Evidence seems to be stacking up to show how today’s teenagers are disengaging from social media engagement rather than be exposed to trolls or cyber bullies.
There has been a pandemic of personal abuse between complete strangers, now that anyone can have a voice online as against just the privileged or qualified few that spoke through print media. This Grazia article shows how the fear of sharing online is growing amongst young peopl.
A growing fear of posting publicly online has become known as “visiobibliophobia”, and increasing numbers of people are preferring to exchange pictures instead of words to get their point across without awakening the troll. Year on year, social media engagement is decreasing as this Guardian article explains.
Arguably, the constraints of relying on reading material created by editors, journalists and public spokespeople left us subject to the whims of nefarious agendas and vested interests dictated by the dwindling advertising spend as the Internet emerged, putting more power in the pockets of those who paid to be in the papers. On the other hand, it is only since the dawn of Facebook and Twitter that the public could send messages to celebrities and trolls have broken up the party as this Guardian article shows with the Daisy Ridley example.
This means, like patients depending on their doctors for true information, that members of the public could be misinformed or even manipulated by articles they read, until Facebook came along and became a bottomless magazine that anyone could write for. The following video by John Oliver was featured on the Today Show.
Public sharing for all on the Internet is not always bad, as Monica Lewinski pointed out in her interview with John Oliver recently. She says that put to the general public, there would have been messages of support filtering through, as her experience with the press was clearly uneven handed. Although Bill Clinton did not receive the same enslaught that Monica did from the press, he is also probably most remembered for his part in the White House Intern affair.
With teenagers heading to Instagram and Snapchat, both image-based sharing platforms, those of us posting online can choose to ignore rude, under-informed, inaccurate, ill-perceived or downright bullying comments from strangers or even acquaintances. However, the combination of autofill, algorithms and automation can create their fair share of misunderstandings at times. As these things get discussed or even joked about, such as very amusing Instagram posts about the blackout of 14th March 2019, we learn to adapt.
The tech press are beginning to publish articles advising website managers and page admins on how to create user guidelines so that anyone who is abusive can be warned or even removed if they disregard acceptable behavior codes. Disengagement is not ideal for those who now use social media for marketing and reaching their target audiences.Here is an example on Viral Solutions.
In the way that parents in the 70s and 80s tried to tell children that bullies were just unhappy and to ignore them and they will go away, cyber-bullying follows exactly the same pattern of trying to provoke reactions from anyone who will respond to them.
Bullying behavior is always about the bully, for them to let off steam, which means it is all about getting a reaction, which means it is never ever personal. To protect ourselves and our social media posts from trolls and shrills, we need to differentiate between constructive criticism, dissent or disagreement to a point – everyone’s point of view is valid – and abusive, bullying or destructive behavior. We must not let the baddies win. This article encourages teenagers to continue to use their voices online and how to avoid trolls.
Simply put, if you do not like the way someone speaks to you, the best way to stop it is to not engage at all. That way they have absolutely nothing to say next. This article provides tips for using Facebook if you experience social anxiety.
Meanwhile there is always humour to use when it all goes down. Our creativity and ability to laugh at situations has not ceased and Buzzfeed shows how people responded to the instagram and Facebook blackout of 14th March 2019.