The years where bullying is most often signified by bruises and cruel words shouted in hallways has passed. Now, pre-teens and teens are more likely to be subject to bullying through other means — technology.
Cyberbullying is a problem. It’s when someone is harassed through electronic means such as texts, e-mails or social media. A notable problem, many social media websites have been called to try to stop cyberbullying in their outlets. Instagram is the latest company to do so with the new anti-bullying and bullying-comment filters, which are run using Artificial Intelligence technology.
While these filters are nice in theory, they are not realistic in practice. From how these filters are described, at least in the case of their use in regards to published photographs, this AI technology would only scan what has already been published, then send the information gathered to humans who would deem if it should be removed or not.
This is not helpful because, as soon as a post is published, it does harm. Even if it is removed before the victim of the bullying sees it, others may still, giving them time to screenshot it and share with others, or to simply damage the victim’s reputation, and life, more. It’s a nice thought to use AI technology in this manner, but it isn’t very helpful except to get rid of the content more quickly than in the past when an insulting Facebook page may be reported and still take over a week to disappear. However, this disappearance does not change the fact that the photo or page was published to begin with.
At the same time, Instagram also released a new feature called the Kindness Camera Effect on Oct. 9. This effect spreads kindness and positivity across Instagram by enabling people to support other users with positive comments and hearts, which would appear on others screens when shared. While this does not actively stop bullying from occurring, it does spread more positivity to all users, which could help reduce negativity overall while also helping those who have received negativity over Instagram, other social media outlets or in person.
Instagram is definitely taking a progressive step, using technology that is in rapid development to solve a serious problem in today’s society, but they have a long way to go before they have a solution that actually prevents bullying, as the name “Anti-bullying” alludes, rather than aiding in removing some of the damage and harmful content cyber-bullying leaves behind.