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Cyberspace is a blessing and a curse. It is blessing because it allows individuals to connect with others almost instantly. However, it is a curse because many people use the Internet to digitally bully others, which is known as cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is an epidemic in schools due to the fact adolescents are still learning social graces. This online affliction caused by students needs to be tracked by schools in order to prevent digital drama. Although personal privacy and faculty trust may be issues, schools should be permitted to oversee social media because cyberbullying does negatively affect a student’s education and monitoring would help prevent excessive online torment.
Those who oppose schools monitoring student social media may be concerned about privacy and the loss of confidence in teachers. Even though individuals want privacy, people shouldn’t post anything they wouldn’t want their parents or employers to see. The Orange County School Board asserts it is appropriate to surveil social media because they are public websites anyone can access (Kim). Of course the opposition would heavily argue against their privacy being infringed upon, but safety takes precedence over confidentiality. If a person is suspected of committing a crime, police officers are granted a search warrant to comb through their house for incriminating evidence because the individual could impose on the safety of the public. The same is with teens and social media. Most adolescents haven’t yet realized how their actions could greatly impact others and could unintentionally, or intentionally, hurt them. Allowing schools to monitor social media will make teens more cognizant of their online actions, thus lowering the number of cyberbullying cases. Even though schools only have in mind what is best for the students, the opposition could argue that monitoring would make youth believe all adults are against them. Many students go to teachers to confide or ask for personal help because they may feel as if they can’t go to their parents. The adolescents could feel as though the school is acting like a parent if their social media is being monitored and will want to rebel against it by not going to teachers for help. However, the school would have a confidentiality agreement, like a psychiatrist would a patient. Psychiatrist’s have confidentiality agreements with their patients stating that they will not disclose anything said unless it endangers the patient, endangers others, or they are given permission (McConnell, Larson). On July 1, 2010, New Hampshire issued a bullying and cyberbullying law that allows schools to discipline students if they harm another student physically, or emotionally, or disturb the school’s order (Hb 1523). The pupils will only notice the school’s monitoring if they show any signs of causing harm. Therefore, students would not feel like they are being constantly watched and would gradually accept the new safety measure. Even though there may seem to be a few reasons to disagree, schools having more precautions is only beneficial to students.
Cyberbullying has negative repercussions on an individual’s education. Before the existence of the Internet, students were able to separate school and home. However, today the two are not separate anymore. To digital natives, the two are very much intertwined due to frequent use of social media (Adams). Since adolescents use technology regularly in and out of school, their socializing has entered the home, so what takes place at school follows them home and vice versa. The schools should be able to oversee the minor’s social media accounts because home and school life are now linked. The far right column of the graph below confirms the high percentage of off campus issues playing out at school (Sameer, Patchin).
Events taking place online are entering campuses, which should not be be happening. Permitting schools to monitor their pupil’s actions via social media would prevent offline altercations, thus making the Internet and school grounds safer. Providing a safer environment will facilitate an increase in academic achievements. Nuccitelli, a doctor of psychology, states that a student’s academic accomplishments decrease, but “cyberbullying has the potential to multiply these effects by the infinite number of places in which students experience technology” (Nuccitelli). Since students have access to social media 24/7, the bullying extends from school to home. Adolescents tend to ruminate upon negative comments due to insecurities, which distracts them from their education. If the cyberbullying is bad enough, the pupil may even avoid school. Not being able to focus on scholarly tasks or going to school inhibits students from completing school work, studying for tests, and being present, thus linking school life and home life. Students need to feel safe at school, which can only be achieved by ensuring they are not targets of cyberbullying.
School monitoring of social media would aid in stopping online and offline torment. The sole purpose of overseeing digital communications between adolescents is to prevent school violence (Kim). It is imperative that schools be allowed to discipline students for cyberbullying because virtual altercations potentially endanger the physical well being of students. If events, such as a fight, begin online but wander onto school grounds, it is only logical the school ought to be able to prevent them. Physical conflict not only harms the students involved, but also disrupts the orderly operations of school. In order to help schools run smoothly, monitoring of social media is a must. Keeping an eye on the social media accounts of adolescents would help solve online quarrels because 58% of kids have kept their online bullying events a secret (Adams). Since youth are inexperienced and feel invincible, many believe they can deal with the cyberbullying themselves or that it is not a big deal. Seeing as students usually ameliorate disputes between themselves, allowing schools to monitor accounts may decrease bullying. Due to the typical ignorance of adolescents, they can be oblivious to the consequences of their actions and cannot make clear judgements of what is, and isn’t, appropriate. For example, Amanda Todd made one mistake that ruined her life. Amanda was communicating with strangers online, and one of them convinced her to flash her chest through flattery. The person posted a screen-shot, which was taken without her knowledge, that went viral. When her schoolmates found out, she was teased and bullied, forcing her to move schools. She had to move schools repeatedly until one day, after past failed attempts, she committed suicide at the age of fifteen. Amanda’s death could’ve been avoided if the school was able to digitally look out for students because the district could have intervened in her inappropriate, online socializing behavior. If schools were able to oversee online communications, so they would’ve been able to prevent a staggering amount of torment.
Web-enabled bullying affects the victim’s life, both online and offline. Students who are cyberbullied show a drop in their academic performance, which hurts their chances of getting a quality education. Victims of cyberbullying have hate comments being spewed at them that emotionally hurt, and potentially scar, them. The Internet is an incredible invention that has the potential to bring happiness to all, but cyberbullying among students makes cyberspace a hostile place. If social media is able to be monitored by schools, thousands of kids would not have to deal with the agonizing, emotional pain of rejection by their peers. Permitting schools to oversee online interactions between students would be an effective way to stop the plague of digital drama.