How popular apps are being used for online bullying
Like everything else these days, bullying has gone online. It used to be that someone being bullied at school could escape the bullying at the end of the day or for the weekend. Not anymore. Bullying can now take place 24 hours a day over multiple social media accounts. Many of these online trolls are relentless in their abuse causing your son or daughter to feel like they have no place that is safe. Some teens that are bullied talk about receiving 100 of online messages each day.
Most bullying today isn’t physical but rather emotional. These online bullies can first appear to be a friend to your teen gaining their trust and finding out their fears, before turning that knowledge against them. Many online bullies today have never met the person they are attacking.
While bullying can take place on almost any social media account, there are certain apps that are know for having a culture of bullying and make bullying easier.
After School allows users to post funny comments, complaints, feelings, or compliments anonymously. This app can be a breading ground for bullying due to it’s lack of parental oversight and anonymous nature. (The only way a parent can log into this app is by creating a fake child Facebook account as it verifies age and school.) While After School claims to have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying, the apps rely on users to report bullying at that may be difficult for other teens to do.
Vine allows users to post 6-second clips of their lives. While this app is not designated for children or teens, it has a 17+ rating, many teens are using it to share fight or cruel pranks involving violence.
Ask.fm is a place that anyone can ask a question and have other users answer it. Because of it’s anonymous nature, many teens use it to ask mean or unkind questions about specific people and get other users responding with suggestions regardless of real world consequences. One teen asked,” why doesn’t so and so just kill herself” and users responded with ways in which this person could do so. This app has been linked to a number of suicides due to the online bullying these teens were receiving. Once an answer has been posted it’s very easy to then send that answer out via social media.
Yik Yak allows anonymous posts on any subject. These post move up or down in a feed depending on the number of likes or dislikes received by users within a 1.5 mile radius of the original poster. It’s anonymous by nature which makes teens think they can post anything without consequence. A number of schools have had to deal with threats to the safety of the school. For teens being bullied on the app, knowing that it’s their peers and neighbors voting on the bullying to increase it’s popularity can be damaging.
Online bullying should be taken very seriously as it has real consequences. Make sure you are keeping the lines of communication open with your teen and monitoring their social media accounts on a frequent basis.