Could Facebook’s new ‘dislike’ button increase cyberbullying?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg announced plans to add a new feature to allow users to show empathy, but some are concerned it could spur more online bullying.

Every day and for some, every hour, we’re checking to see what others are doing on Facebook. you can like, comment, share, hashtag and even poke friends.

But what about a “dislike” button? Some aren’t too sold on what they say is a feature that will decrease empathy among Facebook users.

This “dislike” option may be coming to a Facebook news feed near you, “I think it’s a feature that a lot of people would use, you could post something and be like oh this happened today and it really sucked, and I can hit dislike, I agree this sucks,” said Lauren Summers, a frequent Facebook user.

“People are emotionally fragile as it is, and I think that if there is a dislike button, that is kind of an open door for more cyber bullying,” said Faith Givan, also a frequent Facebook user.

There are some things we don’t like on our Facebook feeds, but instructional technology coach for Hoover Schools, Jeff Richardson said this new feature could enhance an already existing problem, bullying in our schools.

“It goes back to what we tell kids, if you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all, if you don’t like something then unfriend the person, block them, quit reading their feed, but you don’t necessarily have to express your dislike toward it,” Richardson said.

Educating parents as well as students is what Richardson said needs to be done in an ever-changing digital landscape. Lauren Summers has three young children of her own, “I would hope by that point in my children’s life that I would have instilled in them a big enough sense of self so they don’t have to have a feeling of self revolving around likes or dislikes on Facebook,” she said.

Richardson went on to say he wants parents teach their children empathy while online, something he feels our digital space severely lacks.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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