Within this analysis I will be discussing the topic of cyber bullying. It will describe the characteristics of cyber bullying, the prevalence of cyber bullying in youth, what to do to stop a cyber bully and my evaluation of the situation.
Cyber bullying is an old problem with a new twist. Traditionally bullying can be defined as abusive treatment of a person by means of force or coercion (Campbell 2005). This can be broken into four behavior categories: Verbal (Name calling, teasing, abuse, humiliation, sarcasm, insults, threats), physical (Hitting, punching, kicking, scratching, tripping, spitting), social (Ignoring, excluding, ostracising, alienating, making inappropriate gestures) and psychological (Spreading rumours, glaring, hiding or damaging possessions), (The Line fact sheet: bullying). This definition still applies to cyber or “computer” bullying, although the means of method is different and more intense. Cyber bullying behavior is both social and psychological in nature and is done via malicious SMS and email, misuse of camera phones, chat rooms and social network sites (facebook, twitter or other blog sites).
With 72% of Australian households having access to the Internet (ABS, 2008-09) and 31% of 5 to 14 year olds own their own mobile phone (ABS, 2008-09) youth cant just walk away from a schoolyard fight anymore. An American survey of 1566 students found that:
57% of students said that someone had said hurtful or angry things to them online with 13% saying it happens “quite often”
53% of students admit saying mean or hurtful things to someone online and 7% admit to doing it “quite often”
35% of students have been threatened online with 5% saying it happens “quite often”
42% have been bullied online with 7% saying it happens “quite often”
20% have received mean or threatening e-mails
58% have not told their parents or another adult about their experiences online
(Keith & Martin, 2005)
These figures are quite alarming and reiterate the point that young or old we cant simply “ignore” a predator like we are told when we are physically bullied. If an instance occurs the bullying can be up to 24 hours a day. Instead we must begin adept the method of coping to this new type of bullying and that’s through awareness. The link below is to a website called Cybersmart with a video that has a representation of the different forms cyber bullying and how they can get out of control and seriously affect a victim.
The child “Joe” in this video clearly doesn’t understand why he is being targeted. He was bombarded with negative text messages, which then turned into phone calls, then emails and then a website was made to make fun of him. This resulted in his social image being effected and eventually the whole school teasing him not just the original predator. In the end “Joe” did the right thing, he told someone about the harassment.
Bullying No Way gives the plan of action towards cyber bullying of:
• Tell an adult you trust
• Leave the area of stop the activity
• Block the senders messages
• Keep a record of the messages
• Notify your service provider
• Tell the police
So what makes someone want to bully another person?
(Social Capital) states that “certain forms of social capital can operate to reinforce relative social positions within a local community, acting to exclude those with different norms and values”. Additionally others say that its comes for a need of superiority
As educators we must understand that the Internet is an integral part of our students social life. Instead of trying the impossible task of banning this side of their life we must instead inform them of the dangers and supervise their actions. The Cyber Safety website has a comprehensive catalogue of information about how they can stay safe. The graph below show methods of internet security that are currently being used in South Australian homes. In my view following these steps along with making it apparent of what can go wrong is the best step in slowing an unstoppable problem.
In conclusion cyber bullying is a large problem with no simple answer. Unless we can monitor our children and students 100% of the time then this problem will always be around. It should be our job to ensure they understand that their actions have repercussion and what to do if they become a victim. If a problem arises then they need to speak up with no hesitations.
Recommendations for further research would include:
More studies on the psychological effects of cyber bullying
Agatston, P.,Kowalski, R., Limber, S. (2007) Students’ Perspectives on Cyber Bullying.
Journal of Adolescent Health 41 (2007) S59 –S60. retrieved from http://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(07)00368-0/abstract
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008-09). Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, (cat. no. 8146.0).canberra, Australia: ABS
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2010). SA Stats, Australia, (cat. no. 1345.4).canberra, Australia: ABS
Australian Government. (n.d). fact sheet: BULLYING. Retrieved from http://www.theline.gov.au/factsheets/factsheet_bullying.pdf
Campbell, Marilyn A (2005) Cyber bullying: An old problem in a new guise?. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling 15(1):68-76. Retieved from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/1925/1/1925.pdf
Susan, K., Martin, M. (2005). Cyber-Bullying: Creating a Culture of Respect in a Cyber World. Reclaiming Children and Youth, Vol. 13, 9(2). retrieved from http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst;jsessionid=M3RQmz24nTT2tq6f8P8Ml89qWmGbfNP9RvL4LRynvjlhSyLYmpC4!-1172235097!-1264998990?docId=5008733314