Memes have become a new way to cyberbully

Amanda Jimenez

Many teenagers dream of becoming a “meme” but images with relatable captions have taken generation Z by its electronic devices, leaving many bullied and defenseless.

The internet frazzled has been for more hilarious content since Tay Zonday’s original “Chocolate Rain” song in 2007. Though now, meme conspirators are harsh and  have no mercy toward people. This should bring authorities to a conclusion that there should be consequences for these acts of cyberbullying because many are running free without repercussion.

Los Angeles Unified School District hasn’t fully recognized memes as cyberbullying or an official act among students. Unfortunately many are being harmed with no consequences for the perpetrators.

Any person who has access to the internet can create a meme. First, a screenshot of a picture or a video is taken. Then either a catchphrase or noticeable edits are done to the image.

A month ago, former student Tiffany Ramirez was made into a viral meme that circulated within the Latino community on Instagram. The meme has over four thousand likes on a popular meme page on Instagram.

“I was annoyed at how much people got mad over my eyebrows,” Ramirez said. “I never thought there were rules on how my eyebrows are supposed to look.”

According to a study done in 2014 by McAfee, an Intel security company, 87% of teenagers have witnessed cyberbullying and 24% would not know what to do if they were harassed or bullied online. Cyberbullying doesn’t discriminate, whether a mean text is sent out or a hateful image is shared for the masses.

Memes are so easy to create that it’s almost inevitable to be apart of the cruel meme world.

These actions evolve into cyberbullying when an image from a public or even private account goes viral without consent. However, when a teenager scrolls through Reddit, iFunny, Twitter or Instagram, they only see the satire, not the intentions of the creator.

To keep all students safe from the evolving internet, school officials should have a greater understanding of memes. An image can be just as harmful as it is hilarious.