Suicides caused by Social Business —Implications for Society& Social business.

23 Nov

One are of social business which has not be discussed, perhaps due the sad reality of this topic in social business at the moment, is the issues of cyber bullying and related suicides. I feel this area warrants further exploration in the context of just how serious an issue is for society as whole and possible implication for social business.

In order to highlight the seriousness of this situation, some hard statistics need to be highlighted. With reference to the online child safety website “PureSight” and  A poll conducted in 24 countries by the global research company Ipsos for Reuters News, the results of which were published in January 2012 found the following: (figures and facts from website puresight)

  • One in ten parents online (12%) around the world say their child has experienced cyber bullying
  • One in four (24%) of those parents say they know a child in their community who has experienced cyber bullying and of those, 60% say the children experienced the harassing behaviour on social networking sites like Facebook

The following table demonstrates parents’ attitudes to cyber bullying in 24 countries, including whether or not their child has been cyber bullied.


A joint European Union/London School of Economics study published in January 2011, entitled Risks and safety on the internet: The perspective of European children, surveyed 9-16 year olds and their parents in 25 countries and found the following:

  • 6% of 9-16 year olds have been sent nasty or hurtful messages online, and 3% have sent such messages to others.
  • Over half of those who received bullying messages were fairly or very upset.
  • One in 13 of the 15-16 year olds report receiving nasty or hurtful messages online.
  • Those who have been bullied online are more likely to have been bullied on a social networking site or by instant messaging than by email, in gaming sites or chat rooms.

Two use to Irish case studies, which have been covered in the mainstream media quite recently, two teenage girls, Donegal teenager Erin Gallagher was found dead at her family home, a day after posting on that she was being bullied. In September, 13-year-old Ciara Pugsley from Co, Leitrim, also took her own life, amid claims she had been bullied on the site. (To find out more click article link—social-networking-sites-denies-responsibility-177091611.html) Within this case, the social business, denied causing the deaths and founder Mark Terebin stated, “…It is necessary to go deeper and to find a root of a problem. Its not about the site, the problem is about education, about moral values that were devaluated [sic] lately.”

Having highlighted the relevant quantitative and qualitative research, one can begin to interrupt these findings and subsequent implication for social business for the future. One could argue that the denial of responsibility from all parties involved leads to once again yet another “grey area” in social business governance.  Social business and in particular social media sites such as, Facebook, Twitter etc, have extreme amounts of power, which has implication on individuals and society. This is a desperate situation in my opinion in social business at the moment, as the loss of human life must not be dismissed faintly. One might question what can be done to resolve this situation, tighter policing internally from social business with a legal duty to report and act on cyber bullying or criminal prosecutions to the bullies themselves via the judicial system?

What do you think?


6 Responses to “Suicides caused by Social Business —Implications for Society& Social business.”

  1. roisg November 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    Illuminating blog eddyjquinn, and I agree with you that the increase of these tragic incidents will have implications for social networking sites, while many of those sites do have certain reporting mechanisms & it is possible to block messages from someone you do not want contact with, in the case of children or vulnerable people it is not always so simple. I do think it needs to be pointed out and i think Mark Terebin of alludes to this, is that, that site and others like it, supply a product, and a popular product at that, the product itself did not cause the death, it is claimed that the misuse of it was the cause.
    However If we were to look at it like any other product, for example alcohol – If there is an alcohol related death from a fall or a fight do we contact Budweiser/Heineken/Smirnoff for a comment of what provisions they will put in the place to ensure an incident like it does not occur again?! Not to my knowledge anyway..
    I suppose my point is does slapping the word ‘social’ in front of the word business automatically mean the company has to abide by different rules?

  2. eddyjquinn November 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Thank you roisg for our interesting comments and opinion. To offer a response, in relation to the current mechanisms in place on certain social business websites to curtail cyber-bullying I feel they are simple inadequate to cope with the gravity of the current situation. I agree with the comparison to the alcohol industry, however in Ireland, deiago have addverstised the negative I implications to some extent and the gardai and the state have noted these issues. Having said that the problem is still rampant around the country one could question has the increased awareness lowered the instances of alcohol related issues?
    With regards to another good point you raised “does slapping the word social in front of the word business automatically mean the company has to abide by different rules”, I would argue that with business, different industries and different products already have protective rules and legislation governing certain acceptable standards for society i.e you must be 18 to buy alcohol or tobacco products. So my point is should social business [not just because of the word ‘social’] as a relatively new industry have to strengthen the current standards or should the state via legislation and ultimately the courts have have to intervene?

    • jamesdaly1990 November 27, 2012 at 12:32 am #

      Hi guys,
      I was intrigued by the title of this blog. I agree that this is, unfortunately i might add, a very serious problem in today’s society. I agree totally with Roisg that governing or prohibiting the sale of alcohol because of aforementioned accidents is simply not possible. If we look at the case of the Headshops in Ireland, we see that the numbers of instances in relation to these substances were proportionately high. How would you tackle the cyber-bullying issue if it became out of hand (debatable about what “out of hand is”); is it through prohibiting Facebook,, or Twitter. Or is it just another one of those things that cant be stopped, like accidents from alcohol. Sorry for the long question but I’m genuinely interested. Cheers

  3. eddyjquinn November 30, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    Thank you jamesdaly1990,im glad you are genuinely interested in my blog.Thank you for your opinion and question raised. I like the headshops example you used incomparsion to the cyber-bullying and alcohol discussion in pervious comments. However, I feel the prohibition of certian tangebile phisical products are somewhat easier to curtail, I dont think faceboo, and twitter can be as easly curtailed. The point I am trying to make is that at the moment there is not one fits all soultion to this particular issue. What is evident is the need to exlpore this issues in depth and plan a real partical way to control social media/business content. I hope this helps, comment back if it doesnt.

    • jamesdaly1990 November 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

      Thanks very much, very helpful answer. The idea of tangible and intangible is a very good explanation. Cheers eddyjquinn

    • Jeremy November 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      Great blog. I think that students need to be educated at primary school level as to the dangers of social media, and it should be explained to them that any information they post is persistent, will be around forever, and is searchable. This has implications for college applications and their future careers. Bullying has been around forever and it will never go away, but social media amplifies the problem to a major extent. Teaching kids to use the internet responsibly might help, but there is no silver bullet in this case unfortunately.

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