Cyber Bullying: The Mean Side of Media and how it is Affecting Students of All AgesBullying has been a problem in schools since most of us can remember, but asmodern technology continues to advance bullying has taken on a new guise. Children inschool these days have so many more avenues of which they use to bully each other.Cyber bullying has been all over the news lately, and for good reason; technologiescontinue to advance, and this kind of torment continues to become increasingly prevalent.Bullying has been going on for as long as anyone can remember, and everyone hasexperienced it or been witness to it in one way or another. Up until pretty recently, a childdealing with a bully at school could escape it when he/she got home. Unfortunately, thatis no longer the case. New technologies make it possible for bullying to go beyond theclassroom and into a child¶s home life. The majority of kids in middle school these dayshave cell phones (³Cell Phones,´ 2007), Facebook, MySpace, instant messaging, andmaybe even Twitter at their disposal. As early as a decade ago, the large majority of children had never even heard of these devices. With that said, the new technologies being created aren¶t all to blame for bullying following kids home. Parents are puttingcell phones into their children¶s hands at younger ages than ever before. As of 2007,twenty two percent of kids, ages 6-9, have cell phones (³Cell Phones,´ 2007). Parentswant to be in constant contact with their kids, which results in fifth graders with cell phones; this has its pros and cons. Typical classroom bullying is already starting to become pretty intense at that age, and cell phones just give kids another avenue to bullyone another.A common misconception about cyber bullying is that it stops after middleschool, or highschool. However, stories in the media lately tell a different story. Cyber
Author – Jeff White (Part 2 and 3 will be posted later by Yoko Rodriguez and Jordan Satterfield)
Cyberbullying – The Problem
With the invention of the Internet and its mass commercial use, some people might not have foreseen the issue of “cyberbullying” and how harmful it can really be. A non-profit organization called stopcyberbullying.org describes it as, “when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones” (Wiredkids, 2011). Cyberbullying occurs among young people and when an adult is involved it’s commonly referred to as cyberstalking or cyberharassment. Researchers have been looking more into this realm ever since it started to grow rapidly. Cyberbullying occurs frequently towards a person, repeatedly causing abuse and hostility. This amount can add up and leave the teen at a loss of how to make it stop. Teenagers have gone to the lengths of committing suicide because the bullying was that bad like in Megan Meier’s case in 2006 in which she was cyberbullied over MySpace. It affects teenagers mostly because that’s a very fragile state in one’s life.
“Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying” says bullyingstatistics.org. Cyberbullying can lead to anxiety, depression, and like previously stated, suicide. It also doesn’t help that since things circulate online a lot, the pain of cyberbullying can reoccur since nothing is ever truly taken down from the Internet. People who are bullying online think it’s funny. In some cases they want to hurt or harm the person they’re bullying, like in Megan Meier’s case. The cyber bullies think it’s ok for them to do this to people, when in reality its not. Cyber bullies think nothing will ever come of their actions, but in the past it has proven that things can result.
While the big problem being the teens that are doing the bullying, another issue we need to look at is the communication between the person being bullied and their parents/authority figures. It is said, “Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.” Teens are not feeling comfortable with telling their parents and thus never getting help with the issue and it continues to occur. In a situation that seems rather helpless, the people that can help the teens are their parents or authority figures. Teens sometimes feel like if they were to tell their parents about it, they’d lose their online privileges. Going along with teens not telling their parents, it was reported, “Fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement.” Cyberbullying is something that is going to happen no matter what and when looking at it as a problem you have to look at all angles to try and understand it. The Cyberbullying Research Center reported that, “About half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying, and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly.”
Another big aspect of the problem of bullying is how accessible forms of electronic communications are to teens. “Over 80 percent of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most popular form of technology and a common medium for cyber bullying.” Since the fact that the use of cell phones by teen has risen so much, it’s easy to see how it has contributed to this problem. It makes it an easy medium for bulling to occur. In addition to that, with most households having a computer, it then creates more possibilities for it to occur. One of the last big aspects that contribute to this problem is the mere fact that it happens online or via cell phone. This way the person being bullied doesn’t know who it is and that allows the bully to be anonymous. This makes the bully feel like nothing will come of it because their identity is not known. It may even cause them to bully them more.
Cyberbullying is a huge problem in our society because it can cause harm to teens everywhere. It can lead to depression, anxiety or even suicide. Teens feel like they are untouchable sitting behind the computer because of their anonymity. Teens who are bullied feel helpless and they don’t like to tell their parents about what is happening. It’s also a very tough thing to govern because not many kids are vocal about it and it’s tough for schools to get involved if the bullying didn’t occur in school. With technology ever changing, one might not doubt that Cyberbullying is an issue that will only get worse with time and actions need to be taken to help the issue.
Cyberbullying Research Cente. (2004). Bullying statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html
WiredKids, I. (2011, October 20). Stop cyberbullying. Retrieved from http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/what_is_cyberbullying_exactly.html
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