Law Enforcement

Published on December 10th, 2013 | by admin

The Social Network Series: Cyber Bullying

It’s impossible to not be constantly connected these days. With the rise of social media came the constant social pressure to always be there, no matter where you are, or you risk missing something important.

If adults feel this pressure, you can be sure that kids feel it worse. Almost every kid has a Facebook account and a smartphone now. They go to school, where they can physically be with their friends, and then they go home, where they can still be with their friends, but over the computer or phone.

That actually sounds like a pretty sweet deal, and for most, it is. But for some, it can be a nightmare.

If a kid is bullied by classmates, it used to be that they could escape it at home. Nowadays, that bullying can happen anytime, from anywhere, making it far more dangerous. The constant attacks can lead a child to withdraw, and even to contemplate suicide.

Or, in some cases, to do more than contemplate.

This isn’t to say that the internet is a solely malicious place. There is plenty of good that happens on the internet, and in social media in particular, but that good has to have a foundation in the outside world first.

To that end, social networks like Facebook started an anti-bullying research effort to drive down the instances of cyber-bullying and, hopefully, the teen suicides that result from it. Their research has found that in most cases, it’s easier to diffuse a situation that could turn into bullying by suggesting alternate phrasing. Their focus is on studying and using emotions to create a more effective and compassionate society.

However, there will always be those few that are out to inflict pain on another person. If such malice occurs over social media, and it results in a crime being committed, the post(s) in question may prove to be a valuable asset for LEAs in determining a motive.

According to a Lexis Nexis survey of 1,200 federal, state, and local law enforcement officials who use social media, four out of five have gathered intelligence during their investigations from the online sites. Undoubtedly, social networks are an invaluable resource.

How are you using social media in your investigations today, especially as it pertains to cyber bullying and other cases of harassment?

Contact SS8 to learn more about our monitoring and analysis solutions for social media and more.

Sanjana Chand
Technical Writer

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