A number of businesses and organizations are in coalition to provide awareness and protection for the escalating problem. Some aim to inform and provide measures to avoid as well as effectively terminate cyber-bullying and cyber-harassment.
Cyber Bullying has become a worldwide problem because of the difficulty to track its occurrences. In some cases it has been accepted as humor, but when is it taken to far? When a child has taken his or her own life?
The boy you punched in the hall today, committed suicide a few minutes ago. The girl you pushed down the other day, is already being abused at home. The boy you called lame, has to work every night to support his family. That girl you called fat, she’s starving herself. The man you made fun of because of his scars, fought for our country. The boy you made fun of for crying, his mother is dying. “
Attitudes are not something you have when you are born; they are learned through experiences and contact with others and even through distinct instructions from parents, teachers, and other important people in a person’s life. For instance if a child grows up around their parents having a negative attitude toward gays or a certain race they likely will have that same attitude. Just like the Jamey Rodemeyer, and Ryan Halligan case, where both boys were oppressed for being gay.
I tried to relate my psychology course to this topic and I came up with a theory of why cyberbullying might occur. The theory I found was in the social psychology chapter of my textbook; social psychology directly explains why some people act in certain ways. The main area in relation to cyber-bullying is social influence; the theory that people can influence others to follow along with their own thoughts, to agree to do things even when the person might prefer to do otherwise.
This theory plays the part of the bully; the bully can easily get their friends to gang up on a victim using social influence. His or her friends may not agree with the actions, but the bully may be able to easily influence them. A person changing their behavior to match that of other people is called conformity.
This theory relates to the case of Ryan Halligan where the group of girls teased Ryan. There was one girl who led the humiliating actions toward Ryan; she most likely used social influence to get her friends to join in on the taunting. Also relating to social influence, in the Megan Meier case, the adult involved in the bullying tried to get another adult to join in on the victimization; though in this case the other adult did not conform.
Studies are consistently identifying a relationship between cyber-bullying and psychological stress. The Metro West Adolescent Health Survey is a biennial census survey of high school students in the western suburbs and small cities of the Boston metropolitan area.
The survey grouped people into one of four groups, either you are…
1. Someone who is cyber bullied and bullied in school
2. Someone who is only cyber bullied
3. Someone who is only bullied in school
4. Not bullied at all
The results demonstrated bullying victimization was consistently associated with an increased likelihood of psychological distress across all measures from depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation to reports of self-injury and suicide attempts.
Reports of depressive symptoms were highest among…
victims of both cyber and school bullying (47.0%)
followed by cyber-only victims (33.9%)
and school-only victims (26.6%)
compared with (13.6%) of non-victims
Similarly, attempted suicide was highest among victims of both cyber and school bullying (15.2%)
however, it was also elevated among cyber-only victims (9.4%)
and school-only victims (4.2%)
compared with students reporting neither form of victimization (2.0%).
Nearly nine in ten students who identify as LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) report being verbally harassed while at school. And 160,000 students miss school each day due to fears of bullying, harassment or physical violence.
GLSEN: The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network works with educators, policy makers, community leaders and students on the urgent need to address anti-LGBT behavior and bias in schools. GLSEN strives to protect students from bullying and harassment, to advance comprehensive safe schools laws and policies, to empower principals to make their schools safer, and to build the skills of educators to teach respect for all people.
Cyber-bullying victimization has shown a number of serious consequences. Consequences vary from decreased self-esteem, retaliating, and a variety of emotional responses like, being scared, frustrated, angry, or depressed. Research has also demonstrated that cyber-bullying increases suicidal ideation.
In comparison to traditional bullying, cyber-bullying has many factors that make harassment less troublesome for the bully.
Being behind a computer or cell phone makes a person virtually invisible, or even anonymous. The opportunity to be unidentified or even create a false identity is very easy, which can give that person a false sense of comfortability that they may not have if their identity was known.
Cyber-bullies cannot receive visual feedback of the pain they are inflicting, which results in a lack of empathy for the victim.
Those who create a false identity to cyber-bully may be less likely to feel personally responsible for the bullying since the identity they have created is not their own.
Those who feel more comfortable communicating online than in person tend to see cyber-bullying as a viable option, especially those who have been victims of face-to-face bullying. These people use technology and cyber-bullying as a medium for revenge.
Cyber-bullying is the use of the Internet or other related technologies to harm other people in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. In the past decade it has become more common in society, particularly among young people; legislation and awareness have arisen to combat it. The effects of cyber-bullying can be traumatizing and sometimes even fatal.