Anti-Social Social Media 

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)

impact-of-social-media-in-education

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)

cyber-bullying-finalcolor

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)

bully-stats

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).

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7 thoughts on “Anti-Social Social Media 

  1. zaidhanblog says:

    Hi Shafiq.
    I read your article and found it a great piece on the topic of cyber bullying. I have to agree with all pointers that you’ve put out about cyber bullying. While almost everyone is or has fallen victim to cyber bullying are there any significant measures that can be taken to prevent it? Furthermore, schools and institutes are taking an initiative to teach students the reality of cyber bullying and how this could lead to devastating impacts. Teachers just like students can go online and find out what is going on in the student community. Although you’ve emphasised and pointed out the impacts of cyber bullying the interpretation I got from the post is that teachers aren’t really aware of what is going on and that may not be the case in this digital world. Teachers are given guidelines to counter cases of cyberbullying through training and development sessions. An example can be the this booklet about prevention of cyber bullying produced by COSTIS0801.

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    1. Shafiq Mazlan says:

      Hi Zaidhan,

      Thanks for your comment! While I did include a video on how to react to cyberbullying, you were right that I did not mention the measures that can be taken to prevent it. To answer this, firstly, it is important to secure your accounts by using strong passwords or double-authentication to prevent unwanted access and information theft. Secondly, adjust your privacy settings so that only people you know are able to view and interact with you online. Thirdly, learn how to use the report function of your social media account in case of any online harassment.

      As for your comment regarding teachers not being aware of what is going on, that is not the case as you’ve mentioned, and yes they have guidelines on how to counter these cyberbully attacks. However, unless the teachers were able to see the cyberbullying attacks publicly, I would like to add on that usually, victims choose not to report the matter to their teachers or parents. According to statistics, only 10% of teenagers report they’ve been cyberbullied to their teachers/parents, as 40% were scared their teachers/parents would get involved, 36% worried what their teachers/parents would do, and 32% said they felt ashamed.

      I hope I’ve answered your queries, and thank you for your feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Norman Tay says:

    Hi Shafiq,
    I would respectfully disagree that educational use of social media conceptualised cyberbullying. The crux of the matter is that social media is the catalyst and not educational use. However, I would agree that educational use makes it easier for bullies to find a reason to victimise an individual (bad answers, disagreeable ideas etc.) I personally think that the problem could be reduced by having an institutional website/forum where pseudonyms are absent.

    Having an institutional platform helps to create a sterile environment as students’ comments would or could be regulated. To eradicate the problem in its entirety is a challenge on another level; to eliminate social media platforms is pretty much impossible. Thus I would suggest institutions to educate students on the concept of “cyberbullying”, and convey that there will be absolute intolerance when dealing with cyberbullying. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shafiq Mazlan says:

      Hi Norman,

      Thanks for the comment! You’re right by saying that cyberbullying did not stem from the educational use of social media itself, and thank you for pointing out to me that I did not make it out to appear so. I was trying to explain that cyberbullying has seen a rise in the increased adoption of social media in education, as social media in this context has allowed students studying in the same institution to aggregate on the same platforms, thus creating a bigger and easier pool of potential victims for cyberbullying. As for the use of pseudonyms in websites, I would say that it is a double-edged sword. Disallowing anonymity or using pseudonyms would mean that anyone who cyberbullies someone could be easily identified, while at the same time, allowing the use of pseudonyms or anonymous profiles would mean that cyberbullies might not know who to target.

      You’ve brought up good points about educating students on cyberbullying and its intolerence in the institution, and I fully agree with you. It is true that eradicating this problem of cyberbullying is a big challenge, but the measures taken to educate and prevent cyberbullying is an important first step for students and teachers alike to tackle this issue.

      Thank you for your feedback,
      Cheers!

      Like

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