By Kristina Vu
If you walk into someone’s room, more than likely you will see someone on a laptop, computer, or cell phone. At this day and age, our generation is extremely attached to our technology. When asked to name five things teenagers can’t live without, they’d most likely answer: cell phones, iPods, and laptop. This might cause concern, but if they’re using the technology to entertain themselves, what’s the big deal?
Nowadays, it’s rare to see someone get bullied for their lunch money or get pushed against lockers for being an underclassman. What people fail to realize is that bullying has manifested into something entirely different, thanks to technology. The chances of being bullied haven’t dwindled. The type of bullying has just changed into something much scarier, cyber-bullying.
Cyber-bullying is defined as, “the act of harassing someone online by sending or posting mean messages, usually anonymously.” With websites like Formspring and Tumblr, bullying has actually become much easier. There’s no face-to-face contact, it’s just a person hiding behind a computer screen. Also, many websites offer the choice to send messages anonymously, which is unfortunately often used to send negative messages to a person.
Many teenagers worldwide are so badly cyber-bullied that they contemplate, attempt, and even succeed in suicide. A disturbing trend was the “Am I Pretty?” videos on YouTube, where teenage girls would make videos asking the viewers to comment or ‘like’ if they thought the girl was pretty. Many of the comments would poke fun at the girl for posting the video or they’d point out every flaw of the girl they could see.
Sometimes, technology isn’t used to bully, but rather to show expose it. For example, the recent YouTube video with Karen Klein, the bullied school bus monitor. The video shows a group of young kids harassing the bus monitor, yelling profanities and derogatory names, verbally abusing her to the point when she starts crying.
The video post helped garner worldwide support for Klein, and serves to prove that bullying hasn’t dwindled as the years have passed. Due to technology, the problem hasn’t gone away, it’s just changed.
One of the most important thing you can do is to not be that person hiding behind the computer screen telling someone they’re fat, ugly, orworthless. Instead of spreading hate, extend love to others. There’s so many ways to help combat bullying. Even if you can’t necessarily make cyberbulling go away, you can help others realize that there are other people out there for them. Befriend someone you wouldn’t normally, strike up a conversation with someone new. Go out of your way to reach out to others. There’s so many things you can do to help if you really put your mind to it. (end)
Editor’s note: This story was written by a Summer Youth Leadership Program student, not a Northwest Asian Weekly staff member.