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The cyberbullying phenomenon hits hard

Liam Higgins and Michael Riggi

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Recent events—namely the release of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix and allegations of instances of cyberbullying at MHS—have propelled the issue of bullying to the forefront of topics at MHS, with this topic raising a number of questions and concerns.

The proliferation of social media in the lives of teenagers has caused increased instances of online bullying and harassment by students towards their peers. According to teensafe.org, nearly 34% of adolescents have been cyberbullied in the past.

The effects of cyberbullying can have devastating consequences on a young person’s life. More than 70% of students who have been cyberbullied report that it has negatively impacted their social lives.

Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat have allowed for different types of bullying outside of the classroom. The impersonal nature of these platforms gives a sense of anonymity and a sense that one’s comments do not have as much of an impact as they would in real life.

With such devastating outcomes, it seems reasonable to take any form of revenge against a cyberbully, but this may be a bit reactionary.

It is important that students who believe they are being cyberbullied—or know someone who is being cyberbullied—take their grievances to the school administration or another responsible adult before the situation can worsen.

“Cyberbullying is a very complex issue. It’s very difficult to get to the roots of the issue, and we [the school administrators] can only work with what we know,” Dean Kenneth Wing said. “Unfortunately, many times it is not brought to our attention until it becomes a much bigger issue.”

Members of the school board are aware of how much of an impact cyberbullying can have on a student and advise that students be aware of what they are posting and how public it is.

Concerned about the friendships and school spirit negatively impacted by online communication, the administration is making sure the school takes action to prevent cyberbullying by connecting more with the students in and out of the school day.

“I really support digital communication, but I would warn people that it gets so big that it’s hard to manage,” Principal Patrick DiClemente said. “Do you know who your followers are?”

In light of the aforementioned events, the high school administration has several plans to prevent future instances of bullying at Massapequa.

“There are plans to meet with small and large groups of students as well as further anti-bullying forums and clubs,” Mr. DiClemente said. “We would like to have student representatives from all grade levels and encourage and accept diversity among the student body.”

Though Cyberbullying has become a prominent problem recently, with the right help from the school administration, faculty, and parents, it can be prevented.  No one should feel put down by their peers online, as this is usually anonymous and can be harmful to young people.  

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Massapequa High School's chief source of news.
The cyberbullying phenomenon hits hard