Social media, an outlet source around the globe for people who want to share or broadcast their interests or preferences through technical enhancements in their mobile phones, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The twenty-first-century men live in a progressive society where they feel the urge to share their interests, adventures, and even every inch of their life while they set on a journey or eat a famous cuisine at a travel destination. These lifestyle changes have affected relationships, communications, privacy, and intimate interactions due to cyber-bullies, cheating, lack of trust, and a lack of confrontation (Amedie, 2015). On the one hand, social media proves to be a blessing for the progressive men out in global communities. On the other hand, it causes the serious issue of people observing and believing what is on a screen in their hands. This paper delves deep into the current real-life problem with social media and some behavioral interventions to mitigate the harmful effects that might be generated due to the misuse of social media.
Human beings have this inherent feeling that they cannot live alone fueled by their sense of community, so they always formed tight-knit groups that grew into communities and then into nations. These nations divided themselves into different countries as more people were born. The inhabitants of the different segments of the world, after the rapid growth of the world’s population, could not get information about what was happening in the other part of the region. So, the idea of “News” was generated to keep people informed and updated about the latest pieces of information from across the globe. With the passage of time, as global communities and their networks evolved, people began to use mediums for information and connection, such as the Internet. This led to the invention and creation of social media, which flourished with people looking for more new and novel ideas to connect with one another (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). As people changed their ideas of privacy through social media, the networks and mediums changed as well, creating different social media platforms. The lifestyle and privacy changes with the creation of these social media platforms involve many problems, including cyber-bullies, no communication, and demonstration of pseudo-perfect lives (Amedie, 2015).
Problem with Social Media
Social media has been amongst us for quite some time. However, now it has peeped into every inch of humans’ lives as a widespread phenomenon that is accustomed to the daily routine from photographing food to taking souvenir pictures of friends or family at a travel destination. While some social media users use the platforms for good such as spreading information, fundraising, shopping, reviewing different articles and promoting brands, others use social media to do the worst things to people, and that is where the problem begins. In social media platforms, cybercrimes continue to grow as time passes, leading to anger, stress, depression, and even suicide. Cybercrimes in social media involve cyberbullies that try to harm people through the misuse of personal information or by sending hateful and rude messages to social media users. The act refers to having the intention to coerce or intimidate other individuals in order to harm them intentionally or unintentionally. It does not only harm the person getting bullied over the internet but also causes stress on the victim’s friends and families. Studies have shown that cyberbullying leads to suicidal thoughts in teenagers and adolescents, that almost 30% of the people getting bullied commit suicide just to avoid the privacy threats in their lives (Feinberg & Robey, 2009).
Cyberbullying is a difficult situation that can be detrimental to anyone’s physical, psychological, or emotional health when an individual goes through it. It can have a major impact on an individual, his family, friends, and close relationships as the act of cyberbullying involves hurtful, degrading, and threatening messages or images that may make the victim belittled, ashamed, worried, and degraded in front of other people in his/her life. So, it can damage an individual physically and emotionally as the victims experience loneliness, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. When an individual gets bullied, he/she is scared to go out in public, even in his/her own family meetups, which makes him/her angry, alone, and frustrated. Constantly feeling alone leads to a person having suicidal thoughts or the thoughts of murdering the bullies to end up suffering and constant humiliation. Studies show that males, in particular, when bullied, get angry and vengeful, so they try to fight with the bullies over the internet in their own personal space. This worsens the situation because this is what the aim of a bully is to make others feel bad and miserable about themselves.
The victims of cyberbullying feel angry, isolated, depressed, and vengeful, which makes them aggressive and they could send hateful comments to the bully. When a victim tries to fire words back at bullies, they know they are getting the attention they want by disturbing others’ mental peace and privacy, so they blackmail such people into doing illegal things such as sending private pictures and payments. It is also observed that a bully has some sort of insecurity or complex about himself, which damages his mental state. Trying to protect themselves or making themselves pleased or contented while doing illegal things such as cyberbullying, they resort to making other individuals’ lives miserable and bad over the internet (Whittaker & Kowalski, 2015). One of the best examples of cyberbullying on a social media platform is the Twitter mob which is a group of bullies who troll people, brands, services, and organizations in a similar way just to drive more attention to the tweet to cancel and stink others.
Behavioral Intervention and Solution to Cyberbullying
Ignoring a social media platform is a difficult task because it has been dominating people’s lives for years now, but ignoring a cyberbully can help. Deleting a social media account to avoid or ignore the bully is a good step toward stopping the bullying and its detrimental impacts on one’s life. Cyberbullies strive for attention to achieve their nefarious designs on vulnerable people in society, which can be cut off by ignoring a bully. If ignoring does not work and the matter worsens into blackmailing, one must seek help from their surroundings. If the victims have suicidal thoughts, they should get help through counseling for better mental and psychological outcomes. Counselors encourage open communication with the victims of cyberbullying by making them realize that this is not their fault so that they can face all challenges with comfort and support. If things escalate, victims of cyberbullying should save pieces of evidence and reach out to Police, law-enforcing agencies, and cyber wings in the investigation agencies to protect themselves as well as other members of society from a bad individual or organization that poses threats to them (Snakenborg et al., 2011). People around victims should make them realize their strength and support so that they do not respond or retaliate to the bullies which can make the situation more difficult to handle.
Social media promotes the pseudo-perfect lives of bloggers and influencers that indulges people into thinking how a perfect world should be, which results in insecurity among people and leads to cyberbullying. People bully others over the internet to achieve the lifestyle they see on social media platforms that people have hard-earned after their entire life’s struggles. However, bullies try to steal all that through nefarious ways. Indeed, social media affects society in a negative way where vulnerable people get divorced, are inclined towards suicide, and ruin their own careers in the hands of cyberbullies because of the misinformation bullies spread to the victims personally or publically. However, with mental health awareness, the detrimental impacts and sufferings due to social media can be relieved and the platforms can connect the world for the better.
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Snakenborg, J., Van Acker, R., & Gable, R. A. (2011). Cyberbullying: Prevention and intervention to protect our children and youth. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 55(2), 88–95.
Whittaker, E., & Kowalski, R. M. (2015). Cyberbullying via social media. Journal of School Violence, 14(1), 11–29.