The newest epidemic sweeping across the country negatively impacting children. Poisoning the minds of our younger generation with demoralizing thoughts leading to a multitude of suicides, depressions, and lost friends. These details are not meant to be taken lightly. The horrible thing that I am describing is not a disease, nor a completely new phenomena to this earth. What I am describing is cyber bullying, the newest and most common form of bullying that has adapted with the advancements to technology. Cyber bullying affects millions of kids all over the world. I personally have been touched by this epidemic.
When I was in Middle School people on Facebook made a fake account of me and my friend group and titled it “The Nerds”. They would post made up jokes about the lame activities we did on the weekends. It was horrible, I still remember that miserable year of Middle School and how it has shaped the person I am today. Each case of cyber bullying shares similar traits to degrade the victim through words on social media. I was curious about cyber bullying and what we can learn about an issue that causes so much harm in the world we live in. This paper will answer how cyber bullying language throughout Facebook is similar.
Addressing the language used in internet bullying incidents and the way it affects the victim’s identity. Today, Facebook is the world’s largest form of social media, connecting billions of people all around the world with their friends. The only problem with this is it also gives access to millions of kids to taunt, mock, and bully other kids online. It gives bullies a whole new way to go about dismaying others. Bullying “has been around … for as long as there’s been people on the earth… (although) it seems to be getting worse. It’s happening more frequently and it seems to be happening with greater intensity. (Flott) The uptick in the intensity of bullying aspects is most likely because of the platforms that they are on.
On Facebook, bullies have a wide variety of tactics to attack such as creating a fake page, or a harmful post towards their victim. “(A) bully will use whatever means they can to get to the person they want to get to. ” (Flott) The question is are there any parallels that can be made about how these bullies use language to tear down their victims? Bullies obviously do not have a set word bank that they choose from, yet there are many consistencies in the language they use. You see a lot of comments against someone’s appearance, race, intelligence, or sexual preferences. Words like “dumbass” and “f*ggot” really stand out to me. ” (Collier).
The majority of cyber bullying incidents involve 3 categories, sexual, racial, and attributal. (Notar) Bullies will search for the most hurtful way to undermine the victim through cyber bullying. “Kids can hide behind their computer or on their phone and type messages that are hateful” (Flott) without having any immediate repercussions. There is a difference between face to face confrontation and a screen.
Attackers have this perceived confidence about themselves behind a screen rather than in front of the actual victim. (Flott) Technology has brought a new intensity to bullying, the language used by bullying is for the most part are consistent although they have gotten more and more violent and harmful as cyberbullying has emerged. Language associated with internet bullying continues to become more intense. As this happens the affect that attacks have on the victim’s identity gets greater and greater. People are being limited from who they really are because the toll that cyber bullying takes on these victim’s lives.
The internet in today’s society plays a huge role in the upbringing of our younger generations. “Kids are getting younger and younger on social media, I remember when I was in 4th grade some of the other kids would brag about having a Facebook account. ” (Collier) It is a very slippery slope when introducing kids at such a young age to social media because even adults face problems with bullying on social media let alone children. Kids have never lived life without the internet so when these children begin to implement social media into their young lives they have no distinction between the internet and reality.
“(T)here is no wariness, no understanding, no concept of an Internet identity. There is no such thing for them, for example, as “Internet famous. ” There is only fame. ” (Layden) This results in a huge uptick in the affect that internet attacks can have on the identities of its victims. From the ages of 10-16 there is a huge amount of changes occurring with children. They are developing a sense of who they are, a sense of their identity. If something detrimental were to happen during this time it can tremendously disrupt this process. I know that personally I am a different person today because of cyber bullying.
I remember laying in my bed thinking “what is wrong with me”. Rather than standing up and trying to face the problem, I shifted the way I acted and the way I was perceived so the issues would stop. They eventually did, yet I think my age affected the way I dealt with the problem. Today’s younger generation lives on the internet. The internet is intertwined within their lives and that is why cyber bullying is harder to deal with than just walking away from the screen. It is always there, more people will see it and it does not just disappear if you walk away from the screen. Notar)
With such detrimental possibilities happening at such a crucial age there can be a huge shift in how the victims identify themselves. Although, language and identity in cyber bullying have a multitude of similarities, one can argue that there are no distinct parallels between cyber bullying. Some may argue that there cannot be any definite similarities made between language and cyber bullying. Although, there is a large amount of evidence that support the notion that the majority of attacks language fall into a few categories.
At the end of the day there are not any exact language consistencies between cyberbullying cases, rather each is arbitrary to its situation. (Notar) The one thing that can be made definite is that language in these attacks have gotten increasingly violent. “People are really mean. ” (Collier) It is evident that bullies are extremely creative with the way that they demoralize their victims over the internet. With no immediate repercussions of the language you use on the internet there is an increased sense of confidence to what you can say.
94% of people in a Massachusetts high school say that they have the confidence to use worse language behind a screen than what they can use in public. (Notar) It is evident that technology has led to bullies ability to use the most harmful and degrading language without any fear. There can be an argument that there are no exact consistencies between cyberbullying cases because each case is unique to its situation. Likewise, there is a multitude of evidence supporting that there are some similarities in the way bullies degrade victims with language. Whether you like it or not, bullying will not be stopped anytime soon.
With the advancements to technology and social media bullying has turned into a monster of its own. Online attacks are more common than any other, leaving a sense of “helplessness” to those trying to prevent these issues from happening. (Flott) Facebook and other social media websites are perfect platforms for bullies to use and have this sense of power and secrecy behind a screen. Whether it be posting a “like this post if you hate ________”, (Layden) or making a fake account mocking an individual, attackers draw parallels in the language that they use.
Those being discriminating against the race, sexuality, or attributes of another person. (Notar) These similarities in the majority of cases are hints in the right direction to stopping this monster of a social issue that cyberbullying is today. We should all strive for a world that people will not be attacked online for their race, or sexuality. A world that it is okay to be different. A world that teens do not have to worry about their identity being attacked. Until that day we must progress towards equality without judgment and the only way to do that is by studying the role language and identity play a role in these incidents.