Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fighting the Dark Side of Social Media

In today's society, we frequently discuss the benefits of social media and how these sites are revolutionizing the way we communicate and connect with others. However, due to recent events, the topic of cyber-bullying has become a topic of conversation, revealing the darker side of social media that is often ignored. With sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it has become much easier to harass fellow peers, through the creation of "hate pages" and abusive wall posts. In an article from Mashable, according to an MTV-Associated Press study, 50% of 14-24-year-olds have claimed to be a victim of digital abuse.

In an effort to combat the increase in cyber-bullying, MTV has launched a new virtually interactive tool called "Draw Your Line," an interactive map that allows kids from across the country to post ways in which they are fighting abuse. The new tool is a part of MTV's larger campaign, "A Thin Line," which focuses on preventing harassment during the digital age. Those who use the interactive map are able to utilize resources and tips on bullying shared from fellow peers as well suggest their own resources. MTV also recently launched an iPhone app, "Over the Line?" that allows teens to submit their personal stories and experiences with harassment to share and discuss with their peers.

Other organizations are also participating in the fight against digital abuse. GLAAD has partnered with Facebook to fight abuse on the site and columnist Dan Savage has created a YouTube channel called "It Gets Better," to share messages supporting gay teens.

Although the benefits of social media are a constant part of daily discussion, it is equally important to consider the negative effects of these networking sites.

How important do you think it is to emphasize and discuss the dangers of social media sites? Are campaigns such as these successful in the fight against cyber-bullying?

Let us know what you think!

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