Research into Cyber Bullying

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

REFERENCES

* http://www.cyberbullyalert.com/blog/2008/08/cyber-bullying-statistics-that-may-shock-you/

** http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/03/parents-often-unaware-of-cyber-bullying/

*** http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/teen-angst/201011/taking-cyberbullying

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10 thoughts on “Research into Cyber Bullying

  1. penguinsandcheese says:

    I think this is such an important issue. It’s scary to think how such a wonderful thing like the internet can be abused in this way to strike fear into people. Thing is, people who bully online are probably too scared to do it in person as it may lead to confrontation. Bullies have always been said to be cowards, but online bullies are even worse.
    What I wonder is whether the kids (listen to me, kids…I’m getting old!) who do this realise how dangerous it actually is for themselves. If a threat is given in person (and, of course, I’m not condoning that) then there’s no proof that anything was actually said, but nasty messages sent online…there’s all the proof you’ll need in black and white. It can have serious consequences. A man last year got arrested for ‘trolling’, (http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/s/2099608_reading_troll_jailed_for_cyber_bullying), and while I realise that the consequences wouldn’t be quite as harsh for children, they’re still leaving themselves wide open.
    It just makes me wonder why it’s so wide spread, when it’s so easy to prove that it’s going on – rather than it being your word against theirs.

  2. dsm1lp says:

    Online bullying is a very interesting subject. In my last blog I was talking about a BBC program I watched a while back. Please see link -** Online bullying is a very interesting subject. In my last blog I was talking about a BBC program I watched a while back. Please see link -** http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01dwg1n

    Unfortunately, this BBC show talks about some horrendous things, which have been done online, showing the major effects of online bullying.Furthermore, **“The Anti-Social Network” – discussed Trolling, which I had never heard of until this documentary.

    The following site also gives an insight into trolling: http://communitiesonline.homestead.com/dealingwithtrolls.html. Trolls come in many forms and their main aim is to cause disruption through hurtful comments for self-fulfillment. This site suggests that inside tolls are sometimes people who are just bored or who have been picked on. However this site does inform us of ways and rules to prevent tolling and the effects.

  3. Blondie says:

    I found an interesting article which discuss the negatives AND positives of bullying in general, but also focuses on cyber bullying – I do not necessarily agree with some of his points, but they are interesting and important to consider. Firstly, Snyder et al. (2003) believes that a lack of adult supervision at a stage where children are only just beginning to navigate their relationships (1983) is a factor contributing to cuber bullying. Relationships appear to be an important factor contributing to bullying in general, and Synder et al. believe that it is actually an important part of children’s learning process. Their studies have shown that young children often learn to regulate their emotion and behaviour in response to peer conflict, which results in bullying. Some of the longitudinal effects of bullying highlight some benefits; for instance, children who responded well to aggression by being able to diminish it’s effects were better able to manage their emotional responses to harassment in the future (Synder et al. 2003). However, children who were persistently bullied and developed victim like responses to aggression (by becoming reactive, proactive aggressors or developed a hostile attribution bias) had a less developed emotional intelligence (EI). Mayer et al. (2004) define EI, ‘as the capacity to reason about emotions, and of emotions to enhance thinking. It includes the abilities to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.’ As you can see, this is important to develop as a child, and if a child is persistently bullied and consequently experiences peer rejection they are more likely to miss opportunities to develop their EI and ultimately, are unable to deflect any kind of aggression, whether that is online or offline.Therefore, ensuring that these children are taught HOW to respond appropriately to aggression without causing further peer rejection seems to be the more appropriate solution.

    References:

    Mayer, J., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. (2004). TARGET ARTICLES: “Emotional Intelligence: Theory, Findings, and Implications” Psychological Inquiry, 15 (3), 197-215 DOI: 10.1207/s15327965pli1503_02

    Snyder, J., Brooker, M., Patrick, M., Snyder, A., Schrepferman, L., & Stoolmiller, M. (2003). Observed Peer Victimization During Early Elementary School: Continuity, Growth, and Relation to Risk for Child Antisocial and Depressive Behavior Child Development, 74 (6), 1881-1898 DOI: 10.1046/j.1467-8624.2003.00644.x

  4. kiwifruit8 says:

    Great blog! Cyber bullying is unfortunately a growing trend due to all the social networking sites we have, its becoming easer to be a bully. In my opinion, cyber bullies are mainly girls (hate to admit this haha) due to the competitive nature, two words..mean girls ha. I looked into why people may start bullying and came across an interestng study. Many people have different ideas of bullying, bullying nowadays is mainly emotional so is considered to be more of a boys thing.
    The study i mentioned earlier found

    “Of all the questions asked, students gave the most spirited replies on whether a bully would be more likely to be a boy or a girl. While 86 percent agreed that boys were more likely to bully, the great majority also agreed that not only could girls be bullies but their bullying behaviour was different.”

    (Sorry the study didnt give me a direct link,
    BULLYING IN SCHOOLS: CHILDREN’S VOICES-Paula Buchanan,Red Deer School, district Alberta and Margret Winzer, The University of Lethbridge)

  5. larabarker says:

    I agree with your comment that bullying occurs more when not face-to-face. Studies conducted by the Anti-Bullying Alliance London Regional Programme (2005) showed that in the school they visited, the majority of cyber bullying occurred not just through the computer but through phone calls, text messages, picture messages, and emailing. Surprisingly students were most aware of bullying taking place through picture messaging (46%) which is not perceived as a common way to cyber-bully. Perhaps the most shocking thing found was that picture messaging and phone calls had the worst impact on the victim, compared to face-to-face bullying and cyber-bullying through the internet-this study reported that internet bullying had less impact on victims out of all forms of bullying. This case highlights the need for attention to be drawn to cyber bullying through other sources than the internet, such as phones. If bullying through phones is the most impacting form then perhaps phone companies should make it easier to block some individuals from being able to contact you, and parents should be aware of the dangers of letting their children have phones at young ages.

    http://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/pdf/Cyberbullying_research_summary.pdf

    http://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org/

  6. psud60 says:

    I really liked the topic of your blog and I found your use of statistical information fitted the blog and had a purpose in the piece. I’ve looked into Cyberbully statistics previously myself and found an area you didn’t mention was the correlation with suicide and Cyberbully especially in the states. The Cyberbullying research center has declared that 20% of surveyed students between the ages of 10 to 19 years of age had considered suicide after being Cyber bullied and astonishingly 27.7% had admitted to bullying other students online. – http://bullyinglte.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/study-ties-cyberbullying-to-suicide/
    The Cyberbullying research centers conclusion was that victims of Cyberbullying were twice more likely to attempt suicide than those that did not experience Cyberbully. This begs to ask the question should social network sites be more carefully monitored in a way that encourages the reporting and seeking out of help such as displaying Samaritans help one number like adverts on the sites or even suicide prevent help lines and website links. -A

  7. psucfa says:

    You do raise a very important issue indeed, cyber bullying seems to be open and uncontrollable especially with such groups such as “trolls” who can make someones life unbearible if they want to. It seems that many trolls intend to cause psychological harm on a massive rate for the status and the personal gratification they recieve from that action. It seems that the best way for a lot of people to deal with these trolls, and indeed other forms of bullies on the internet is to purely ignore them.

    Shin, J. (2008). Morality and Internet Behavior: A study of the Internet Troll and its relation with morality on the Internet. In K. McFerrin et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2008 (pp. 2834-2840)

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