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The Impact of Social Media on Bullying Among Children

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Bullying among adolescent children is more prevalent today as a result of increased availability and use of social media. On platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, children have the ability to reach out to classmates in a positive or negative manner. Social media was created with positive intentions, however, the absence of strict monitoring on social media websites allows for bullying to take place. On Facebook and Instagram, adolescents have the ability to write negative comments on people’s profiles and pictures as well as send them provide messages that are hidden from those that can report the crimes. They also have the ability to post pictures of others, which does not require the approval of the bullied party. Often, these comments are gender identity shaming or body-shaming in nature, which has the potential to cause psychological and physical harm to the bullied victim.

In 2016, an 18-year-old female named Brandy Vela committed suicide by shooting herself in the chest after she had been receiving abusive text messages for months. There was also a fake Facebook page made about her used to mock her weight. According to the victim’s sister, those who bullied Brandy also made dating websites for her using her real cell phone number. On those dating websites, they offered sex for free on her behalf after lying about her age. Even when Brandy changed her number, the bullies found her. Ultimately, the victim resorted to physical harm and shot herself in front of her family. Her last cellphone text to her family was ‘I love you so much just remember that please and I’m so sorry for everything.’ As a result, the parents of Brandy Vela called for stricter laws against cyberbullying.

At this time across the nation, each state approaches cyberbullying differently. Many of the states have implemented laws and policies to combat cyberbullying and the possible psychological and physical toll it may have on victims. In New York, school districts are mandated to establish policies and procedures to create a harassment-free, bully-free and discrimination-free environment. School officials are required to report incidents of harassment, bullying or discrimination. They must create a positive school culture and prevent recurrence of behavior to ensure the safety of all students. In New York State in general, there are laws in place that prevent harassment based on age, race, color, weight, ethnic group, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.

In my opinion, I believe it is important to monitor adolescent usage of social media. Parents have the ability to make sure their children are safe online by checking their accounts to screen for potential bullying. It is more important to be considered mildly ‘overbearing’ than to be unaware as to the suffering your child is going through. I also believe social media networks should continue improve their ability to screen for potential cyberbullying. On most social media platforms, there is the option to report bullies so that the social media platform removes them from the website. They have banned certain ‘#hashtags’ so that promotions of certain harmful ideals such as pro-suicide and pro-body shaming content is screened. Lastly, schools should promote a no-tolerance environment towards bullying to set a certain standard for all students. They should raise awareness on bullying and the possible effects it may have. Most adolescents bully without fully understanding that severe psychological and physical effects, such as suicide, are a common outcome to bullying and that they should be punished if someone dies at the hand of their harassment.


  1. Cbs/ ap. (2017, February 7). Cyberbullying pushed Texas teen to commit suicide, family says. Retrieved from https:// www. cyberbullying-pushed- texas-teen-commit-suicide-family/.
  2. The Dignity Act. (2019, October 15). Retrieved from http:// www.p12. dignityact/.

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