Social media changed bullying. Mean comments in the hallways can also turn up on Facebook pages, tweets, and Instagram photos. Bullying has happened in many schools during every decade, but cyberbullying is a very new concept.
Some people who were bullied in the past, such as visual artist Margaret Pardy, did not have to deal with cyberbullying on top of harassment and mean comments in school. “I was very shy when I was young, so I was definitely bullied,” she said, ” With the social media that’s going on, it’s amplified that much more, and I just can’t fathom the thought. If I was shy, and dealing with it today, it would be overwhelming.”
She said people need to remember that words can still impact others, whether it’s in person or on social media “It’s different when you’re talking to somebody; You see their expression, you see their face, you see how they’re reacting to what their saying. When you’re doing it through texting, you can’t see that face, and you can’t see how you’re affecting that person.”
Kelly McNeil, another artist, said she wasn’t bullied in high school, and that it didn’t exist on the small, all-girls campus of about 350 people. “Each table got along with the other table for five years. Our table took in misfits that would come in now and then,” she explained, “You would’ve been kicked right out of the school if you were caught behaving like that.”
However, McNeil added bullying affected her own children. “I’ve seen an increase in it beyond all proportions, and the damage it does to people. It’s costing lives.”
Like Pardy, Steve McNeil, another visual artist, acknowledged bullying can happen anywhere, from the workplace, to school, to home. However, he felt there is more awareness to the issue, and more support available. “Just knowing that there are organizations to help you out is something we didn’t have. They may have been there, but I just didn’t know about them and they weren’t made public.”