Hidden dangers present in cyberspace

By Danielle McLaughlin
April 14, 2010

What will the next victim of technology be?  So many things in our world have changed because of technology.  The way in which we communicate with one another is drastically different than it was 10 years ago.

Between cell phones and social networking sites, there is an addiction to be socially connected to people 24/7.  Although getting wrapped up in the world of technology isn’t necessarily a bad thing, a new trend called cyberbullying is taking the internet by storm, proving that people have a little too much time on their hands.

Cyberbullying is the act of using the internet to intimidate, threaten or harass someone else.  Although cyberbullying has been around for years, it is recently becoming an issue because more and more young people are online and also because people are reacting to it in severely negative ways such as inflicting harm on themselves or even committing suicide.

According to statistics released by ABC News, 42 percent of kids have been bullied while online, 35 percent of kids have been threatened while online and 58 percent have not told their parents or another adult about it.

That last statistic is the scary one.  Kids need to start telling their parents about anyone who is saying hurtful things to them whether it’s on the internet or in person.

The reason cyberbullying is more rapidly severe than person-to-person bullying is because once there is a rumor going around online about someone and anyone can see it, others might join in.  Not only does this hurt the person’s feelings but it also get other people to join in on the harassment.

Over the past couple of months, the site Formspring, which is a website where people can anonymously ask someone questions, apparently has been the link to several suicides among teenagers.

Formspring is a dangerous site for people to use because it can really damage a person’s self-esteem.  I don’t see any logical reason for someone to have one.  People take full advantage of the fact that they can ask anyone anything anonymously on Formspring.  Most of the time, it seems that people tend to ask really hurtful questions that they would never have the audacity to ask in person.

With sites such as Facebook, Formspring and Youtube, internet harassment has seen a great growth in the past couple of years.  Personally, I think  it is horrible that people have to be subjected to such harassment.

Besides the fact that thousands of people can see this harassment taking place on the internet, it is also quite mentally damaging.  Once something hurtful is posted on the internet, it is virtually impossible to get rid of it.

There is a saying that goes, “You can’t take something off the internet, it’s like trying to take pee out of a pool.”  In the case of cyberbullying, this quote is 100 percent true.

To find out more statistics about cyberbullying go to the Cyberbullying Research Center’s website.

Danielle McLaughlin

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