How Big Tech Can Help Stop Cyberbullying – UKTN (UK Technology News

(Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash)
The rise of social media and online communication has caused a major shift in how we interact with one another. While social media has led to many benefits, allowing people to connect with others all over the world and share knowledge and experiences in new ways, it also has some downsides. Increased use of social media has led to higher instances of online bullying and abuse. Threatening or harassing people online using electronic devices has been termed cyberbullying, and it’s become a major issue worldwide.
According to ExpressVPN, 22% of children experience bullying online, although many instances of the problem are believed to go unreported. The amount of time people spend online on their smartphones, on social media sites, and playing online games are some of the main reasons for the increase in cyberbulying. While it’s unlikely that online habits can be changed, technology companies can do more to prevent the issue of cyberbullying.
One of the biggest problems with cyberbullying is that forms of online abuse often go unseen, especially by teachers and parents who would usually be able to stop it. In many cases, this can lead to children feeling alone in their problem, leading to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety if the problem persists.
For cyberbullying to be stopped, the key is to identify and report the problem. A lot of social media companies have been criticised for not doing enough to moderate their platforms, letting bullying and harassment often go unchecked. In many cases, these social media sites could benefit from better content moderation that helps to root out bullying.
While most social media platforms do remove content and ban users if they’re found to be abusive, they can often be slow to react. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are used by billions of people around the world, so it can be difficult for them to vet and approve all content being published. User reports help, but technology may be the answer.
Technology has empowered us in many ways, but it’s also led to a rise in online bullying and abuse. However, it’s entirely possible that technology can also be used to root out abusive content and help fight against cyberbullying. As it’s impossible for human moderators to evaluate all content being posted on social media platforms, perhaps AI could be the answer.
Language researchers are currently training AI algorithms to spot potentially abusive language and flag it for review. If correctly trained, an AI could be far more effective at identifying subtle abuse, including all forms of hate speech. Social media platforms such as Instagram have been quick to adopt this technology in order to help moderate content more effectively.
Instagram has been using tools to block abusive and toxic comments for years, but it’s recently developed this technology for images too. Machine learning can detect threats or abuse that is added to images, helping to prevent bullying from finding a way around word filters. Users who frequently post content that’s removed will be banned permanently from the platform.
Another issue posed by cyberbullying is that once removed, all traces of it can be hidden from authorities. This makes it difficult to punish perpetrators, especially if they remove the content themselves. However, one potential solution could be an AI chatbot that can record all instances of bullying and provide advice and support.
In serious cases, AI can also be trained to flag abuse to authorities in an effort to prevent harm. ​​Many victims of cyberbullying can become suicidal or suffer from self-harm, and online abuse, such as threats, can also be an early indicator of physical abuse and assault. By working with authorities, technology companies have the potential to minimise the effect of cyberbullying, allowing people to use online platforms safely.


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