Cyberbullying Younger generations cannot remember a time before technology. Technology is an every day necessity for both teens and adults that allow us to communicate with new and old friends. We can do this through social networking sites, sending quick texts saying we are “on the way’, an email, and much more. Technology has given us the opportunity to connect with people all over the world. Although technology can be seen as a beautiful thing that is beneficial to our generation, it also has a dark-side, cyberbullying.
Belsey (2004) stated that “cyberbullying involves the use of information nd communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and pager text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal Web sites, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others. ” Cyberbullying can also be described as “fghting words without the fists. ” As technology has evolved, bullying has increased into something much larger.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project on cyberbullying conducted a survey in 2006, which concluded that one out of hree teens have experienced online harassment (Lenhart, 2007). Cyberbullying in its various forms has become an increasingly important problem across our country, and is affecting our society physically and emotionally. Cyberbullying is the newest form of bullying, emerging as children become more adept at using computers and cell phones for communication and socialization, but the topics of abuse are the same (Anderson & Sturm, 2007).
There are a few main differences between cyberbullying and bullying, one being anonymity. Technology allows social networking posts, emails, videos and photographs to be distributed nstantly to a worldwide audience with the bully remaining anonymous. Anonymity of the bully causes the victims to have a much higher level of absence from their school or workplace because they have no idea who or where their bully may be. Another difference between cyberbullying and bullying is accessibility.
Accessibility can be highly traumatic for the victim because technology now allows the bully to reach beyond the classroom and contact their target at anytime. Frisen (2010) states that at least with conventional bullying the victim is left alone on evening and weekends and hat victims of internet bullying??”or cyberbullying have no refuge. Many victims of cyberbullying are bullied from the time they wake up in the morning and check their phone, emails, and social media sites to the time they go to bed at night and shut off their technology.
Cyberbullying is conducted in many different forms. According to Willard (2007) these forms include: flaming; online fghts using electronic messages with angry and vulgar language, harassment; repeatedly sending mean and insulting messages, denigration; “dissing” someone online, impersonation; pretending to be someone lse online, outing; sharing embarrassing information or images of someone online, trickery; talking someone into sharing embarrassing information and then sharing it cyberstalking; harassment that includes threats and creates fear.
Such forms usually take place on social networking sites, which have become one of the larger online forums that provide grounds for cyberbullying. On social networking sites such as, Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace one can post intimidating or hateful things or upload unflattering photos or videos of their target. Young people re twice more likely to suffer cyberbullying on Facebook than any other social networking site (Ellis 2013). Facebook states that it will beef up efforts to curb bullying as police, parents, and educators sound greater alarm over the unmonitored and sometimes dangerous interactions.
The company plans to make it easier for teens to contact to an adult on the site when they are feeling bullied (Kang, 2013). More online sites have started to take actions and set regulations because of cyberbullying. Another main form of cyberbullying online is Anonymous blogging, also known as bash board. ” “Bash boards” are sites in which whomever can write whatever they want while staying anonymous. On these “bash boards,” a person can write untrue, taunting statements about others for the world to see. Recent popular anonymous blogging sites have been College ACB (Anonymous Confession Board) and Juicy Campus.
These are websites that allowed students from over 500 colleges in the United States to post anonymous discussions, rants, and rumors about people. Certain forums included harsh topics ranging from “Ugliest Girls on Campus” to “Worst Hookup. These sites even included certain topic headings that were simply a person’s name under which people could post insulting comments. These blogging sites are illustrative of the most dramatic forms of cyberbullying thus far (Donegan, 2012). These forums or social network posts may bring on depression, low self-esteem, health problems, and stress for the victim.
One of the more severe repercussions that victims of cyberbullying may turn to is violence or suicide, or as Marr and Field (2001) referred to suicide brought on by bullying as “bullycide. ” A particular victim of yberbullying that lead to “bullycide” is Rebecca Sedwick, a 12 year-old girl from Florida who suffered terrible cyberbullying over the course of almost two years by two girls. Rebecca’s mother notified the school and transferred her daughter to a new school. She also took away Rebecca’s cell phone and deactivated her Facebook account.
The harassment continued through cell phone message applications, Ask. fm and Kik, which her mother was not aware that she was using. The bullies sent Rebecca messages such as “drink bleach and die” and “wait a minute, why are you still alive? (Alvarez, 2013). Rebecca Sedwick, a seventh grader, Jumped to her death from an abandoned cement factory. The two girls who cyberbullied Sedwick are facing third-degree felony charges. The police involvement was spurred by a comment on Facebook by one of the two bullies stating, mies I know??”I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself. Rebecca Sedwick is only one of many that have endured the negative effects of cyberbullying. The Cyberbullying Research Center concluded that about half of young people have experienced some form of cyberbullying, and 10 to 20 percent xperience it regularly. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project survey on cyberbullying, girls were more likely than boys to have experienced some (Lenhart, 2007). Traditionally boys seem to bully more publicly while girls would rather bully behind technology.
Girls are much more comfortable bullying behind technology because they do not have to be face-to-face with their victim. Incidents of cyberbullying continue to rise each year bringing controversial arguments to the public. One of the main controversial arguments being made about cyberbullying is hether it is a crime which should be punished or is it freedom of speech according to the first amendment. The Constitution of the United States was created with the intentions of allowing individuals to express ideas and opinions freely without being in fear of imprisonment or death.
But recent cyberbullying laws being put into place fall under the recognized first amendment exceptions which are a person is not protected if they threaten a person or group, disrupt a person or group’s peace, or affect one’s educational experience. In the U. S. Supreme court case: Kowalski vs. Berkeley County School District in West Virginia, Kara Kowalski was disciplined by her school officials for creating a Myspace page to bully a student at her school. She invited others to comment on the page and help bully the student.
Kowalski sued the school district for denying her freedom of speech, but the Fourth Circuit court upheld the school official’s decision to discipline Kowalski. (Kowalski, 2011) With such cases as Kowalski’s turning up every day in our courts, states have enacted “cyberstalking” or “cyberharassment” laws that explicitly include electronic forms of ommunication within more traditional stalking or harassment laws. Forty-eight states now have bullying laws in place, with 30 of those states including some mention of electronic forms of harassment.
Wisconsin now has a bullying law that includes separate statutes regulating telephones and other forms of electronic communication. The statutes indicate that it is a misdemeanor crime to threaten to “inflict injury or personal harm” through the use of e-mail or another computerized communication system or harass, annoy, or otherwise offend another person lectronically. (Patchin, 2010) Another example is the state of North Carolina which has passed an act by making cyberbullying a criminal offense punishable as a misdemeanor for youths under the age of 18.
The states of Missouri and California have put in place the strictest cyberbullying laws that will protect victims and severely punish the cyberbully. States are not the only ones that can help in the fight against cyberbullying. The safety of students in school has become an issue that needs action from our schools and communities. School bullying and arassment policies are being implemented across the United States to provide students protection from cyberbullying.
It is important that school districts start taking action by increasing computer network security on all computers and monitor the students and faculty who are using the network at that time. By monitoring and tracking who is using the network at that time it takes away the anonymity that technology can provide for the bully and therefore could decrease cyberbullying. Overall, it is important for everyone in the school district and community to support a ulture in which everyone is held accountable for their actions and a sense of shared responsibility (Fryer, 2006).
In conclusion, making people more aware of cyberbullying and how we can help those that fall victim to these bullies is a very prevalent issue across the country. person’s freedom of speech or if they cross the line of how the first amendment was intended. It is important that younger generations are educated on what cyberbullying is and the effects that can come from it. The permanent mental effects are what both the law and prevention programs are striving to eliminate.
The fact that these initial emotional responses to bullying in any form have been proven to escalate to the point of suicidal thoughts and violent response is the primary reason for why this issue has become a matter of pressing public concern (Donegan, 2012). Technology is here to stay therefore cyberbullying will continue to be a threat to todays youth. Bringing cyberbullying to the forefront as a leading issue in todays technological society and raising awareness of how it affects the ones around us may help us come one step closer to a kinder social networking community.