Unfriending you

Facebook parody picture. Photo credit to Nate Bond Creative Commons

Facebook parody picture. Photo credit to Nate Bond Creative Commons

Recently Facebook has entertained the idea of adding a “dislike” button, CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg stated to CNN, “the company is working on a new feature that would give people ‘the ability to express empathy’ on status updates about sad and unpleasant news. It’s been widely reported to be a ‘Dislike’ button, although Zuckerberg emphasized it won’t be so simple.”

 But the new dislike button could cause some drama. Diana Graber, the co-founder of CyberWise.org, a digital literacy site for tweens, teens, parents and educators, believes if Facebook ends up with something similar to a “Dislike” button, that would make it easier to bully people online.

 Gaber stated “It’s not that kids are bad or nasty, on the contrary, they’re kids and it’s their job to test the tech innovations that adults think up. Imagine if when you were a kid, the bathroom wall offered a handy device making it quick and easy to ‘unlike’ anyone who happened to get under your skin that day. Who wouldn’t be tempted to take advantage of such a convenient feature that might ultimately be hurtful to its target?”

 Statistics from nobullying.com showed that, “in 2014, 25 percent of teenagers report that they have experienced repeated bullying via their cell phone or on the internet. Over half (52 percent) of young people report being cyberbullied. And of the young people who reported cyber bullying incidents against them, one-third (33 percent) of them reported that their bullies issued online threats.”

 In short, the Facebook dislike button could backfire dramatically on teens. There is a possibility it won’t because teens may not be using Facebook that often. Due to the newer social media applications and sites, teen focus may have strayed from Facebook.

 The top six social media applications of 2014 were Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram,  Google+, and LinkedIn. Pinterest has 70 million active users, Twitter has 560 million active users, Facebook has 1 billion active users, Instagram has 150 million active users, Google+ has 400 million active users, and LinkedIn has 240 million active followers.

 With all these users, people friend, follow, and subscribe to people they know and some they don’t know. Opening themselves up to friends and strangers poses a threat of cyberbullying to everyone, but it is mainly seen from teens.

 Some teens don’t feel comfortable reporting bullying, there are resources made to make the report easier. In 2012, Unit 5 launched an anti-bullying service. The Normal West the hotline is (309)-285-8912 which is used to report incidents, to get advice, inform others of internet safety and let others know their concerns are heard.

 To have some common social media safety don’t talk to unknown people, block people who are bullying or harassing others, and if someone is bothering you, tell an adult. Someone’s teenage years are too valuable to be consumed in social media.