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Cyberbullying: the Era of Virtual Bullying

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Cyberbullying: The Era of Virtual Bullying
Rae Black
EDUC 16
Mt. San Antonio College
November 4, 2015

Table of Contents
Introduction …………………………………….. 3
What is Cyberbullying? …….………………….. 4
Effects on Family ……………………………….. 5
Effects of Cyberbullying on the Victim ……….. 6
Effects on School ……………………………… 8
Conclusion ……………………………………… 9
Reference Page …………………………………. 10

Introduction
Young people today are using the internet more than ever. They view the internet and even more so the mobile phones as positive aspects of our society. The internet and mobile phones systems are the two biggest systems of communication which play a crucial role in our daily activities and development of identities. On the other hand, these same technologies are also often used negatively. Many children are the targets of bullying via the internet or mobile phones resulting in total confusion on the part of the "target". Very often, children are not able to understand that what they are going through is a form of bullying. As a result the previously safe environment of the internet is now becoming a source of confusion and anxiety. Cyberbullying follows children around the clock, and into the safety of their homes. Many times, kids are scared to tell their parents about cyberbullying, thinking they will be blamed, lose their Internet privileges, or that their parents will call the school or other parents, probably making the bullying worse. However, the pain that comes from cyberbullying is real. Parents should not underestimate the power of online or cell phone bullying, just because it may be happening in cyberspace and not in person. Cyberbullying is a growing epidemic among teenagers in America. Teens are victimized through insults on the internet especially on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Cyberbullying affects the victim emotionally and damages their reputation because it is on a platform where almost anyone is able to accesses the information. It is understandable why some people may oppose school discipline against cyberbullying; it occurs off campus thus making it harder to enforce punishment. Some people may argue that schools have no place to take action against cyberbullying because it is out of the school’s discretion; however, schools should discipline students for cyberbullying because the emotional damage can affect a student’s learning abilities and may lead to illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and even suicide.
What is Cyberbullying?
The National Crime Prevention Council defines cyber-bullying as “the process of using the Internet, cell phones or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.” Bullying has been around since the beginning of time. In its traditional sense, ‘bullying’ can be defined as an aggressive intentional and repeated behavior of a group or an individual against a victim who cannot defend him or herself. Cyberbullying is an aggressive and repeated behavior carried out online, using electronic forms of contact, such as mobile phones, emails and social networks. Whereas cyberbullying can take many forms, major types of online aggressive behavior are text messages, pictures and videos, phone calls, emails, instant messaging and bullying via websites, making it possible to bully a child 24 hours a day and include thousands of participants. Cyber bullying, also known as electronic bullying has become increasingly popular in the bullying world. Many people including children and adults use this form of bullying as a scapegoat to their real lives. Surfing the web has become its own world for many children and adults. Kowalski, and Limber state that electronic bullying includes bullying through email, instant messaging, in a chat room, on a website, or through digital messages or images sent to a cell phone. In an article by Mishna, McLuckie, and Saini state, “the rapid increase in use of the internet and other forms of technology such as instant messaging, e-mail, social networking sites, and webcams has enabled children and youths to engage in a vast array of experiences beyond the confines of their homes, schools, and local communities (p. 107). Mishna, etc. continue to state although the Internet is neutral and positive, the accessibility of the Internet puts children in heightened risk of victimization. Parents are unaware of what their children are doing on their computers. Although there are parental control applications, many parents do not take advantage in using them. Because of the lack of monitoring by parents, children are becoming victims of bullying or are doing the actual bullying. This may be because of lack of affection parents give their children. In an article by Dilmac and Aydogan “every four children is a cyber victim and children who are cyber bullied, in particular, experience various negative consequences such as anger and distress” (p. 185).
With children who are cyber bullied, there behavior can change. Dilmac and Aydogan states, “cyber bullied students feel disappointed, nervous and upset and thus their relationships at school, in the family and with friends are negatively influenced” (p. 185). This is true for children with low self-esteem who have very little friends. Parents need to be available for any issues that rise with their child. Wang, etc. state that positive parental practices, such as parental warmth or support, could protect adolescents from involvement in both bullying perpetration and victimization.
Effects on Family Of course, the primary person affected is the person being bullied. They do not deserve this type of treatment and it affects them as they often become fearful and introverted. It affects their performance at work, at school if they are students and their family relationships because they are under increased social pressure. In turn, this affects their loved ones, such as family, relatives, and friends. It also affects their work on the job, school work, and the like. Therefore cyberbullying has wide ranging negative effects on a host of people.
In most cases the parents of a cyber bullied child will not know about it until told by the child or a teacher or someone else involved, this is because the child in question is most likely more technologically able than their parents and either can hide the cyber bullying from shame, with the intent to carry on 'normally' as if nothing is happening or has their own personal interface from which they're being bullied, which is not monitored by the parents.
No matter how much pain it causes, kids are often reluctant to tell parents or teachers about cyberbullying because they fear that doing so may result in losing their computer or cell phone privileges. While parents should always monitor a child's use of technology, it's important not to threaten to withdraw access or otherwise punish a child who's been the victim of cyberbullying.
Effects of Cyberbullying on the Victim Cyber bullying is a very serious matter. Students have taken their own lives because they felt pressured, embarrassed and felt they had no other alternatives. With so many technology devices available and the cyber world virtually unsupervised, there is a lot of room to someone to act maliciously. Victims of cyber bullying are literally humiliated in a worldwide venue which can occur 24 hours a day. 39% of social network users have been cyberbullied in some way, compared with 22% of online teens who do not use social networks. (Lenhart, 2007)When bullied in this fashion, whether text or image, it is virtually impossible to get everything removed from cyber space. "The bully [is] spreading information on the Internet for anyone to see and that can affect someone's social life, especially how other kids at school view them. It can also affect the person academically because their lack of confidence will prevent them from contributing and asking questions in class," Louis Cobb, 2007. It has been reported that approximately 61% or more of the teenagers have a social network site and much of the cyber bulling occurs totally off-campus as sites such as MySpace.com, Xanga.com, or Facebook.com; and with no adult supervision or control. It is at sites such as these where hate messages appear, private emails are forwarded, embarrassing photos captured with cell phones are posted, and embarrassing polls are established. Cyberbullying proved to vary by gender as well. Based on a 2010 study involving a random sample of 2,212 teen males and 2,162 teen females, the male to female ratio varied the most in the following three areas: victimization within a person’s lifetime (16.6% for males vs. 25.1% for females), admitted to a cyberbullying offense within a person’s lifetime (17.5% for males vs. 21.3% for females), and had a hurtful comment posted about oneself online (10.5% for males vs. 18.2% for females) (Hinduja & Patchin).
Research consistently identifies the consequences of bullying for the emotional health of children and young people. Victims experience lack of acceptance in their peer groups, which results in loneliness and social isolation. The young person’s consequent social withdrawal is likely to lead to low self-esteem and depression. Cyberbullying can extend into the target’s life at all times of the day and night and there is evidence for additional risks to the targets of cyberbullying, including damage to self-esteem, academic achievement and emotional well-being. As found in studies of face-to-face bullying, cyber victims report feeling unsafe and isolated, both at school and at home. Similarly, cyberbullies report a range of social and emotional difficulties, including feeling unsafe at school, perceptions of being unsupported by school staff and a high incidence of headaches. Like traditional bullies, they too are engaged in a range of other antisocial behaviors, conduct disorders, and alcohol and drug misuse, or even suicide
Effects on School According to the 2011 survey results from the Center for Disease Control (CDC): “More than 15,000 students did not go to school because they felt unsafe. Almost 15,000 students carried weapons to school. Over 7% were threatened or injured with weapons on school grounds. At least 20% reported being bullied on school grounds. Over 16% were victims of some type of cyberbullying.
With statistics like these, and the numbers rising, the results are impacting many students’ education. Children who are bullied or cyberbullied often suffer from symptoms such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, and unhappiness. They may have trouble sleeping, focusing, or making decisions. Their self-esteem may seem low, or they may isolate themselves. All of these factors are not just impacting their home life. In school, they may drop out of extracurricular activities, they may not speak up in class, they may not ask questions due to fear, and they may even isolate themselves at school, which can cause the issue to worsen. Their performance in school also may drop, with many showing a decrease in grades. They may even resist going to school, either by staying home, or leaving school grounds after arrival. Many don't know how to deal with the issue.
Conclusion
In conclusion although the internet and mobile phones communication systems make our lives easier and play a very important role in our activities, it is unfortunate that they have been poisoned and destroyed by being used to abuse others. Cyberbullying has become a bigger situation then what it needs to be. This means victims have been feeling less safe at home, because it can happen at home. But it also takes parents being aware of their children's electronic activity so that they can help their child, and in some cases even prevent the problem by limiting their electronic access. Being aware of a child's activities can include parent's joining the social media sites, playing online games with their children, and being involved in their child's cyber lives. This involvement and monitoring of a child's activity can alert a parent to issues or warning signs of a problem involving their child. With the effort of all involved in our children's lives, we can help our children grow and learn in an environment free from bullying and cyberbullying, both at home and in school. What will always be needed to overcome such a situation is the support of adults towards children and young people that have fallen victims to the dark pits of the internet. Parents especially must not forget that. Since bullying through internet and mobile phones cannot really be stopped then the next best way to deal with it, is to make children immune to it. Children should be taught to avoid it and go on with their lives. They should be taught how to prevent bullies from using them as victims. Parents should help them build a strong personality.
References
Apha.confex.com, (2015). Retrieved 4 November 2015, from https://apha.confex.com/apha/138am/webprogram/Paper224927.html
Feldman Hertz, M.S., M., & David-Ferdon, Ph.D., C. (2015). Electronic Media and Youth Violence: A CDC Issue Brief for Educators and Caregivers (1st Ed.). Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control; 2008. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/ea-brief-a.pdf
Gilkerson, L. (2012). Bullying Statistics: Fast Facts About Cyberbullying. Covenant Eyes. Retrieved 4 November 2015, from http://www.covenanteyes.com/2012/01/17/bullying-statistics-fast-facts-about-cyberbullying/
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. (2009). Bullying beyond the schoolyard. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press.
Lenhart, A. (2007). Cyberbullying. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. Retrieved 4 November 2015, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2007/06/27/cyberbullying/
McQuade, S., Colt, J., & Meyer, N. (2009). Cyber bullying. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers.
Ncpc.org,. (2015). What is Cyberbullying? — National Crime Prevention Council. Retrieved 28 October 2015, from http://www.ncpc.org/topics/cyberbullying/what-is-cyberbullying

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