Not sure if any of you saw the BBC program about Cyber Bullying last week, but it was really shocking as I was unaware of how dangerous bullying online really is!! This program inspired me to research into cyber bullying to find out how common it is and if enough research has been carried out in order to help prevent it.
So what is cyber bullying? Cyber bullying is when (mainly children/teens) use technology in order to purposely harm and offend someone else. *Online research was carried out on middle –school students to find out what the most popular methods of cyber bullying are, these include: ‘hacking’ into the victims social networking site and using their profile to spread rumours, upload nasty images and reading & posting their private conversations. Cyber bullies also edit and upload photos in order to humiliate the victim. Another method is to create spiteful online polls about the victim.
In 2008, The National Crime Prevention Centre revealed that over 40% of teenagers who use the internet have experienced cyber bullying, and that girls are more likely to be targeted rather than boys. However, you could suggest that this may be due to the fact that boys are more embarrassed to admit that they have experienced bullying. The National Crime Prevention Center also found that only 15% of parents are aware of the social networking sites that their children are using, and that only 10% of the bully victims told their parents about the online bullying!! If parents were more aware of these sites then hopefully this statistics would increase and the amount of bullying would decrease! The U.C.L.A surveyed 1,454 teens between the ages of 12 and 17** in order to find out why they were not informing their parents about the cyber bullying. They found that half of the victims felt as though they should just accept they were being bullied and that they “need to learn to deal with it.” Almost 1/3 of the cyber victims were afraid that if their parents were aware of the bullying they would be banned from using the internet. Others felt that they may have gotten into trouble with their parents for using the social networking sites in the first place (as there are age restrictions for the sites).
Interestingly, when asked, 53% of 9-13 year olds* admitted to saying mean and hurtful things to others online. This is quite shocking to think that over half of the children asked have admitted to cyber bullying, it could be considered that this figure should actually be more but children may not want to admit to participating in the act. Lohmann (2010)*** suggests that teenagers may be cyber bullying because it is an easy form of bullying. As there is no face-to-face interaction the bully can easily throw out insults online rather than in person (hope this is bringing back lovely memories of deindividuation and what not from our Social lectures!). However, it could also be suggested that bullying occurs more when not face-to-face because the bully cannot actually see how much harm they are creating to the victim online, so it could even be unintentional! Lohmann also believes cyber bullying may occur because teenagers irrationally act and spread rumours through the use of multiple texts. In ‘real life’ it would take longer for a rumour to spread as the bully would have to go to each person individually in order to pass the rumour on, and by that time they may have actually gathered their thoughts and stopped the rumour. But with a text, once the message is sent, the damage is already done.
Lohmann has also given teenagers advice on how to prevent cyber bullying! To name a few: do not give out your username and password to social networking sites, do not respond to texts/online messages when you are feeling angry and TELL AN ADULT!! (if you want to read them all please look at the link with *** next to it in the references). Not only does Lohmann advise children on how to prevent bullying, she also offers advice to teachers and parents on how to help the situation.
In conclusion, bullying unfortunately happens amongst children and the statistics show that it must be difficult for teens now that the bullying can even continue outside the classroom due to technology. However, due to research investigating into the issue, researchers have found out why the bullying is happening and have managed to create a list of ways to help preventing it!
HAPPY EASTER AND ALL!!!
This is my final blog of the year so I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading 😀 hehe xx