Why Bullying in the Modern World is Worse

For all the benefits of the internet, there are many pitfalls; we can catch up on the latest movies and TV but piracy is encouraged, we can chat to our friends but our privacy is compromised. Where are the lines drawn? 30 years ago, if someone did something stupid that would be it.

They would have to live with their memories, but it wouldn’t be shared with the whole world. Cyberbullying is the most common form of bullying nowadays as it becomes ever easier for people to harass people and remain anonymous. For some reason, typing something and clicking “send” seems different to us to saying it to someone in person, perhaps it’s because it eliminates the possibility of physical retaliation. Before the internet, if someone had a compromising picture of someone else, the most they could do with it was show it to their friends, rather than leave it online where it can be downloaded by anyone. We put things on Facebook or Twitter without even thinking about who could see it. Even what we may see as private, such as texting, isn’t. Even if you discount government spying – and let’s be honest, I don’t think the secret services are interested in what homework I have to do – people can screenshot text messages with ease and share them with their friends. Spreading secrets becomes ever easier, while before the internet it was easy to say “I never said that” or “that’s not true”, when you text something to someone it becomes increasingly easier to prove that you said it.

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The problem with sharing things on the internet is that once it’s there, it’s there forever. Even if it’s private and only shared with friends, they can easily screenshot it and share it again. You can be as careful as you like when sharing pictures of yourself, if someone tags you, there’s nothing you can do. Social media means that our faces and names are pretty much everywhere all over the internet. There are differing stories when it comes to the average age for children to get their first mobile phone; some reports are as young as eight with one in ten five year olds owning one.

I got my first phone when I was 11 and it was one of those ones that could text and call and that was about it. How can an eight year old or even a five year old possibly understand the consequences of sharing something online? More than just that, in the UK more than 90% of homes has a computer in it. So what’s my point? I’m not trying to say that we should never ever go anywhere near the internet, in reality, the internet is mainly a great thing. I’m saying that we should stick to a few simple rules: if you wouldn’t write it in a letter and send it to someone in the mail, don’t text it so someone; if you wouldn’t stick it on a notice board, don’t put it on Facebook and if you wouldn’t want your Grandma/teacher/sibling to see it, then don’t put it online.