Our Voice: The Cyber Generation
Cat Sparkes, company director, openly debates and contextualises the principles surrounding cyber bulling. Looking back on her own experiences, she considers ‘The Cyber Generation’.
I’m 23, still very young and relatively ‘in the know’ when it comes to technology and the internet. But even at my age, even though I have a smart phone, a Facebook account and a laptop, I still find it hard to get my head around the horrors of cyber bullying. Working on Unique Voice’s bullying project ‘Repeat After Me’, researching and meeting children affected by these issues has been a huge eye opener for me.
When I was at school if you were lucky, you had a mobile phone, you had a PC and dial up internet at home. But the phones were just phones to ring and text off, mainly to play ‘snake’ on or so that your parents could ring you if you were late. We had ‘prank calling’ and I’m sure there will have been abusive texts too, but that was phone to phone, person to person.
To be a teenager now would be a whole different reality. Social networking is rife at home, at school and I imagine on 95% of teenagers phones. A place where comments can be publicly made, pages can be set up and photos can be seen by all. Bullies must feel braver when doing it online, they are not going to get an immediate reaction and it’s not face to face, you could even be anonymous, so no one knows it’s you and the bullied must feel so unbelievably trapped.
Anything you do or say could be posted online in an instant; a photo can be taken and uploaded in a matter of minutes. If someone decides they do not like you or that they want to make you upset it’s not isolated to being at school, you go home and you have internet and computers, you go out and you have your phone. You can’t escape.
We had film cameras when I was a teen, so people didn’t really tend to take a huge amount of photos, and they certainly (even when they were processed) wouldn’t have gone on the internet?! The thought of being a teen in this age, finding alcohol and generally being experimental, with digital cameras and phones around is pretty scary to me! I’m at the age now where if your friend takes a photo of you don’t like you can ask them to delete it and it’s done, ask them not to put it on Facebook and they wont! But you can see the ways in which this can be used easily as bullying tactic, as it would have been back then if the means had been available.
But what these bullies don’t appear to realise is that by writing and sending an abusive comment or uploading a private/unwanted photo, it is there for good. The victim could show someone – they may be threatened not too, as they would if it was verbal or physical bullying – but people do come forward and all the evidence is there, written down.
What these people also need to remember is that the things they write and upload has got their name on it, it is them that has been so unkind and hurtful towards someone else and that evidence can all come back on them one day. Future employees, future love interests, their own families – what would these people do if they could see how the person they love/want to get to know/employ, treated others?
It’s such a shame that these amazing inventions of the internet and phones can turn someone’s life into absolute hell because of course there are so many positives; sharing ones views in a blog, for example.
We can only hope that new measures and new ways to tackle cyber bullying will soon come into place, I don’t know how that can happen, but there must be ways…
Please Contact Us to find out more information on what Unique Voice are doing to try and tackle cyber, alongside all other forms of bullying.
What you thought about the blog:
“Brilliant blog Cat! Really makes you think about what it must be like now to grow up in a technology crazed society with instant access to everyone and everything! ”
“Really good blog entry really made me think.”