Cyberbullying: The Downside of Instagram


Jackie Vaks

Photos similar to this one are posted on student-ran instagram accounts (portrayal).

Jackie Vaks, Reporter

Most clubs and extracurricular activities here at West Boca High School have an Instagram account. Following these accounts allows you to support your fellow classmates and show your school spirit with a modern twist. With this advantage come negatives too. Unfortunately, students make accounts that are not affiliated with the school but revolve around the students. Although these accounts seem innocent, most of them are highly inappropriate.  

These accounts all have hundreds of followers and students engaging with its content every day. One account posts students and teachers getting caught sleeping in class. Most of these seem like they are done without consent, according to the comments. Another account posts students showing public displays of affection, following another one that posts pictures of students’ feet while using the bathroom. This is very inappropriate for school and is a huge invasion of privacy. There are many more accounts of this nature, which makes it very hard to avoid not getting posted on these platforms. 

Although there are hopefully no harsh intentions, these accounts have created an environment where it seems like it’s okay to cyberbully others. Not only are posting these pictures wrong, but direct messaging pictures of students without their knowledge with the intent of it being posted is wrong as well. School comes with enough stress as is, and the fear of being photographed at a vulnerable time is not something that students should have to worry about.

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that has become more common with the advancement of technology. Cyberbullying is similar to bullying in that it causes harm over and over again, but it’s in the form of emails, text messages, direct messages, public messages, or photo submissions. The problematic part of cyberbullying is that information can be distributed to anyone with access to technology, and can be viewed continuously until the bully decides to take it down. Due to the accessibility of technology, many young people choose to bully online and it has become an increasingly common form of bullying as teenagers are constantly exposed to their electronic devices. 

Going back to these Instagram accounts, they seem far too negative to take as a light joke. Some captions seem very harsh, with a comment section that applauds this kind of behavior. As bullying and cyberbullying are becoming a major issue that has received more attention in recent years as more teenagers are facing this problem, these results have been devastating. The increase in teen suicide, the increase in violence, and the identification of more victims play a huge role in today’s society. According to the results of a 2011 survey by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • More than 15,000 students did not go to school because they felt unsafe.
  • At least 20% reported being bullied on school grounds.
  • Over 16% were victims of some type of cyberbullying.

If you or a friend ever feel unsafe, or fall victim to cyberbullying, please contact a teacher, parent, or any adult you trust. Acts of bullying should no longer be tolerated and there are measures that can be taken to help avoid it. Don’t forget, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Continue to put yourself first and don’t allow yourself to associate with negative platforms. You really don’t know how it feels to be in someone else’s shoes, and as a community, we should continue to help each other avoid cyberbullying.