Sunday, March 13, 2011

Facebook Attacks Bullying

Social networking sites provide many positive communication aspects for users, but have also lead to the issue of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying has become an ever increasing issue that is demanding the involvement of government regulation. Children as young as fourth grade have begun bullying online. If this vicious cycle continues into our youth, bullying will become embedded in society as a social norm. Bullying is already socially acceptable, and it is not at all uncommon to hear of bullying in online environments. Finally Facebook stepped in to try and stop the problem just a few days ago.

The difference in severity between bullying on a playground and cyberbullying is that there aren't teachers, administrators, or even regulations to stop bullying online. Anonymity has given children, teenagers, and even adults the ability to terrorize individuals without repercussions or consequences. According to CNN, Facebook added two new security features to their social networking site this past week. The first provides users with the ability to report to a "support system" of friends, family, and safety experts if they believe they are being bullied. This feature will ultimately provide those being cyberbullied with an outlet so that they may discuss the issue with others who will be able to help them.

The second feature is called a Safety Center. This gives adults and teenagers a place on Facebook where they can watch educational videos, view statistics, and learn from tutorials regarding how to counsel victims of cyberbullying. The collaboration between the White House and Facebook officials aimed to provide an online support system for Facebook users in attempt to decrease online bullying. In addition to being able to report problems, victims of cyberbullying will be able to send evidence of bullying, such as status updates and pictures, to these experts. Seeing as online bullying and harassment continues to worsen with our increase in constant connectivity, hopefully these Facebook features will be able to contribute to solving the problem of cyberbullying.

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