Cyber bullying has been on the rise in the last decade and the main facilitator has been the social network boom. Facebook’s latest scheme to combat this distasteful use of our freedom of communication targets the 13 to 14-year-old user who may feel too intimidated to hit the site’s “report” button.
The new button says “This post is a problem” prompting the kids to answer a few questions about why they’re upset by a particular post on Facebook. The questionnaire attempts to take the kids to a solution that’s suitable for the problem at hand. If it’s more that they’re annoyed, rather than frightened by the post, then it suggests that they message their friend and let them know it makes them uncomfortable. If the post seems more dangerous in nature, then it suggests they message an adult about it and get some help. It even directs teens to suicide hotlines and professional help if it believes the user has suicidal tendencies.
These new tactics have been put into action after consultation with researches at Columbia and Yale Universities. It’s believed that measures like this are becoming critical as the younger generations start living their lives half in the real world, and half in cyberspace. Social interaction, both good and bad, is happening more and more online and it’s important that younger generations know how to seek out support networks when they feel attacked in the more virtual side of their world.
Hopefully more measures like this will reduce the emotional abuse that happens online and also help those who are more ignorant about the effect of their words, helping them realize how what they say and type can affect others much more deeply than they initially expect.