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Does Social Media Cause Bullying?

Have you ever heard claims that Social Media is the cause of bullying and classroom fights? Social media is constantly being criticized by people who think it’s a bad thing and that hurts me. The success of this blog depends for the most part on Social Media. I have a decent Twitter following, and my Facebook page is growing every day. These are direct links to readers.


I read in the local news paper a couple of days ago that a school district near mine was considering charging students fines for continued cell phone use offenses. The article claimed that cell phone use during school is causing cell phone fights due to texting, but they also mentioned social media use. I’m not sure if they were associating this with cell phones in school or social media in general but either way they let light on something that is getting continued attention by the media.

I used to be friends on Facebook with everyone I knew at school. Now I’m not and I hate to say it this way, but I’m not because they have no clue how to use social media. These fellow students post the most vulgar things and quite often these things they post are about other people. Now, it’s not everyone that’s doing this but it’s a significant number. They don’t realize that what they are posting can be shared, screen captured, and indexed forever and have an effect on their future.

They also don’t realize that other people besides them have Facebook, they don’t realize that the things they do online can cause tension the next day at school which causes fights. Social Media doesn’t cause any of this though, the bullies cause it. You can say it enables it, but not really. An offending post can easily be flagged and removed thanks to Facebook’s highly staffed 24/7 moderation team.

You can also block people. I’ve seen that this doesn’t work that well at first, the bully may say some not so nice things but eventually they will get over it. Another thing we have to consider though is cyber bullying. That’s a big problem and it’s different from Social Media posts that cause bullying in person. Cyber Bullying happens right here on the computer and can be very threatening. People male and female get very tough when their weapon is a keyboard. It’s easier to post on someone’s wall that they’re a “Fat ugly *****” than to walk up to someone and call them that. Cyber bullying is a serious crime that needs to be addressed by the authorities and schools.

If you’re ever a victim of any bullying as a result of something on social media, take screen-shots of the offending material and report it. If you receive any sort of threats to your life contact the proper authorities. A threat to your life on Social Media should be taken just as seriously as any other threat to your life.

So in conclusion, I don’t think Social Media causes bullying, it’s just another medium at which some bullies choose to do what they please. People who have never touched Facebook still get bullied. We can’t allow people to give Social Media a bad name just because of some bullies. Otherwise we would have to say that all schools are terrible and should be shut down (including private Christian schools) but we know that would never happen. Some people are having great success thanks to Social Media.

These opinions come from someone who’s been bullied all his life, partly from Social Media. This may be a controversial topic for some, however you are free to leave your Feedback. Paul Shirey Tech® supports open commenting always.


About The Author

Paul Shirey is the founder of Paul Shirey Tech. Paul loves exploring and learning about the latest tech stories. When he isn't reporting the latest tech news and stories to you you will find him playing Minecraft and blowing himself up as much as possible.

Number of Entries : 336
  • http://twitter.com/iopsychguy Jason Flaugh

    I agree that it doesn’t cause bullying, however it does make it more difficult to stop those that are.

    • Anonymous

      Only because people are lazy. Our government has proven you can censor the internet and get away with it.

  • http://twitter.com/webjock Mike Shollenberger

    Great question and post, Paul. Bullying is such a serious issue, and despite the attention it gets, I’m not sure enough is ever really being done about it.  So it’s hard to fault a school for considering cutting off a communication source that many students aren’t mature enough to handle responsibly.  That being said, to me social media isn’t the cause of bullying, rather it allows bullying to go viral like it does everything  else.  It allows asynchronous communication to accelerate in the background of real life, whereas previously such conversations would have to wait until after an event — or in this case a class, or a school day — to take place in person.  I don’t know what the right balance is, but I hope steps can be taken to prevent social media from being used as a weapon.  At the end of the day, though, social media doesn’t bully people, people do.

    • Anonymous

      Social Network CEOs are the only one’s who can start the movement to end it (online atleast)

  • Tom Laing

    A great post Paul thought provoking and so are the comments below. Mostly though the bullying type comments I’ve seen are posted by those who really have now understanding of the consequences of their writings. Easy access to the web and to social media means it it just another part of their lives.  My kids have been verbally bullied at school and with the games kids play, it’s part of their culture and can only be hindered and redirected when adults step in and say, very firmly, such behaviour(s) just aren’t on and wont be tolerated.

  • Ernie Arias

    We need to understand Social Media as a way of expression. Social Media has nothing to do with how individuals or group of people behave, this is just a way of expression and individuals will express in whatever way they feel like regardless what environment they’re doing it. Blaming Social Media because of the recent riots in London or because of the Occupy Wall Street movement is just retarded. The sentiment is already there, Social Media is only an effective way of mass communication. Bullies, crooks, delinquents, corrupts, etc., have always exist in every society. Social Networks an online communities are only a microcosm of our society and quite frankly I can assure that the majority of people in Social Media right now are here for good reasons. However, make no mistake that is just a matter of time until we get to see a more accurate representation of our society in its true colors. Eventually more and more people will adapt to it.

    • Anonymous

      Social Media is something where if you use it right, it can do amazing things

  • Michael Q Todd

    Brave and powerful thought Paul. You are learning so much every day right? Bully’s are the losers not the bullied.

    • Anonymous

      Amen!

  • Anonymous

    I see it as just another platform for those people to hide their insecurities Paul. As I said before just stay true to yourself! 

  • Scott Allen

    I agree — same old problem, new medium. When we hear about so may stories of cyber-bullying, it sounds like there’s an awful lot of it going on. But consider that Facebook is now larger than the entire United States in population. Imagine if we heard about every single case of bullying that happened all over the country all in one place… if every case made national news.

    The media has a tremendous lack of appreciation for the scale issue, which makes the problem seem far more pervasive than it really is. I’m not saying it’s not a problem — just not nearly as big as the media makes it out to be.

  • Anonymous

    Amen! Thanks for putting this together – for all of us!

    • Anonymous

      Glad you liked it!

  • http://drupal.txwikinger.me.uk/ Ralph Janke

    I think it goes too far to say that social media causes bullying. Social media is a tool which can be used positively or negatively. However, I think it is fair to say that social media is a very easy medium for bullies to gain a powerful platform for  their misdeeds. The use of social media can also intensify the effect of the bullying acts.

    I do agree with you that social media sites due have a responsibility to intervene. Mostly, the terms and conditions for usage are written in ways that allows them to do so.

    I totally agree with your sentiment of trying to stop bullying.

    Love is louder! http://www.facebook.com/joinloveislouder

  • http://twitter.com/EmmanuelGonot Emmanuel Gonot

    Great post, Paul. You nailed it in the head, social media is just a channel or tool that enhances the way we communicate and relate to each other. Like other tools, it is two-edged, highlighting both the good and the bad in us. Bullies will always be bullies with or without social media. 

    • Anonymous

      Glad you liked it! Please be sure to sign the petition!

  • Anonymous

    If the web is part of the real world, which it is all the problems of the real world will occur. Ric

    • Anonymous

      Real world problems occur no matter what. If there is one family starving in the middle of a jungle and no one knows about it or hears about it, they are still starving.

      If people are being bullied and no one is hearing about it or seeing it or doing anything about it, they are still being bullied.

      Your comment really got me thinking :)

  • http://qwikr.me Kimberly Reynolds

    I think social media makes being a bully even easier…but it also makes it easier to call someone out on it too.

    • Anonymous

      This is the exact reason we need to reach out to Facebook and YouTube. Click the any one of the links on the site to sign the petition!

  • Ciaran Connolly

    Hi Paul – I agree the social media is a new medium for bullying – but the nature of social media can  make negative comments/images/jokes at others expense in a closed environment as a school – seem viral compared to the real world…30 kids in a class… how long does it take for something to be shared between them? So I am all for no facebook/social media or phones in schools..I do not think kids are mature enough to use them…they do not understand the impact it can have on someone’s life – I have seen it first hand. But as the comments below…its people who cause the problems…not the instruments. I am so glad all this was not around when I was younger :-) Its tough today…I think it will be a while before we get a solution to this -if we ever do. Lets be honest it is in everyone’s interest – if they think that or not………thanks for the post

    • Anonymous

      Sign the petition

  • Elza van Swieten

    Hi Paul, in the last years working and being with (my and other) children, I’ve learned it works best to tell children what to do instead of what not to do. For example, when I tell my kids to stop shouting, the effect is zero. But when I whisper to them to ease their voices, they will. If I tell them ‘be careful you will fall’ they will fall for sure. I found it with marketing too, in newsletters and writing instructions. Tell people what to do and not so much what they mustn’t do. Like the example of ‘don’t think about a pink elefant’ – children and adults will hear the subject and not so much the do or don’t part. Make the subject of the objective clear. Every vice or negative attitude has some positive sunny side. What is the positive ‘brother’ of the bullying? With bullying, is it the wish for being seen? The wish to have a good conversation? There are great programs in teaching children values, focusing on that can help teachers to turn around the negative direction into a positive one. (example of values teaching for children 
    http://bkwsu.org/us/partnerships/livingValues).

    PS I am just thinking about a little conflict this morning in my own house, my 3 year old girl hit her bigger brother with something. He cried real loud, and I took them both with me and hugged them both. I instructed her to give her brother a kiss and tell him sorry made her cry too. The one that bullies is in as much pain as the one that is being bullied, judging is not the answer.

  • http://socialpositive.wordpress.com/ Nick

    There’s bullying, and  there’s social media bullying. One may not cause another.

    • Anonymous

      Cyber bullying is still bullying.

  • http://twitter.com/swissbusiness swissbusiness

    Dear Paul,
    Thank you so much for your great blog post!
    No, social media doesn’t cause bullying but it can amplify it and as Michael Todd mentioned, bully’s are the losers, not the bullied, also because of exactly this same amplification. 
    Have a great and happy weekend!
    Best
    Lucas

  • http://twitter.com/candacemountain Candace Mountain

    Bullies have been around long before social media and trying to form a correlation is as ludicrous as blaming hammers for murder because a murderer used on to kill a person.   Social media is a tool which as valuable as it is can be used for evil.  Blame the bully and put the focus on stopping the bully and not social media.

  • http://www.orient-lodge.com ahynes1

    Social media is here to stay, whether you like it or not.  So, if students are running into issues around social media, schools that are committed to education will recognize they need to help their students learn how to effectively use social media, and not ban them from using it, causing their students to be at a disadvantage when they enter the work force.

  • Anne Thomas

    I agree, bullies are bullies whether in the outside world or online. It’s mean and cowardly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.stepel Dan Stepel

    When I started school in the 60’s you never heard the word
    bullying although by today’s definition it was present. However it was never a
    huge issue.  This was long before social
    media.

    As for the schools handing out fines to students for texting in class that
    makes zero sense. The rule should be no cell phone in class.

  • http://www.mikeseth.tk/ Mike Seth

    Signed the petition!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks!

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