Traffic to social networking sites (SNS) like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace has increased due to ongoing popularity with younger Internet users. Online villainy, such as cyber-bullying and sexting among the younger generations, has become alarmingly frequent through these sites. Recently, teenagers and tweens have not only been the victims, but also the perpetrators of these acts. This growing trend is said to be attributed to the amount of time these children spend on the Internet, mainly on social networking sites.
The Internet provides a place where its users feel that their identity is concealed, allowing them to post or distribute harmful things that they wouldn’t normally do in a social setting. Through this younger generation, the online self has found a way to escape from its confinements on the web and work its way into society. Schools are struggling to discipline students who speak out of line to authorities and use crude language inside what is supposed to be a secure environment. Some say that the Internet is causing intelligence and mannerisms to decrease with extended use.
Another problem, that is being brought to light, is the evolving form of bullying through the Internet. Parents and educators are having a hard time preventing this due to unfamiliarity they still consider bullying to be a violent act through physical contact. With the new generation, bullying is virtual as well as physical, flip-flopping between settings. The extreme contrast between these two different types of bullying makes the online one both hard to spot, and hard to discipline; the rules are different.
The news has reported tragic stories of young adults committing rash acts after enduring online bullying that include: fighting back with escalated violence, sending computer viruses, dropping out of school and even committing suicide. A very small percent of children that are cyberbullied actually talk to their parents about the problem. With Internet violence rising with the increase in social networking sites’ members, younger Internet users must be educated on the dangers of the online world, and the emotional and mental affects that can come from Internet abuse.