It has been an on-going issue in recent times and it doesn’t seem to be slowing. Bullying (namely cyber-bullying) is currently at an all time high and the United States government is now involved. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama recently released a video on Facebook that serves as the promotional video for the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention which takes place on Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm EST (more specifically 12:20pm).
Facebook along with the Department of Education, the Department of Health, students, teachers, concerned staff and parents are at the forefront of this summit. Facebook is acting as the host of a Facebook DC live event, which will be a live conversation from the conference about how we can all promote a safer, more tolerant, and responsible use of the internet. The event will take place on several Facebook pages, including the Facebook DC live homepage and will involve Facebook security, White House Office of Public Engagement and MTV.
Cyber bullying has been a growing issue in our community as measures to bully have succumb to unimaginable efforts and the effects of bullying have been life changing. Yes, it’s true, many of us have experienced bullying (or have even bullied) at some point or another in our childhood but when do we decide as an individual and as a nation that enough is enough? Cyber-bullying can affect performance in school, at home and in extra-curricular activities. We’re constantly witnessing on the news and in your neighborhoods how bullying is affecting confidence, social skills and development so it is now time to take an active stand.
One can only imagine how use of Facebook has added to the torturous levels of bullying and other torment. This medium has taken bullying to a height much unlike the heights experienced by myself or other colleagues who didn’t have the luxury of vast social networking. According to Adam Hildreth, founder and CEO of Crisp Thinking, a digital watchdog agency concerned with behavioral analysis and Internet safety, “Out of 15 million children’s IM accounts analyzed we found that 5.6 million children received cyber bullying messages.” The numbers are astonishing. The National Crime Prevention Council and the Cyber-bullying Research Center reports that cyber-bullying affects almost half of all American teens; 19,000 attempted suicides occur each year in the U.S. because of cyber-bullying.
Facebook has attempted to counter the new growing trend of bullying on the outlet by implemented renewed resources into stopping online bullying, including by creating a Safety Page and Safety Center. The White House has also created its own portal StopBullying.gov. This site offers resources for kids, teens, young adults, parents and educators addressing types of bullying, signs of bullying, effects of bullying and ways to get help.
Cyber-bullying is not to be taken as a grain of salt as livelihood and ultimately, lives are threatened because of it. If you know of anyone who is a victim of bullying or if you happen to be a bully yourself please be encouraged to tune in to Facebook tomorrow afternoon so that you may seek help.