14 year old Adriana Kuch from New Jersey took her life because of bullying.
This article submitted by Cheryl Lynn Mark of DownloadAstro
In a digital age where the lines between reality and the virtual world blur, cyberbullying has emerged as a dark cloud on the horizon. But what if, instead of being a part of the problem, social media platforms could be channeled as a part of the solution?
This article will delve into the potential of social media as a protective force against cyberbullying. Here’s a roadmap of the discussion.
The rise of cyberbullying: current standing
Despite numerous expert-backed articles and the efforts of concerned organizations, cyberbullying remains a pervasive issue.
Earlier this year, we learned that 14-year-old Adriana Kuch from New Jersey took her life because of bullying. Apparently, another girl assaulted her at school, and the video of the said incident was posted on TikTok.
Before she did the unthinkable, Adriana said to her father, “I don’t want to be that girl who gets beat up on video and made fun of.” It was a sad thing for such a young girl to end up that way. And we hope that no one else will ever be in that situation again. Her story serves as a harrowing reminder of the devastating impact of cyberbullying.
The sad reality is that cyberbullying is difficult to fight as it comes in many different shapes and forms and is prevalent on all the major social media platforms.
But the truth is that social media is just a tool… Sometimes it’s not just about apps/websites — it’s the bad people on them.
This is why today, we’re going to dig deeper into how to use social media to our advantage. For parents, it’s essential to guide their children through navigating the platform. Time is always changing, and so is how we protect our children from harm like cyberbullying.
Social Media Tools for Protection
In the dynamic realm of social media, user safety is paramount. As cyberbullying continues to pose challenges, platforms are arming users with tools designed to enhance their online protection.
Consider the following essential features:
Privacy Settings: Controlling who sees posts and personal information
Privacy settings act as the first line of defense against unwanted intrusions. Most platforms allow users to decide who can view their content, be it the public, friends, or specific groups.
By limiting the visibility of posts and personal details, users can minimize exposure to potential threats. Regularly reviewing and updating privacy settings ensures that one’s online profile remains secure from prying eyes. It’s also advisable to restrict location sharing to prevent unsolicited real-world confrontations.
Reporting and Blocking: Quick actions against bullies
When faced with online harassment, a swift response can deter the perpetrators. Social media platforms have streamlined their reporting processes, making it easier for users to flag inappropriate content or behavior.
The blocking feature serves as an immediate barrier, ensuring that the bully can no longer contact or view the victim’s profile. This empowers the victim to reclaim their digital space without fear of further victimization.
Safety Centers: Resources offered by platforms for users in distress
Recognizing the profound impact of cyberbullying, many platforms have established safety centers. These are dedicated hubs containing articles, tutorials, and resources about online safety.
These centers often collaborate with mental health professionals and NGOs to provide guidance, helplines, and support for those affected by cyberbullying. They serve as a testament to the platform’s commitment to fostering a safer and more inclusive online environment.
While cyberbullying remains a concerning issue, armed with the right tools and knowledge, users can better protect themselves. Regularly updating oneself with the latest safety features and practices is essential to navigating social media’s vast and often tumultuous waters.
Positive Online Communities
If you’re not joining any communities right now, you’re missing out. Positive online communities stand out as beacons of hope. These communities are a testament to the fact that the internet, when harnessed correctly, can be a space for unity, support, and upliftment.
Here are some of the best benefits of joining a positive and uplifting community:
1. Emotional Support
Being part of a positive community provides a safety net, offering members a place to share their feelings, challenges, and experiences, knowing they’ll be met with understanding and empathy.
2. Personal Growth and Learning
Uplifting communities often foster an environment of continuous learning, where members share resources, advice, and experiences, contributing to personal development and growth.
3. Networking Opportunities
Beyond emotional support, these communities provide opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, potentially leading to collaborations, partnerships, or new friendships.
4. Increased Positivity and Well-being
Regular interaction within a positive community can boost one’s mood, decrease feelings of loneliness, and contribute to overall mental well-being.
5. Resilience During Difficult Times
During challenging phases of life, having a supportive community can provide the strength and resilience needed to navigate and overcome adversity.
6. Shared Resources and Opportunities
Uplifting communities often pool together resources, information, or opportunities that can be beneficial for members, be it in the form of job leads, workshops, or educational content.
7. Sense of Belonging
Perhaps one of the most profound benefits is the innate human desire for connection and belonging. Being part of a positive community fulfills this need, reminding members that they are part of something bigger than themselves.
To find a positive and uplifting community, start by researching forums, groups, or platforms related to one’s interests or needs, paying attention to reviews or feedback from current members. Attend virtual or in-person events to get a feel for the community’s vibe.
For guiding children, emphasize the importance of online safety, encourage them to share their online experiences, and advise them to seek out communities that promote kindness, mutual respect, and constructive communication, steering clear of negative or toxic spaces.
The Influencer Effect
In the age of social media, influencers hold considerable sway over their vast audiences, making them invaluable allies in the fight against cyberbullying. Influencers have taken up the mantle of being digital role models. Many leverage their platforms to advocate for kindness, inclusion, and mutual respect in the online realm. To have a positive online environment, populate your social media platforms with influencers promoting such acts.
Remember to follow positive people in your life to strengthen your mind when fighting off negative forces.
Parental involvement in navigating the digital realm
Navigating the digital realm can be a daunting task for children, making parental involvement and guidance essential to ensuring a safe and wholesome online experience.
Open dialogue between parents and children about their online experiences is fundamental. Such conversations allow children to share their online triumphs and challenges and feel supported.
Regular discussions educate kids about potential online hazards, from cyberbullying to privacy concerns. When children know they can turn to their parents without fear of judgment or punishment, they are more likely to seek advice during troubling times.
Simple strategies for parents to stay involved:
1. Set Boundaries
Establish designated tech-free times, such as during meals, encouraging face-to-face communication and ensuring devices don't overshadow real-world interactions.
2. Co-View and Co-Play
Occasionally, join your child in their favorite online game or watch their beloved YouTube channel together. This shared experience provides insights into their online world.
3. Educate Through Discussion
Instead of merely setting rules, explain the reasons behind them, fostering understanding and cooperation.
4. Tech in Common Areas
Keep computers and other devices in shared spaces, like the living room, to casually oversee your child’s online activities.
5. Stay Updated
Familiarize yourself with the latest social media platforms, games, and online trends popular among kids. This knowledge aids in understanding their digital experiences better.
By actively participating and showing genuine interest in their child’s online life, parents can build trust, promote safety, and foster responsible digital habits.
Suggested read: What is the Most Likely Way Your Child can be Bullied Online?
The Bottom Line
As the fabric of our digital interactions evolves, social media’s role shifts from being merely a platform for connection to a force that can either uplift or harm. While challenges like cyberbullying persist, the collective effort of users, platforms, influencers, and parents can transform these virtual spaces into nurturing environments.
The onus isn’t just on the individual or the platform, but on the entire online community. Just recently, Georgia’s Republican leadership identified combating cyberbullying as a primary legislative focus. Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, who’s going to collaborate with educational institutions and social media firms to formulate the bill, said, “That’s not going to be limited to school districts, it’s going to have teeth in it where the people perpetrating these things, we’re going to try to hold them accountable.”
By promoting empathy, understanding, and proactive protection, we all can play a part in ensuring that the internet remains a space of positivity, growth, and safety for everyone, especially our younger generation.
Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis condemns MAiD in Parliament as targeting nation’s most vulnerable
‘I call upon with government to reverse its course and instead provide help and hope for Canadians suffering with mental health conditions’
Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis condemned the Trudeau government’s treatment of Canada’s most vulnerable, revealing that 36 Canadians are euthanized every day.
On November 28, Dr. Leslyn Lewis, Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Haldimand-Norfolk, Ontario, addressed Parliament on the dangers of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), the euphemistic name for Canada’s euthanasia regime.
“The poor, homeless, the abused, veterans, seniors, youth, adults suffering with disabilities, those suffering with depressions, and mental health conditions,” Lewis said. “These are among the most vulnerable in our society that are falling through the cracks of Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying regime.”
The most vulnerable are falling through the cracks of Canada's Medical Assistance in Dying regime.
Every day 36 Canadians die by MAiD, the HIGHEST NUMBER in the world. Canadians suffering with mental illness need help and hope, not euthanasia. This gov't must reverse course. pic.twitter.com/tT8x5PBpxq
— Dr. Leslyn Lewis (@LeslynLewis) November 28, 2023
“They are the ones who will be at risk when the MAiD laws in Canada are expanded in March 2024,” the pro-life MP added. “Last year, death by euthanasia increased by 30 percent from the year before. Every day in Canada, 36 people use MAiD to end their lives, which is the highest in the world.”
“I call upon with government to reverse its course and instead provide help and hope for Canadians suffering with mental health conditions,” Lewis appealed.
On March 9, 2024, MAiD is set to expand to include those suffering solely from mental illness. This is a result of the 2021 passage of Bill C-7, which also allowed the chronically ill – not just the terminally ill – to qualify for so-called doctor-assisted death.
The mental illness expansion was originally set to take effect in March of this year. However, after massive pushback from pro-life groups, conservative politicians and others, the Liberals under Trudeau delayed the introduction of the full effect of Bill C-7 until 2024 via Bill C-39.
The expansion comes despite warnings from top Canadian psychiatrists that the country is “not ready” for the coming expansion of euthanasia to those who are mentally ill, saying expanding the procedure is not something “society should be doing” as it could lead to deaths under a “false pretense.”
Similarly, Angelina Ireland, the head of one of Canada’s few pro-life hospice societies, recently warned that euthanasia has become a national “horror” show.
“Unfortunately, there is no reprieve in sight as think Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) becomes a national horror and the ‘professionals’ sharpen up their needles,” Ireland told LifeSiteNews.
“We have reached the point where we must all protect each other from MAiD,” she noted.
Euthanasia deaths have gone through the roof in Canada since it became legal in 2016.
According to Health Canada, in 2022, 13,241 Canadians died by MAiD lethal injection, which is 4.1 percent of all deaths in the country for that year, and a 31.2 percent increase from 2021.
The number of Canadians killed by lethal injection since 2016 now stands at 44,958.
Giving Hope on Giving Tuesday
From Kaelyn Gillard, Communications | NOVA Chemicals Corporation
I’d excited to share an announcement from NOVA Chemicals’ Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Communications, Mona Jasinski outlining how NOVA is participating in Giving Tuesday in support of mental health.
Over the coming weeks we will be highlighting these organizations and the great work they’re doing on our social media channels and internally with our employees.
Today, I heard about an interaction between two employees in our office that made me think about how simple actions can make a difference.
“Mia” asked “Robert” how it was going as they passed in the hall. His glib ‘honestly just trying to make it through’ struck her, so after finishing with her colleagues she circled back to check in on how Robert was really doing. She then took that a step further, offered a supportive ear and proposed a lunchtime walk break to check in. Fortunately, in this case Robert wasn’t facing anything dire and was putting unnecessary added stress upon himself – but he felt better after talking about it.
We don’t have to look far, however, to find harsh statistics surrounding the true state of mental well-being across North America, and we know it’s declined even further over the past few years.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in the U.S. reports that one in five adults experience mental illness each year, and one in six youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year. Similarly in Canada, in a given year 6.7 million Canadians – or one in five people – experience mental illness, and by age 40, that number increases to one in two.
When it comes to our youth, according to Youth Mental Health Canada (YMHC), there are approximately 1.2 million children and young people affected by mental illness in Canada alone, and around 20% of young people will develop a mental illness before they turn 25. However, less than 20% of them receive the right treatment. That’s staggering.
At NOVA Chemicals, we believe that positive mental health is essential for our overall well-being. I’m proud of the resources we make available to our employees supporting their total well-being, and hope our people take advantage of them all. We know, however, that not everyone has ready access to the resources they need.
That’s why this year, we’ve chosen mental health as our focus on #GivingTuesday, and are donating almost US$500,000 toward a series of agencies providing mental health supports to youth and adults in the regions where we work, live and play. Having the right resources available in the moment that you need them has never been more important, and we at NOVA want to be sure crucial programs remain strong and sustainable, available to continue their work providing vital, life-saving care – and hope – for our neighbours.
I invite you to follow us on social media over the next few weeks as we shine a light on each of the recipient organizations and the tremendous work they are doing every day.
There’s no question the decline in society’s mental well-being impacts us all. My hope for each of us – from friends, family and colleagues to neighbours and strangers across our communities alike, young and more seasoned and everywhere in between – is that when we need help, there’s a resource there to support us.
We can all play a role. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and can start with simply reaching out to those around us. Think like Mia did. She doesn’t have any particular expertise and she and Robert are work acquaintances – not teammates nor even on a project together. It doesn’t matter. She paid attention, reached out, and showed kindness. One small action can make a difference.
Canadian gov’t accepted risks of COVID shots’ unknown safety and efficacy, Pfizer contract reveals
Help Us Preserve Alberta’s Sport History
Police officer challenges harsh discipline in free speech case
New Photo Radar rules will move radar sites from freeways to school zones
Political Football: The Always-Barking Dog of Bilingualism
Danielle Smith blasts Trudeau gov’t as ‘lawless’ for pushing climate policies despite court rulings
No evidence of Freedom Convoy leaders conspiring to stir up protesters, attorneys argue
Brownstone Institute2 days ago
Why So Many Countries Followed China’s Lockdown Example
Community1 day ago
Giving Hope on Giving Tuesday
Business2 days ago
China likely to escape scot-free in persecution of two Canadians
Uncategorized2 days ago
Trudeau signs partnership with EU to promote digital IDs, counter ‘disinformation’
COVID-192 days ago
Freedom Convoy leaders’ lawyers ask court to dismiss ‘weak’ case over lack of evidence
Alberta1 day ago
Redman got it right on COVID response
Alberta13 hours ago
City of Edmonton has a spending problem
Bruce Dowbiggin12 hours ago
Could AI Make Yesterday Into Today For Culture, Sports & Politics?