Our generation is living in an era of rapid technology and media advancement. A dark side of this boom is cyber bullying. As more people are able to hide behind their computer screens and user names, more people are prone to getting bullied.
A series of surveys held by The Cyberbullying Research Center found that “over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly…making it a common medium for cyber bullying”. They also found that “about half of young people have experienced some form of cyberbullying, and 10 to 20 percent [of the youth] experience it regularly”.
The Harford County Examiner also reported that “only one in ten teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber bully victim”. What is worse is that “fewer than one in five cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement”.
Cyber bullying statistics from the i-SAFE foundation further revealed that “over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their Cell Phones of the Internet”.
These reports show us that, as the Internet gets more accessible and more adolescents are getting their hands on new phone models yearly, more are tempted to make others feel inferior. It’s easier to get away with bullying online, rather than face to face.
However, there may be a solution to this dark side of the technology boom. In a TEDxTeen talk, 14-year-old Trisha Prabhu revealed her long-term solution to cyber-bullying. She has created “Rethink”, a program that gives adolescents a warning, a second chance, before posting anything that has specific harmful words.
Based on her research, 93% of the time adolescents received an alert, they rethought and changed their minds on the offensive remarks they were going to previously post. The overall willingness decreased from 71.1% to 4.6%, which proved “that rethink before you type, rethink before you post, rethink before the damage is done, is an effective long-term method to stop cyberbullying. She currently has a provisional patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for Rethink.
Instead of taking advantage of the resources given to us, we should use technology with care and consideration for others. It is too easy to shrug off and underestimate how our actions and words can influence others around us; the phrase ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is false. Words can hurt, especially if you are constantly exposed to it. We must treat others how we want to be treated.