Cyberbullying Increases as Social Media Use Explodes

Colleen Mortell, Staff Writer

At Notre Dame Academy, students do not see much pushing and shoving in the hallways, but there is no surprise that with today’s technology, the abuses of social media have risen.

Cyberbullying is an example of an abuse caused by social media.  It is the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.

Social media websites have gained popularity with teens in middle school and high school, and cyberbullying incidents have increased.

If you walk into a classroom and ask students who has an account on any social media website, a large majority of the class would admit they do.

Social media can range from updating your status on FaceBook, to sending a ten second picture or video on SnapChat.  Most teenagers have an account on several different sites including FaceBook, Twitter,, Instagram, SnapChat, Vine, and Tumblr.

Each website is unique for its own purpose, which is why teenagers have multiple accounts.

These websites give the users the ability to comment on photos and posts.  This is where some of the bullying may start.

The majority of my friends did not create a FaceBook profile until high school, and now have Twitter, Instagram, and others.  I have noticed more middle schoolers are joining social media at a much younger age than current high schoolers did.  When I was in middle school, most parents would not let their children be members of these sites.

And it’s not just social media websites which are popular with middle schoolers.  When I was younger, it was a big deal to get any type of phone, but now middle schools are full of students with iPhones and iPads.  I believe owning these devices at a younger age gives the students more opportunities to get involved online. And that’s where the cyberbullying occurs. is a newer site that is more popular with freshmen and middle schoolers.  It is a social networking website where users can ask other users questions, with the option of anonymity.

I think this is just asking for trouble.  This is where a large majority of bullying happens, especially because it is anonymous.  People can message you anything they want, and you have no idea who is on the other end of the message.

Twitter confession pages cause the most trouble for high school students.  Almost every high school in Green Bay has had one at some point.  A student sets up an account with the school’s name and asks fellow students to direct message secrets or “confessions” that they can publish.  The administrator will keep them anonymous.  Usually, what is being published is poking fun at other students.

Notre Dame has had a couple of these accounts, but within a few days, they have been shut down.

To compensate for the hate, there have been some accounts created that compliment students.  It is run the exact same way as the confession accounts, except they are used for making teens feel better about themselves rather than worse.

Many of these websites have the tools where you can manage your privacy settings by controlling what people see and blocking other users.  If you are being harassed online, do not be afraid to tell someone that can help you.

The dangers of social media can be serious, but if you use the sites respectfully and be smart about your choices, you can avoid these abuses.