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How Technology Is Increasing Bullying On And Off School Campuses

Updated on September 4, 2014
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Introduction

Bullying is nothing new. Bullying has been around for thousands of years, however with the advancement of technology, bullying has advanced to a new damaging level. Children, teenagers, and even adults can be victims of a vicious type of bullying called cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can be devastating to the individuals being affected. This paper will explore cyber bullying by looking at the differences and similarities between ‘regular’ bullying and cyber, the types of cyberbullying, statistics, and the differences between the bullies and the victims in regard to the effects of cyberbullying.

What is Cyberbullying?

According to Drogin and Young in their study of Forensic Mental Health Aspects of Adolescent “Cyber Bullying,” A Juruprudent Science Perspective, cyberbullying is when a person uses electronic means in order to harass, bully, or threaten another person (2008). This is closely related to but different than regular bullying which is described as an aggressive acts made with harmful intent from one person to another (Drogin and Young 2008).

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How Does Cyberbullying Really Work?

Cyberbullies include everything from cell phones to full websites to harass or embarrass their intended victims. The lists include texting, phone pictures, social sites like Facebook and Twitter/Instagram, blogs, and full websites. In one study 53% of students admitted to having experienced a hurtful or angry message sent to them online while 13% said it happened quite often (Keith, Martin 2005). In another study 19% of children experienced unwanted sexual solicitation from another person (Keith, Martin 2005). The majority of these sexual solicitations are from another adolescent. Bullies will even make full websites to taut their victim like websites where people rate people based on their looks.

These websites are made only for the intention of causing psychological harm to another person. There have been instances of adolescents putting hit lists of their classmates on their own website with descriptions on what they will, or have done, to the people on the hit list (Keith, Martin 2005). In one incident, cyber bullying became physical. In Texas, two teenagers made a website to tease a classmate who was overweight by calling her a pig. The website got a lot of hits from adolescents and one night one of the students went to the victim’s house and threw acid at her mother and her (Keith, Martin 2005). These types of cyber incidents have been increasing. The types of cyber bullying are largely spread but the statistics is just as alarming.

Recent statistics said that 91% of children aged twelve though fifteen and 99% of teenagers aged sixteen to eighteen uses the internet (Keith, Martin 2005). 53% percent of students admitted to sending someone a hateful or harassing massage via technology, with 13% saying that it happens quite often (Keith, Martin 2005). 35% of students have been threatened online, 42% have been constantly bullied online, and over 58% of teenagers have not told anyone about the cyberbullying (Keith, Martin 2005). However in Bülent Dilmac’s study of Psychological Needs as a Predictor of Cyber Bullying: A Preliminary Report on College Students, 22.5% of students reported in engaging in a cyber bullying at least once while 55.3% has reported being bullied (2009). On another study called Reports Releases Bullying Statistics Among Children it was proposed that in a 2005 national survey that only 8% of students reported cyberbullying with 6% being done though cell phones (Anonymous 2009).

Difference Between Gender and Bullying

Statistics have also shown differences between gender bullying and victims. More females than males have been reported being the victims of bullying. In a study it was found that 32% of males and 36% of females have been victims of cyberbullying (Dilmac 2009). In terms of being the bully, males tend to be the aggressor however females also bully. Males and females have different bullying types. Girls inflict more virtual abuse though text and e-mails while males make more online threats and build websites targeting others (Keith and Martin 2005). Girls tend to bully in a group while guys are usually by themselves or in a small group. In fact many times females will use relationships as weapons. For instance like a group of girls instant messaging another student while posing as a single individual and than when the unexpected victim says something about one of the bullies, they all start bullying her leading into social isolation of the victim (Keith and Martin 2005).

A new thread of dangerous activity has been going on and have just recently in 2013 been on the news. And that is adults, teenagers, and even children are sending nude pictures of themselves to another person. This has caused a new form of aggressive bullying where the picture will be passed on to other schoolmates to even posted to adult websites out of spite. Both genders could be victim to this but it is usually is females that are the victim of this type of bullying.

Difference Between The Psychological State of Bully and Victim

Bullies are said to have high emotional responses and low self-control (Dilmac 2009). So bullies relay more on their emotions than rationality and they usually have very low self-control so they tend to get more aggressive easier and feel more jealously than other students. Bullies seem to come from homes where physical punishment is involved and/or when there is a lack of warmth in their house (Dilmac 2009). However peer pressure can also cause children and teenagers into bullying another student.

Unlike regular bullying, the perpetrators can randomly chose just about anyone to attack on the web. In regular bullying race, sexual orientation, income, and even the lack of friendship will result in an increased risk of being bullied. However with cyberbullying many times the bully does not even know the person he or she is bullying (Anonymous 2009). Many times, people just join in with cyberbullying when they see or read a cyber attack happening. In fact it seemed like the internet could cause a reaction called mob behavior (Drogin, Young 2008). Mob behavior means that one person starts the bullying and other adolescents join in, causing a mob attack.

Victims on the other hand seem to develop psychological problems such as depression, loneliness, low self-esteem, school phobias, and social anxieties (Dilmac 2009). Victims develop deep internal stress and trauma that can lead them into not wanting to go to school anymore and even to suicide.

Interesting enough the emotional distress of victims of regular bullying and cyberbullying seems to be the same. The same warning signs apply: the mood swings, bad dreams, feeling unwell, becoming antisocial, falling behind in homework, depression, not wanting to go to sleep, and even instances of self abuse and suicidal thoughts (Keith and Martin 2005). The only real difference seems to be that victims of cyberbullying tend to spend a lot of their time on the computer and may cry or show emotional distress while on it or they avoid using the computer all together (Keith and Martin 2005). Many of the victims will not tell anyone about what is bothering them leaving them more likely to suffer from their emotional distress and pick up behaviors such as drinking/smoking, drugs, or self-harm in order to deal with the ordeal (Dilmac 2009).

Physical Bullying and Its Link to Cyber Bullying

Cyberbullying and regular bullying can interact with each other. Many times bullies will go harass or cause fear in victims at school and than go home and bully them with technology. Many students post slurs about the victim on websites that children congregate like personal online journals (Blogs), or even embarrassing them by online voting booths (Keith and Martin 2005). These voting booths can range anywhere from ‘rate the ugliness’ to ‘who is the biggest ho.’ These voting booths will usually have pictures of unexpected students and will than send the results around to the victims after the voting has taken place. This can cause emotional distress to the students who were listed in the polls and these types of abuse have been becoming more common lately.

Even popular girls and boys are not free from cyberbullying. There has been two instances of popular students becoming tainted in Keith and Martin’s study of Cyber-Bullying: Creating a Culture of Respect in a Cyber World, one was a popular girl who went on vacation and found out that people sent a rumor that she contacted SARS and a popular straight boy who found out that people have been sending rumors that he is a homosexual (2005). In both cases the use of cell phones text messages were used to spread the rumors. Both of them became isolated from their friends and found themselves being taunted for the lies other students have made.

Teacher Responses To Cyber Bullying

Teachers feel at a loss for how to stop the cyberbullying. In fact in a study about how schools are dealing with cyberbullying, it has been reported that 25% of public schools have reported bullying among students on a daily basis and 43% of students have experienced cyber bullying (anonymous 2011). Many schools have put up programs and laws to help with the issue but it is still a work in motion and although all schools in 2013 have strict rules of what is allowed, they can only monitor students in school and have no say in what happens off school grounds. So cyberbullying has become the main way to bully do to the secretive nature of the internet. This is an issue that can only be stopped by parents monitoring what their children do online but with cellphones even they cannot fully monitor because the child can be anywhere online.

In Conclusion

The advancement of technology is amazing and has had a good and bad impact on people. Cyberbullying unfortunately is a bad consequence of technology. Though the difference between regular and cyberbullying, statistics, and types of cyberbullying, difference between bullies and victims, cyberbullying was explored and examined. Cyberbullying seems to be the new way for children to bully and so far no real practical conclusion could be found in regards to stopping it.

A Four Minute Video About Bullying

Resources

Anonymous (2011) Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University; Implications for Teenage Bullying: New Research Shows People Underestimate Suffering Due to ‘Empathy Gap,’ Psychology and Psychiatry, 523

Anonymous (2009), Report Bullying Statistics Among Children, Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Service, 47(9): 8

Anonymous (2011), Study Finds Nearly Half of School Social Workers Feel Unequipped to Handle Cyber Bullying, Psychology and Psychiatry, 2493

Dilmac, Bülent (2009), Psychological Needs as a Predictor of Cyber Bullying: a Preliminary Report on College Students, Kuram ve uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri, 9(3): 1307-1325)

Drogin, Eric Y., Young, Katherine (2008), Forensic Mental Health Aspect of Adolescent “Cyber Bullying”: A Jurisprudent Science Perspective, Journal of Pschiatry and Law, 36(4): 679-993

Keith, Susan, Martin, Michelle E. (2005), Cyber-Bullying: Creating a Culture of Respect in a Cyber World, Reclaiming Children and Youth, 13 (4):224-229

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    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 2 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      This is scary, especially because we cannot really prepare or protect our children.

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