Tuesday 3 March 2009

Facebook and Twitter Bully Your Children, Says Newspaper

Facebook and Twitter - but not MySpace - are encouraging online 'cyberbullying', a newspaper claimed today.

According to CyberMentors, a new social networking site set up to allow young victims of bullying to talk to peers about their problems, 50% of 11-18 year olds have been subject to some form of cyberbullying, but 29% had never told anyone about it. As many as 70% of all young people have experienced some form of bullying more generally.

The CyberMentors site, run by support organisation Beatbullying, has won praise from Gordon Brown and Education Secretary Ed Balls, and counts Mozilla, The National Union of Students and The Department for Children, Schools and Families amongst its partners.

But The Daily Mail took issue with Beatbullying's statistics, claiming that the number of young victims of online bullying was actually 17% lower, at one in three.

Describing as-yet undisclosed research, reporter Mark Prigg named Facebook and Twitter as the two biggest progenitors of cyberbullying, despite the fact that neither were named in the CyberMentors press release, other than to highlight Facebook's commitment 'to find new ways of preventing cyberbullying'.

Prigg went on to imagine a terrifying case that may or may not have happened once but might happen in the future maybe, where: 'bullies have even set up Facebook groups allowing dozens of people to band together to abuse schoolmates or colleagues.'

It is thought that Facebook actively encourages normal children to become bullies with competitions to 'Find the meanest jerk' and rewards for those voted 'Most efficient tormentor of Year 7 kids'. Twitter probably does the same somehow.

Readers reacted with world-weary incredulity at the short-sighted attempts to protect children from trivialities like intimidation and torment:

Helen from Cheshire recommended that those misguided enough to believe that bullying was hurtful or in some way unpleasant should grow up:

While warm-hearted J from Sheffield agreed that it's a dog-eat-dog world out there and bullying was an inevitable, and enjoyable, part of Darwinian evolution:

But it was Skitter Brown from Scotland who really hit the nail on the head, suggesting a simple, quick and effective way of remedying all of the modern evils caused by Facebook and Twitter in one fell swoop:

Sources from the internet said: 'I can't quite believe that we'd never thought of that. Let's just turn the whole godless thing off!'

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing how Murdoch owned Myspace seems to avoid any criticism from the 'papers.