Social media contributes to cyberbullying and school violence threats



Survey of 44 CHS students from Dec. 20, 2021 to Dec. 23,2021.

Ryan Lemberger

A stream of cyberbullying and school shooting threats on social media have recently caught the attention of school administrators across America.

After a shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan, copycat threats have been made on various social media platforms. While it is clear that these threats need to be taken seriously, many people question if school administrators, police or both should be involved in the investigations.

Police have gotten involved in numerous investigations and made arrests including on Dec. 17, when threats were posted to TikTok encouraging students to shoot up their schools. This resulted in an increased presence of police at many schools, including CHS. Nevertheless, the day went without incident at schools across America.

Junior Nicholas Martino of Farmingdale believes that police should lead the investigations rather than school administrators.

“School shooting threats should not be the school, but the police that get involved,” Martino said.

While police should take charge in the investigations, schools should also be aware of any threats. A good relationship with local police departments allows schools to monitor the movements of students who may pose a threat.

In addition to a strong relationship with local police, Principal James Gleason believes that social media companies need to take actions to regulate these threats.

“It is beyond time to regulate the social media companies in regards to the messaging that they are putting out and the lack of ability to control the message that is being put out [by its users],” Gleason said. “Its impact is too great for our society at this point.”

School violence threats are not the only issue at hand when it comes to social media. Cyberbullying also has a major impact on students’ mental health and is currently on the rise.

Junior Henry Frieman of Holmdel explains the importance of schools taking action in the face of cyberbullying. According to the Journal of Health Economics, cyberbullying can lead to more severe consequences than regular bullying, such as self harm and sometimes suicide.

“If the person is at harm, it is the school’s responsibility to make sure that nothing happens,” Frieman said. “There is a factor of privacy that needs to be considered, but I do, overall, think schools should have the ability to monitor.”

When schools do intervene, they should do so in a way that de-escalates the situation. They should counsel both the cyberbully and victim to encourage breaking social media connections with each other. A suspension is not effective as the cyberbully will likely continue his or her actions upon return to school.

While technology can be a useful tool that indicates warning signs of violence, it can also be detrimental in cases of cyberbullying. When handled properly by both schools and police, school violence threats and cyberbullying incidents can be resolved.

“We are at a really critical juncture in regards to social media and its impact on society,” Gleason said.