Society today has seen a huge shift in chosen modes of communication. People live their lives behind the safety of a computer screen, adopting any character they wish. Social media has diminished the art of conversation and expression, monopolising young children’s time to ensure that they are up to date with the latest ‘gossip’ on their timeline. A huge number of people become completely reliant on Facebook, one websites claims.
“350 million users suffer from Facebook addiction syndrome”
However, adults are not the real worry; it is the increasing number of young children that are taking to social media sites, perhaps in bid to make new friends or innocently trying to fit in. The unforgiving culture of young children is to involve themselves in the latest trends or be labelled as ‘uncool’. The question in hand is;
Is it ethically correct and safe for a child to make themselves so overtly available to the world via social media?
“50% of children aged between 12 – 17 use social media every day”
This huge reliance on a network of communication somewhat disregards the filter of common decency. Cyber Bullying is on the up, every day children are being subjected to hateful, malicious behaviour that perhaps in reality face to face would never have occurred.
Cyber Bullying is defined as;
“Cyber bullying is when a person or a group of people uses the internet, mobile phones, online games or any other kind of digital technology to threaten, tease, upset or humiliate someone else”
Every day children are being affected by cyber bulling hate, 39% of social network users have been cyber bullied in some way. The real issue in hand is the argument of whether children are mature enough to actually use social media. Bullies will always exist be it in the playground at school or the confinements of online I don’t dispute that. However the levels of cruelty and freedom to speak with very little or no figure of authority to stand in is the issue of online torment. Children will sit behind their computer screen and immediately have a new found sense of confidence, with very little notion to recognise the consequences.
The hate from selfish, online teen monsters has had the horrific ability to make others feel completely alone in the world. The fear of getting home every evening and reading disgusting insults and threats has driven people to take their own lives.
Looking at Amanda Todd an innocent young girl faced with a living hell from the age of 12, her life made horrific by classmates and one malicious individual. One naïve mistake, haunted her for years after one sadistic male created a profile of private images that she had opened herself up to in a spout of innocent fun with friends over webcam. In a sick and twisted attempt to ruin her lives the now confirmed paedophile tracked down her new class mates time after time as she hopped from school to school in a bid to escape her nightmare.
The question in hand is did the bullies that taunted her every day, jumping on the bandwagon thinking it’s funny, did they truly think that it made them “cool”?
“I hope she see’s this and kills herself”
Do you think that they stopped to consider that she might actually listen?
Before long the trauma became too much, she took her life, with one final cry for help days before she told her story in a video uploaded to YouTube, highlighting the nightmare she was living. To this day you can still Google her name and see SICK, DISGUSTING formulated images making light of the situation. The bully lives on.
In my opinion, be it a small percentage or not, the bullies that roam free on social media should be enough to make the assumption that children are not ready for the world of social media. The bullies are evident enough but also the victims that are subjected to this yet don’t have the strength and confidence to report the torture.
Parents who’s soul purpose in life is to protect their children, cannot even fathom the damage social media is doing because of lack of education. They cannot understand the dangers of such accessibility and lack of privacy and control. Albeit that the social media sites claim that they are aware and forcefully taking action to stop these instances from occurring. But Amanda Todd never received any help. Her story was in fact reported but Facebook failed, too little too late. The children of our generation and years to come deserve the right to be protected and the standard of social media today is just the beginning.
So what do you think, are children mature enough to use social media? Does the age of 12 -17 mean you know how to correctly manage yourself online? And what changes need to be made?