NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With the proliferation of social media in our daily lives, bullying has come into the forefront more than ever before.
Emma Harper and her best friend, Madi, are just like most 15-year-old girls. They check their Instagram pages daily, but the two teens also know the dangers that could come with each post.
In the form of either rude comments or harassing images, cyberbullying has become commonplace on the platform that boasts over 1 billion monthly users.
“I think it’s awful, it shouldn’t happen,” said Madi. “It’s not necessary.”
A recent Pew study shows that 72 percent of teens use Instagram, and 59 percent of them have been bullied online. A similar survey shows more than one in five 12 to 20-year-olds experience bullying — specifically on Instagram.
Teens will tell you most bullying takes place over Instagram stories, in comment sections of their own photos, or over direct messages. The company recently rolled out artificial intelligence to spot bullying in photos, but similar to Twitter, users can make anonymous profiles to spread hateful remarks.
Bullying expert Karl Romain, author of The Self Confidence Factor: A Parent’s Guide to Bully Prevention, says it’s something parents need to keep an eye out for.
“You can take on someone else’s persona, you can spread rumors, gossip, you can get other people to gang up on them,” said Romain.
Romain says parents need to take an active role in their children’s online presence and have open conversation with them.
“They need to report when bullying is going on, report it to the proper authorities,” he added. “Whether it’s their internet service provider, try to find out the IP address or the actual platform that bullying is actually occurring.”
Romain says parents also need to be sympathetic about the topic, and realize social media isn’t likely to go away any time soon.