Ever since social media was introduced to the public, users have been victims of online abuse – known as cyberbullying. Many people are unaware of the effects of the words they use online. Luckily, the Organization for Social Media Safety reached out to schools across the United States to raise awareness of internet dangers.
Ed Peisner, the father of Jordan Peisner, founded the Organization for Social Media Safety. In 2016, Jordan was fiercely punched in the face, knocking him to the ground. Jordan was immobile there while bystanders recorded the incident for social media. Thankfully, an upstander contacted the police and helped the injured teen. Jordan Peisner was given lifelong injuries leading his father to the creation of the organization. According to the Organization’s website, ofsms.org, Ed partnered with Marc Berkman to create the first state law against social-media-related bloodshed.
Bernardo Yorba’s Spanish teacher, Mrs. Villasenor, says, “The first reaction of most teens is to film the scene with their phones.” This is an example of a bystander, a person who watches from afar. To be an upstander is to involve yourself in a situation for the benefit of others. “The impact any one of us can make as a bystander versus an upstander is significant,” states Mrs. Cherchian, the ASB teacher at BYMS.
Cyberbullying is the most popular threat of being online because of how easy it can be to get away with. Because of social media’s bullying and idolizing, depression and anxiety rates have spiked. According to Etactics.com, studies show that over 13% more teens that spend 3 hours on social media are being diagnosed with depression. The statistics are even worse for anxiety, especially in females.
With the COVID-19 lockdown that most of us are experiencing, the pandemic has forced people into the dangers of social media. And it’s not only cyberbullying. The internet contains several threats such as human trafficking and sexual harassment. There have been abductions, explicit posts, and persuasive posts that have caused mental and physical damage and change to children and teens.
The Organization for Social Media Safety requests that no one should ever talk to suspicious users and never share personal information. Ed Peisner and his team highly suggest that people should block and report any threats, online predators, and disturbing posts. Everyone needs to keep each other safe while on the web. Mrs. Cherchian says, “We all play a role and need to do our part to leave this world better than we found it, to do that, we start at our school and our community.”