The Detrimental Effects of Cyber Bullying Essay
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. ” This popular saying is echoed throughout playgrounds all over the United States. If only every victim of bullying could adapt to this attitude. Bullying is a frequent experience for a large number of children and adolescents. In today’s society, victims of bullying are subject to traditional forms of bullying as well as cyber bullying.Even though a higher number of adolescents are bullied in traditional ways, cyber bullying can have a more detrimental effect because victims can be attacked from anywhere at any time, bullies tend to send harsher messages since it is not face-to-face, and victims are bullied by a large audience.
Background In Clint Eastwood’s 2008 film Gran Torino, Thao, a Hmong teenage boy living in Detroit, is bullied by a variety of gangs in his neighborhood. Throughout the film, Thao experiences verbal bullying as well as physical bullying.In one scene, Thao is verbally harassed by a gang of Latinos while walking down the street.
The gang insults Thao’s masculinity by asking him if he is a boy or a girl. They continue harassing him calling him a “gook” and a “slope. ” In a later scene, Thao is physically bullied by the Hmong gang on his way home from work. Like Thao, adolescents today are continuously faced with various forms of bullying.
Traditional forms of bullying such as being hit, intimidated, and excluded, seem to be less apparent in recent years and cyber bullying has become a more prevalent issue.Cyber bullying occurs when technologies such as computers, social networking sites, and cell phones are used to harass or bully someone (University of Gothenburg, 2010). Being cyber bullied can have consequences for a victim’s mental health, developmental well-being, and academic achievement (University of British Columbia, 2012). In society today, many young students, including elementary age children, have their own Facebook pages and other similar technologies that were not available until the last decade.
These technologies have many great benefits; however, if used recklessly, these technologies can have demoralizing effects (Facebook, 2012). Warrants We can all agree that all forms of bullying can have lasting, devastating effects on self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth. Swearer (2012) states that, “From schoolyards to workplaces and now to cyberspace as well, it seems that bullies are everywhere. ” In addition, victims of bullying can be either male or female and can be of any age.
It can also be noticed not only in humans but in other animals.Notice how the “runt” of a litter of puppies is treated. Although there is no definitive age in which bullying begins, Dr.
Allan Beane, an author and nationally known speaker on bullying, says that, “Research indicates that bullying behavior can start as early as age three” (Broadwell, n. d. ). Reasons Cyberbullying victims can be attacked from anywhere at anytime. Traditionally when adolescents are bullied they can go home and separate themselves from the harassment; however, cyber bullying allows victims to be bullied even at home. As a result, adolescents no longer have a “safe-zone.
As Greg Toppo writes, “Vulnerable children have virtually no refuge from harassment. It’s a non-stop type of harassment and it creates a sense of helplessness” (Meech, 2004). The Cyber bullying Research Center conducted a series of surveys that found that about half of young people have experienced some sort of cyber bullying and 20 percent experience it regularly.
The surveys also found that cyber bullying victims are more likely to have low self esteem and to consider suicide (Cyber bullying statistics, 2009). I also surveyed 106 8th grade students from Scottsburg Middle School.I found that about 46 percent of the students had been a victim of cyber bullying in the past year. I also asked the students if they would rather have an embarrassing picture posted of them on facebook for the entire class to see or have a small group of classmates exclude them from a lunch table. A staggering 78 percent of the students said that they would rather be excluded from a lunch table. Since cyber bullies can attack their victims even while they are at home, schools have a hard time disciplining students involved with cyberbullying.In addition, because of adolescents’ lack of consideration for protecting their online identity, it can be very difficult to identify a bully. Since text messaging has become more popular, students are “sexting” or sending compromising pictures via text to one another.
Consequently, principles are afraid to check students cell phones with the fear that they will be caught up in a child pornography investigation (Hoffman, 2010). In addition, many principles who have decided to discipline bullying that occurred outside of school have faced law suits.According to Bluestein and Turner (2012), Kara Kowalski, a high school student from West Virginia, sued school officials after she was suspended for creating a web page which stated that another student had a sexually transmitted disease.
As a result of these law suits, principles are hesitant in disciplining cyberbullying cases that take place outside of school. With the lack of repercussion for bullying that occurs outside of school, many bullies are encouraged to use technology as a form of bullying because of the anonymity. They also tend to make harsher comments due to the fact that they are not face-to-face with their victim.Adolescents have access to thousands of websites and forums on the internet in which they can write anything they want, without fear of their true identity being exploited.
This is possible because many of these forums allow people to sign up under any username that they choose; which in many cases is a fake identity. In traditional bullying, the only people who are aware of the attack are those that witness it occurring. Bullies are much braver and more confident when they can make comments online since they do not have to look the person in the eyes.Since adolescents can hide behind a computer screen or a cell phone when making harsh comments, they cannot see the reaction of their victim.
This leads to a lack of empathy for the victim. It also makes it possible for a weak person to bully a stronger person which is uncommon in traditional bullying (University of Gothenburg, 2010). Since bullies cannot see how much their victim is hurting, they may assume that the victim is not hurting much or even at all and continue to make harassing comments.
In many cases, a comment posted on a social networking site or through text messaging is meant as a oke but because the comment was not made face-to-face, it is often interpreted as harsh. In fact, according to a study involving 17,000 Vancouver students in grades 8 to 12, “youth say that 95 percent of what happens online was intended as a joke and only five percent was intended to harm” (University of British Columbia, 2012). In addition, private text messages or pictures sent in confidence can be forwarded in mass messages or uploaded online. When these situations occur, young people often do not think about the consequences of their choices.Sometimes these messages are of a sexual nature or sexting, which can ultimately result in the bully becoming a registered sex offender.
Once a digital footprint is established, it can never be taken back. As a result, victims of cyber bullying constantly have to relive the attack. Children have unrestricted access to technology but do not have the maturity and responsibility to use it wisely. Not only are cyber bullies able to hide their identity behind a computer screen, they have a more detrimental effect on their victim due to the large audience they attract.For example, if I were to post a comment to my facebook account all 1006 of my friends would be able to see the comment.
They would not only be able to see it, they would be able to “like” it or make their own comments regarding what I posted. Imagine if the comment were intended to harass another student. The victim would be exposed to not only me but 1006 other people and possibly ridiculed by them as well.
Days before eighteen year old Tyler Clementi a Rutgers University freshman committed suicide, he found out firsthand what it was like to be cyber bullied in front of a large audience.Tyler posted a message to facebook the day of his death stating “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry. ” Tyler’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, secretly used a webcam to post video feed to twitter of Tyler and another man’s romantic encounter. According to investigator, Detective Gary Charydczak, Tyler checked Dharun’s twitter account 38 times before he jumped to his death (“Tyler”, 2012). Not only did Dharun watch Tyler with another man, his entire twitter following watched as well. Another victim of cyber bullying is David Knight. Someone had a website created about David that was titled “Welcome to the website that makes fun of David Knight. The person who created the website asked others to post lewd sexual comments that would ruin David’s reputation.
Unfortunately, the website was active for two months before David found out about it. David describes the attack saying: Rather than just some people, say 30 in a cafeteria, hearing them all yell insults at you, it’s up there for 6 billion people to see. Anyone with a computer can see it. And you can’t get away from it. It doesn’t go away when you come home from school.
It made me feel even more trapped. It took Yahoo a staggering seven months to remove the website (CBC 2005).In addition, recent advances in technology have allowed the speed of messages being sent to greatly increase. Harmful messages intended to hurt the reputation of a victim can be much more damaging than face-to-face arguments.
This is because instead of remaining a private matter known only by a small group, technology has allowed these harmful messages to be spread to a large audience in a very short amount of time (Meech, 2004). Harmful messages spread through the internet or cell phones can also be very difficult to remove.One example of this is the Facebook group ‘Vi som hatar Stina Johansson’ which translates to ‘those of us who hate Stina Johansson. ’ It took Stina’s parents almost an entire month to have the Facebook group removed. The reality that an audience of 6 billion viewers can see and engage in harassing behavior online has victims even more distressed. Refutation Some people believe that traditional forms of bullying are still a more prevalent and serious issue than cyber bullying. Swearer (2012) argues that high-profile cyber bullying cases are distracting from more prevalent traditional forms of bullying.
In a survey conducted by the Josephson Institute of over 40,000 U. S. high school students, 47 percent claimed they were bullied in the past year with traditional forms of bullying. On the other hand, according to the 2007 book “Cyber Bullying,” only 10 percent victims claim to be cyber bullied (Swearer, 2012). I agree that a higher number of adolescents are being bullied in traditional ways; however cyber bullying has more detrimental effects.
There have been a variety of court cases and suicides by adolescents as a result of cyber bullying. Harmful messages can be sent to a large number of people in a matter of minutes.Now, not only is the victim bullied by one person, they are subjugated to bullying from an entire world of internet users. The idiom “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” may sound idealistic but it is not realistic. Cyber bullying allows for a large audience and it allows for bullies to say harsh things because they are not face-to-face with their victims. In addition, victims of cyber bullying can be attacked from anywhere at any time.
Although a higher number of adolescents are being bullied in traditional ways, the effects of cyber bullying prove to be more detrimental.ReferencesBluestein, G. & Turner, D. (2012, April 26). School cyberbullying victims fight back in lawsuits.
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