Social Media: Helpful Network tool or a Weapon?

I haven’t been on Social Media for long but I have been there long enough to know that some use it as a weapon. From Bullying that overflows the school grounds, Others playing with peoples lives and emotions, to those attacking people within the games. The results of the misuse can sometimes have deadly results. Lets take a look at all three types.

Kids are being bullies in school, that is common knowledge. Sadly it does not stop there. The bullies take it to cyberspace and attack their victims online. in one case, A schoolboy was found hanged in his parents’ garden, he had complained of cyber-bullying on a social
networking site.

Josh Unsworth, 15, had endured months of abusive messages on his profile on a social media site which has been described by child safety experts as a ‘stalker’s paradise’.

At one point his father Gary, 46, apparently took over the page, threatening to report the abusers to police. Josh himself wrote: ‘Last time I checked, cyber-bullying and “trolling” were a criminal offence.’

Now I am not saying social network in itself was the cause but it was a weapon used. There may well be more to this story than we know, but bullying still happens. Normally via a private message or on their home page. Some people are strong enough to overcome this some sadly are not and turn to suicide to end the pain and torment.

Bullying exists even in social network games Many need to remember behind each Avatar is a living breathing person. your not just dealing with a bunch of pixels with no feelings. What I have discovered is that some hide behind games. They spend money on these
games to make themselves stronger within the game and then turn on those who can ill afford to waste money on these games. The result is someone who enjoys the game can no longer play as they cant compete with those bigger players.

I took the time to find one of these big players Who play one of the social network games, I will call Mr. X and asked,
Why he felt the need to spend so much on a game?
Mr x replied, “So I Don’t loose”
Would it not be more satifying to get to the top without spending
“Maybe but who cares its my money”
Have you ever attacked anyone so much they have left the game?
“Yeah every day”
“Well this is a game for strong people if you can’t keep up get out. Im sick of all the whiny people who cry because I attack them”
I would have thought it more of a challenge to fight someone your own strength.
“Naw its more fun watching the wimps vanish”
What if one of these people committed suicide because they could no longer cope?
“What about it?”
Would you feel somewhat responible?
“Hell no nutters shouldn’t play these games if they off themselves that’s their choice nothing to do with me”

Now to be fair here Not all big spenders are like that. One I spoke to today, Mr. Y who had this to say,
“Yes Im a credit card player but thats just because I had to become
You had to, why?
“Well a lot of CC players are bullies and force others out of the game for no good reason other than they can, I spent money on the game so I could help out the smaller players being sat on buy these big guys.”
Has that worked?
“Not really Im way stronger than someone who doesn’t spend money and I still get my ass kicked but while they are kicking me they are leaving the little guys alone to enjoy the game.”
Arent these games meant to be free?
“yeah but then in some of them you cant get ahead unless you spend money.”
So the games are designed to get you to spend money on them.”Yeah they are”

I have looked at a few games myself and yes in some you need reward points which are difficult to earn within the game but can be bought via credit card, paypal or mobile phone. My thought would be to go to the game developer and complain. However, I feel they too would laugh it off as the games are real money spinners for them.

Another form of abuse on a social network is a more personal one. Now we have all heard of someone falling in love with someone on the internet. Many work out really well for them, others though are not that lucky. Some become victims they let people into their lives
sometimes with tragic consequences.

People often hide behind their avatar, unfortunately their true self is not always as it seems. I am not saying all are like that. I know from personal experience most are genuine people. One case I have recently learnt of is two people fell in love they planned their
future. When time came close to make that future a reality one of them vanished. They refused all attempts to make contact. Why? Well that is unknown but to reappear giving hope and rekindle the relationship well something was going on. This person once again
vanished this time leaving family members to explain it was over. Many people would get over this and be more wary but some would not. In this case a life was lost. You would hope there would be some remorse but in this case there seems very little if any.

Social media can be a godsend to some. It can often be the only means of contact many have. Which means there are vulnerable people out there. Sadly a few misuse these sites for their own gain and leave a trail of victims in their wake.

The statistics on bullying and suicide are alarming:

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts.

Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.

Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University. A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying

10 to 14-year-old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above

According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of
students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids
stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying

Bully related suicide can be connected to any type of bullying, including physical bullying, emotional bullying, cyberbullying, and sexting, or circulating suggestive or nude photos or messages about a person.

Some of the warning signs of suicide can include:

Showing signs of depression, like ongoing sadness, withdrawal from others, losing interest in favorite activities, or trouble sleeping or eating
Talking about or showing an interest in death or dying
Engaging in dangerous or harmful activities, including reckless
behavior, substance abuse, or self-injury
Giving away favorite possessions and saying goodbye to people
Saying or expressing that they can’t handle things anymore
Making comments that things would be better without them

If a person is displaying these symptoms, talk to them about your
concerns and get them help right away, such as from a counselor,
doctor, or at the emergency room.

Other ways to help people who may be considering suicide include:

Take all talk or threats of suicide seriously. Don’t tell the person they are wrong or that they have a lot to live for. Instead, get them immediate medical help.

Keep weapons and medications away from anyone who is at risk for suicide. Get these items out of the house or at least securely locked up.

Parents should encourage their teens to talk about bullying that takes place. It may be embarrassing for kids to admit they are the victims of bullying, and most kids don’t want to admit they have been involved in bullying. Tell victims that it’s not their fault that they are being bullied and show them love and support. Get them professional help if the bullying is serious.

It is a good idea for parents to insist on being included in their children’s friends on social networking sites so they can see if someone has posted mean messages about them online. Text messages may be more difficult to know about, so parents should try to keep
open communications with their children about bullying.

Parents who see a serious bullying problem should talk to school authorities about it, and perhaps arrange a meeting with the bully’s parents. More states are implementing laws against bullying, and recent lawsuits against schools and criminal charges against bullies
show that there are legal avenues to take to deal with bullies. If school authorities don’t help with an ongoing bullying problem,
local police or attorneys may be able to.

People who are thinking about suicide should talk to someone right away or go to an emergency room.

Friends and relatives of suicide victims also need to find someone to talk to as they grieve, especially if they are suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts themselves.



1 thought on “Social Media: Helpful Network tool or a Weapon?

  1. I did try suicide, 3x’s, you don’t tell people when you are seriously contemplating because you are already in a position of mistrusting anyone and anyone in authority.. its not where your head is at that time. Contemplating suicide is a very very dark place to be, and is very hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel. I died and was brought back, but I came back with a whole different perspective on life…realised I didn’t really want to die and what I really wanted to do was help others. I was 16, I am now 51 with five great kids and 30yrs of parenting under my belt. Don’t throw yourself away because the world wants to throw you away, everyone is much better than what they are labelled, and each one has something to offer to this world…if the world wont give you a second chance – THEN GIVE YOURSELF ONE, YOU ARE WORTH IT.

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