Thursday, November 10, 2011

Social Media and Bullying

 By Susie Kroll

Social media such has Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Formspring are the tools of a Bully and the tools of a Victim.  I’m sure you wonder what I mean.

In today’s society these types of social media can be used by an abuser to taunt, tease, and harass a victim.  Before social media, the bullying done to a child ended when school was over.  The victim had time to rest, refresh, and bolster up the courage to face the next day of school.

Now, when the victim goes home, they get online; see messages, posts, and other hurtful bullying statements outside of school walls.  They, for all intents and purposes, are under attack 24/7.  There is no time to breath or recharge.  While I believe that no victim should have to recharge, when in the situation of being bullied, a 24/7 attack is much more detrimental.   By now, most people think that social media is more of a negative societal attribute rather than a positive one.

On the other side, when a victim feels alone, hurt, and has nowhere to turn, there is social media.  We have seen, recently, in the media all of the reports of our kids reaching out for help through Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media.  The sad end to that is that by the time the information makes it to the masses ears, we have lost another child.  Jamey Rodemeyer killed himself after regularly reaching out via social media to anyone that would listen to his cries for help. 

Our tweens and teens are reaching out to celebrities, the untouchables, people that, if it weren’t for social media, would probably never be exposed or aware of the cries of a single child.  30 years ago, I couldn’t have reached out to the Beatles for help, if I were being bullied, in the hope that they would understand and try to help me. 

Now, teens and tweens are reaching out to celebrities that they feel they can identify with.  They are looking for someone to hear their cries.  They are looking for someone that has the power to end their problems. 

We have the power.  Each and every one of us has the ability to become educated, learn the signs, and save a child’s life, before they take it themselves.  So, back to social media.  I do not think that it is either evil or good.  I think social media’s label depends on how we use it.  We can use the power of social media to help those in need, educate the masses, and listen to those cries for help.

The moral of the story, the tools that we are presented with are only as good or bad as we make them.  Someone can choose to kill someone with a hammer just as they can choose to build a home for someone in need.  Social media can be used to belittle and abuse or it can be used to uplift and inspire.  Make the choice to be the light in someone’s life instead of the dark.  

Susie Kroll frequently speaks on the issue of teen dating violence, bullying and how to create healthy relatoinships. She is also a regular contributor to the Here Women Talk online magazine,  Please visit her website for more information:


1 comment:

  1. This absolutely shakes me to my core! Something similar, which happened to me, beginning late last year~I feel and relate to every bit of this young woman's pain. The events leading up to my own 'ADULT internet bullying' has caused an immense amount of mental/emotional pain and I fear it's also changed my life, forever. I'm not a kid or even a teen, but a 54 year-old Grandmother! The bullying began on Facebook, then escalated in to the building of a blog, right here on Blogger! Though I am not the only person attacked in the blog, I am the most talked about~with over fifty blog posts, solely about me. ALL 100% false information!!

    Those who know me, REALLY know me...are very much aware of my lifelong nature of reaching out to others in need. Whether it be advocating for missing persons, helping and bringing awareness to the sick and/or injured, grief stricken, victims of poverty/abuse/crime, just to name a few...THIS is who I am...a helper, a giver, with 100% real and true intent to do my part, in helping make this world, this life...a better place for all. To find out my name, reputation and character have been unjustifiably tarnished, forever... and done so on the world wide web, is nothing short of personal travesty. I now fear and even hold back, from becoming involved in 'missions' I fear the completely, sickening un-truths... will now impact any and every thing I touch.

    Sadly, this nightmare has even gone so far as to impact relationships within my own family. Imagine my feelings, when I found out a few members of my family were actually at least 'somewhat' involved in this whole mess...mainly because they did not want to be considered 'guilty by association.' Unbelievable! ALL because of a group of hate and vile filled individuals, whom have never even met me, decided it was grossly unjust to have a difference of opinion. Apparently in their minds, this justified them to manufacture everything from foul language 'flavored' emails, false documents and altered photo' be put on the internet for all the world to see. Truly...morbid entertainment. It sickens me, literally physically, to think about my Grandchildren working on a genealogy project one day and decide to Google information about me. Not only will they find the horrid blog, they will also find 'smut' sites, which have linked to the blog. ALL vile filled lies!

    Now.. I am sure, there will be people who feel this post is a dire mistake, as it has potential to only bring more attention to what already deeply saddens and effects my life. This is okay. If by me stepping forth helps even one person, none of this has been done in vain. I will NOT stop reaching out to others...not now...not EVER! It may take awhile to get back on my feet 100%, but God willing...and I know He's with me on this!~I WILL be back!! ♥ (In fact, I am currently working on the final plans for a candle light vigil to be held in Vancouver, WA... in honor of a fourteen year old girl who disappeared forty years ago, while walking home from school.)


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