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Youth and Video Violence: A Form of Cyberbulling

Posted on Jan 24 2014 under Blog Posts

The evolution of communication technology such as Smart Phones and Tablets is growing, and its use can perpetuate violence among youth. Cell Phone PunchFor example, these devices can be used to record and upload violent videos onto sites such as Facebook, YouTube, WorldStar HipHop, etc. for the purpose of entertainment, embarrassment and harassment. This is very common with our youth today.

In typical instances, kids use video features on their phones to record violent fights in school, school grounds and after-school fights that occur blocks away from the school but within its community. Immediately afterward, these videos evolve into a life of their own when they become online reposts in the social media community. The instant repost spread like wildfire…“going viral” and can be viewed as a form of harassment, and often traumatize those who are recorded in the video. Take a second…think about it. What if your child is the student who is involved in the recorded fight and its constant reposts all over social media networks? Or maybe your child is the one who records, reposts or provides commentary of the violent video. In any capacity, your child has the chance to be apart of the livelihood of the video and it can be harmful.

Imagine that your 15 year-old was involved in a school fight with another student.  The classmates began to circle around your child in order to record the video. The video has now been posted to Facebook and YouTube. It may be funny to the person who recorded it, but it is traumatizing to your teenager who is involved in the fight. To many this could be seen as a form of cyberbullying. According to Cyberbullying Research Center, cyberbullying is willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices. Reposting violent videos involving others can be damaging, hurtful, and embarrassing. It can negatively impact the student’s attendance, affect the student academically and socially. The virtual presence of the fight is a constant reminder of humiliation and can eventually affect your child’s self-esteem, which can lead to more serious issues.

What can we do to help curb youth violence from going viral? Here are my thoughts:

  1. Encourage students and adults not to repost or comment on violent videos involving youth. If a student has a video that he or she would like to show because they believe it will be helpful, encourage the student to take it to a trustworthy adult to inform legal officials.  
  2. Principals need to create strict cell phone usage policies in their schools.
  3. Create and deliver school programs focused on raising awareness of violence recorded on cell phones and its negative effects.
  4. Inform an adult…it’s Okay. Let students, your children and others know it’s okay to inform an adult when they feel something is wrong. The adult they inform should keep the students name discreet unless the student states otherwise.
  5. Lead by example. If you do not want your children to post or comment on violent videos nor should you.

To learn more about the negative affects of technology and youth check, out our recent podcast NCPC and Cyberbullying Prevention: What’s New and What to Do and CyberBullying Research Center.

By Tierra Henry, Graduate Student, University of Baltimore Dispute Resolution Program

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