Cyberbullying evolves with increased social media outlets

Cyberbullying evolves with increased social media outlets

Power down. Every social media post has a consequence.

Cyberbullying occurs when a student threatens, harasses, humiliates, embarrasses and/or targets another student on the Internet. It is no joke, and more students are at risk with the growing number of social media websites that students use.

Yik Yak, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram are the main social media platforms that are banned at on the WiFi at ETHS.

“We have blocked some websites such as Yik Yak due to explicit content, but most websites or apps are banned because of bandwidth size,” says David Chan, director of instructional technology at ETHS.

Yik Yak is an app used for anonymous discussion between people within a few mile radius. Controversy has stemmed from the app at ETHS because of anonymous posts from the Evanston area that specifically targeted students.

“As a school we felt that it was best for the app to being banned because of increasing harassment anonymously be posted on the app, both outside and inside the school,” Chan says. “It was a situation that needed to be dealt with before it got out of control.”

Cyberbullying prevention is a main goal at ETHS, and is an ongoing discussion for school administrators.

ETHS follows the Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which prevents students from accessing websites that contain explicit content on the school’s WiFi and computers.

“CIPA‘s laws must be followed by every school in the country and include censorship of pornography, obscene pictures and content that may be harmful to or can be accessed by minors,” Chan says.

As for apps like Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram, ETHS has blocked these types of social media because of a solo decision made by the school itself.

“We felt as a school that we should block students access because we didn’t see any educational value that these apps could give to students,” Chan says.

Despite the ban of the app, ETHS is very open to using technology for educational purposes in any way possible.

“Students and faculty members are welcome to bring any requests to us if they need a website unblocked for a project or school assignment. We want to give students access to the technology that is available to them,” Chan says. “Still, safety comes first.”