Written by: Bridget Carter-Whitney
Throughout the past two centuries, technology has evolved unimaginatively. And our lives as a society have continued to adapt with it. From simple things like transportation, to the more complicated, our lives continue to change. Each change brings on more change, like dominos. Every time there is a new way to communicate, there is a new way to bully, a new way to be hurt.
Cyberbullying is a very broad problem. It happens all over the internet. Most of us at Harbord have attended several assemblies that were designed to teach us about how horrible bullying is; how negative it’s effects can be. We know that, we know how awful it is. But for some of us, that doesn’t change a thing. Bullying is more than just something we see in movies, where the jocks are pushing the geeks around. No, bullying is even a problem with the students at our own school. The internet is a place where we might feel safest, and yet there we are at our most vulnerable point.
From the spring to the fall of 2014, someone at Harbord anonymously created a Facebook page, and targeted his or her peers. The posts began as just random screenshots of pictures from Google Images with a caption about other students. The jokes were light, not too much to be offended by. But this fall they escalated and eventually became hurtful. The account was shut down by its owner.
A few years ago, our own facebook walls began jumping with posts about Ask.fm. People were begging to be asked questions about themselves. The appeal was the unique concept of anonymous questions. But if you clicked to actually look at one of the pages, it was a striking example of cyberbullying. People could criticize and express hatred within their own homes without anyone ever knowing that it was them. People forgot about bullying, so many who would never say anything mean to someone’s face began to torment others.
A bully can represent many different scenarios. WordReference.com describes a bully as, “one who bothers and hurts smaller people.” The term is so general that it will always exist. Right now the goal is to create awareness so that people can take notice when someone or themselves are being bullies and do something about it.