily. (Fitzgerald, 2012)
The main reason why cyberbullying on social media is apparent relates back to Topic 2; under a cloak of anonymity, when individuals don’t talk face-to-face, they are less likely to feel the implications of what they are saying. People dare not offend openly, yet are not afraid to speak aloud when there is no form of threat around.
Knowing how to react to cyberbullying is important, and I’d like to end off with this 5-step approach video that I have self-made.
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List of References:
BBC Active (2010) Social media in education: How social media is changing education. Available at: http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/Howsocialmediaischangingeducation.aspx (Accessed: 11 November 2016).
Brien, L.O. (2012) Six ways to use social media in education. Available at: https://cit.duke.edu/blog/2012/04/six-ways-to-use-social-media-in-education/ (Accessed: 11 November 2016).
Burns, J. (2012) 10 most common Cyberbullying tactics. Available at: http://bullyproofclassroom.com/10-most-common-cyber-bullying-tactics (Accessed: 11 November 2016).
Fitzgerald, B. (2012) Bullying On Twitter: Researchers Find 15,000 Bully-Related Tweets Sent Daily (STUDY). Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/bullying-on-twitter_n_1732952.html (Accessed: 11 November 2016).
Hadad, C. (2015) Why some 13-year-olds check social media 100 times a day. Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/05/health/being-13-teens-social-media-study/ (Accessed: 11 November 2016).
Kleinman, Z. (2015) Who’s that girl? The curious case of Leah Palmer. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31710738 (Accessed: 11 November 2016).
Malcore, P. (2015) Teen Cyberbullying and social media use on the rise [INFOGRAPHIC]. Available at: http://www.rawhide.org/blog/wellness/teen-cyberbullying-and-social-media-use-on-the-rise/ (Accessed: 11 November 2016).
NoBullying (2013) Shocking Facebook Bullying Stories. Available at: https://nobullying.com/facebook-users-shocking-stories-cyber-safety-gone-wrong/ (Accessed: 11 November 2016).
Steyer, C. (2015) 8 Fascinating Facts About How Teens Use The Internet And Social Media. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tk-facts-about-teens-on-social-media-that-are-really-scary_us_55a7c6f0e4b0896514d06eab (Accessed: 11 November 2016).