Social media platforms have changed the way society and individuals communicate with the rest of the world. With great ease, individuals can now share experiences, collaborate on ideas, and meet new people through these applications. While innovations in social media, technology, and the internet continue to push the frontier for what it means to connect, it has also allowed copious amounts of hatred and bigotry to go unchecked on the internet. In 2018 alone, 53% of Americans reported being victims of cyberbullying. Harassed, insulted, shamed, and exploited, more than half of Americans face an epidemic that has increasingly affected teens and adults over the past decade.
Besides that, 37% of Americans reported being victims to malicious online threats such as sexual harassment and stalking, actions easily punishable by law outside the cyber world. Victims reported they were targets because of their religion, sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, or disability. It has also been found that high cyberbullying numbers also attribute to dangerous levels of mental health issues and suicide that have plagued colleges, workplaces, social circles, and families.
With the increasing rate of cyberbullying among teens and adolescents, society doesn’t just stand against waves of hatred and bigotry. It stands against the toxic redefinition of what it means to connect and communicate with one another. The development of awareness programs working towards educating communities on the detrimental effects of cyberbullying would hopefully aid in decreasing and stopping this epidemic.