Teenagers love their social media almost as much as we writers do (if not more!). So when a teen bullies another teen, should we take away their access to Facebook, Twitter and all the other social media networks? Is this a good way to stop bullies?
Last week a Nova Scotia Crown (a prosecutor, for our US readers) asked for a ban from social media for teenager who bullied an autistic girl! It is believed to be the first time that a Crown asked for such as ban! The assault committed by the teen bully is brutal and in my opinion should be heavily punished! The ban is part of the sentence. The Crown also asked for a probation period.
While I find the ban from social media a great message for teens who think of bullying others, I do not believe it is an effective way to stop bullying. Let me tell you why!
Social Media Ban: Not Enough to Stop Bullies
My biggest issue with the social media ban to stop bullies is this: How can we enforce the ban?! Even if the parents implement it at home and the school reinforces it at school, access to internet is available every place you go: cafés, a friend’s house, malls. The teenager can access to the internet anywhere she wants and hence have access to social media! I believe it is impossible to enforce such as a ban! So if a ban is impossible to enforce, is it worth to ask for it?
Should we find a way to enforce the ban, be it at home, at school or whatever other place the teen bully can think of, what message do we send to the teen bully: you bullied another person and we ban you from social media! Beat up another child and get banned from Twitter? It’s as if I say to my daughter who teased her brother, go to your room and I will ban you from candies! Will it prevent the bully from doing it again? I don’t think so! Such measures create extra frustration for everyone else involved but do very little to deter the situation from happening again.
So what is the solution? First, I think the focus should be on WHY this girl resorted to bullying. What went wrong in her life to make her that way? I think this teen should get counseling as well as probation! SOMEONE should understand why she did this and make sure that she understands she will not repeat it again! Throwing a social media ban at her isn’t going to help her change. If anything, it will make her so angry that she lashes out even more at others.
Banning from social media cannot be effective to stop bullies because it doesn’t solve the root of the problem! After the ban is lifted, she will repeat the actions because we did not provide her with means to fight the urge to bully someone else!
What do you think? Is a social media ban effective to stop bullies?