What’s the worst social networking site for cyberbullying? At one point, you’d probably say Twitter, but according to a new study done by Ditch the Label, a British anti-bullying non profit group, it’s Instagram.
Instagram, where diet teas and make-up gurus thrive, actually has a larger base of younger people than other sites, and people between the age of 12 and 20, experience cyber bullying there the most, according to a new study.
In the study, 10,000 British teens were studied, and 42% said they were bullied on Instagram. Facebook wasn’t far behind, at 37%, Snapchat was next at 31%. Twitter (9%) and Tumblr (3%) were at the bottom.
“Our theme this year was to explore the impact of technology and digital abuse upon the lives of young people,” says Liam Hackett, Founder and CEO of Ditch the Label.
“Young people,” Hackett also says in the report, “have a huge disconnect between the things that happen online and reality, with 44% of respondents believing that only things happening offline could be considered as ‘real life.’”
When it comes to the United States, online harassment and bullying has been studied by Pew Research, and although they did not pinpoint a social media network in their July 2017 report, and used a slightly larger age range (18-29), in their survey of 4,248 U.S. adults, it found that 41% of Americans have been subjected to online harassment and bullying, and 66% has witnessed these behaviors directed at others.
Whereas Instagram seems to harbor cyber bullying for teens in Britain, in an older report done by U.S. based Cox Communications in 2014, Facebook was labeled the worst place for cyberbullying in their study of 1,301 teens from 13-17 years old — said 39% of teens witnessed bullying on Facebook. Instagram and Twitter were lowest at 22%.
When it comes to adults, it’s probably easier to block and dismiss harassing behavior, but with teens, and the lack of monitoring done by parents, the harassment and bullying can result in tragedies that we’ve seen played out on social media. Suicide after suicide have been reported over the last couple of years due to bullying and social media. And although Pew suggests parents need to monitor their children’s social media activities better, teens and children are finding better ways to hide their social media activities.
Toxicity on social media isn’t going away anytime soon, but one can only hope parents learn the tricks of the trade to monitor their children’s social media activities. And for those adults who are involved in cyberbullying, maybe one day they’ll actually realize how pathetic they really look.