Dead Cyberbullying Victim’s Image Used In Facebook Ad

Bullying whether offline or in cyberspace has the potential to cause great pain for its victims and their families.  With the increased usage of social media, more bullies are going online to target their victims.  Unfortunately, the children’s rhyme, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me,” is losing some power in today’s social media fueled world. 

Over the past several years, there have been multiple incidents where online bullying has been a contributing factor in teenagers committing suicide. These tragedies demonstrate the need for parents and teachers to stress the importance that the above children’s rhyme is now more important than ever.  In addition to better educating our children, social media platforms must do a better job of policing their web sites and making the personal privacy of their users a top priority.

One such example of a social media platform putting profits ahead of personal privacy is when Facebook was recently caught featuring a photo of Canadian teenage Rehtaeh Parsons who killed herself earlier this year.  Even though Facebook apologized for allowing this to happen, it demonstrates that most digital platforms are reactive in nature and not proactive when it comes to privacy.  While I am generally not a proponent for stricter regulations, this appears to be another example of why stronger digital privacy laws may be needed to protect our children from companies that may be putting profits ahead of privacy.

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