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Cyber-bullying
October 22, 2009, 1:21 am
Filed under: images | Tags: , , , , , ,

You’ve probably all heard about films of bullying making it onto facebook. I’ve been reading up on the incident at Rivington and Blackrod High School in which schoolgirl Amy Knowles was filmed attacking Chantelle Smith. The film was put on facebook by another student, allegedly without either of the girls being aware the incident had been filmed. The act of bullying in itself does not seem more news-worthy than any other incident of bullying. What made this into an international news event was the use of social networking site facebook to distribute the film of the girls fighting. The distribution of the film can be seen as cyber-bullying. Facebook has objectionable content controls in place, through which facebook users can report content. It is interesting to note that commercial media sources have now made the footage viewable on their websites.

You can read an article about the Amy’s apology and access footage of the incident here.

I guess this incident highlights both positive and nagative consequences of media sharing within social networks. Access to this kind of publishing is not highly restricted, anyone can post any kind of content and it will be available for viewing within minutes. Facebook does have ways of regulating content after it is published, but this relies on the cooperation of users. Facebook admits that illegal and offensive material will inevitably appear on the site. This access to audience and media can act as a tool for potential bullies, however it can also be seen to raise awareness of neglected issues. Although bullying is not a rare occurance, it is rarely reported on in mainstream media. Perhaps it is a good thing that there is proof of what happened and that the media have paid attention. Then again, Amy might disagree. Taken out of context the footage does not convey the full extent or nature of the bullying.

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