In the year 2000 a University of New Hampshire study found that one out of every 17, or six percent of kids in the United States, had been threatened or harassed online. But in March of 2006, statistics showed that 75 to 80 percent of 12 to 14 year olds had been cyber bullied (Meech). It is clear that cyber bullying is on the rise and is becoming more and more of a problem each day. Both male and females are victims of cyber bullying, but studies have shown that women are more likely to use cyber bullying over men. Todays youth and the population between 16-25 year olds have grown up with technology.
It has become a part of their everyday lives. The fact that most adolescents (83%) connect to the Internet from home indicates that online bullying can be an invasive phenomenon that can hound a person even when not at or around school (Technology). Taking technology away from someone just to protect them from cyber bullying would not help. People have relied on technology to such an extent that it would start to isolate them within their family and friends. It is not the technology that is causing problems; its the people who are using it in negative ways.
Almost 30% of the adolescent respondents reported that they had been victims of online bullying (Technology). Many people have experienced being disrespected and called names, threatened, picked on, or made fun of or having had rumors spread by others. Being ignored by another person may simply reflect obnoxious behavior that warranted the outcome rather than actual and willful aggression. Along similar lines, although some of this harassment may be characterized as minor, more than 20% reported being threatened by others.
Anger and frustration was a commonly reported emotional response to the harassment. It is very difficult to control and monitor cyber bullying. The main difference between cyber bullying and traditional bullying is the option to bully without a face-to-face conversation. The best strategy for promoting ethical behavior online may be proactive (Simmons). Many offices and schools around the country have started using sign in and out sheets that a person must sign to use a computer. That way, if there is an investigation at that particular place, they could have an idea of who is involved.
Many people become fascinated by the wrong feeling of being anonymous and they end up saying things they would never have said in person. Unfortunately, identifying someone who is cyber bullying is not as easy as identifying the traditional bully who bullies in person no matter what type of system one uses. Cyber bullying can have more of an impact on a person than with traditional bullying. Pictures, videos, cell phones, and the internet can highly increase the speed in which the bullys messages can spread to a number of people.
Messages that are used for a bully to ruin the reputation of a victim can be far more damaging than face-to-face disputes. Things like personal pictures, videos, texts, emails, and other electronic items can have a greater impact of a persons life than a punch to the face. Most of the time, the ones who are behind the screen bullying are the ones who are way too afraid to confront their victim in person. Electronic devices allow people to contact others at any time almost anywhere. The fact that most people connect to the Internet from their home is just another place where a person can be bullied.
But it is becoming clear that aspects of online communication encourage people to act aggressively, prompting them to do things they wouldnt dare to try in real life (McKenna). It is to the point where people who are cyber bullying feel that it is okay due to the fact that they are not physically hurting their victim. Traditional bullying normally ended when a person returned home with his or her family. Cyber bullying has made people feel like they are still endangered in their own home. It enters into the home and is with the students at all times. According to Greg Tappo, Vulnerable children have virtually no refuge from harassment.
Its a non-stop type of harassment and it creates a sense of helplessness (Meech). People who are participating in cyber bullying know that they are making their victims uncomfortable in their own home. It makes them feel that they are causing an even bigger threat to them. Even though the harassment involved with bullying can occur anywhere, the term bullying often represents the behavior as it occurs between people in school hallways, bathrooms, and even in the work place. Bullies can also follow their victims to other places such as malls, restaurants, or neighborhood communities to continue the harassment.
At that point, not only is it just bullying, it can become close to stalking. According to Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety, If you do something wrong, there are going to be ramifications (Cyberbullying). Many people are finding that cyber bullying is beginning to become a lot like stalking as it looks and feels like there is no way for the victim to escape. It is believed that people need to be educated on how to deal with cyber bullying just as much as learning the traditional issues of drugs, sex, alcohol, and nutrition (Meech).
There are plenty of strategies that should be applied when dealing with cyber bullying. A victim should never respond to a cyber-bully. This just provides the bully and shows them that they have actually made official contact with their victim. People should protect their personal information like email, cell phone, and online website passwords. Everyone should change their passwords to their online accounts once in a while to protect their information. A lot of people are able to ignore cases of being bullied. However, others are not able to handle the pain involved through more serious incidents or actions.
Suicidal ideation, eating disorders, and chronic illness have affected many of those who have been tortured by cyber bullying. Some people even run away from home. Depression is the main outcome of bullying and can affect a victim for a long time. In extreme cases, people have responded with extreme violence such as physical assault, homicide, and suicide. Another reason cyber bullying is so harmful is its relentlessness, says John Carr, chair of the Childrens Charities Coalition for Internet Safety in London (McKenna). Cyber bullying is a problem when it causes harm toward the victim.
People might debate that a victim of being cyber bullied by e-mail, instant messaging, or text messaging can quickly escape from the harassment by deleting the e-mail, closing the IM, and turning the phone off. Cyber bullying can permanently wreak psychological, emotional, and social disaster. It is not a stretch to say that physical harm”such as being beaten up”might even be preferred by some victims to the excruciating pain they experience from nonphysical harm because the former can heal quicker. Most people who bully online are extremely angry over something or trying to seek revenge on a person.
Sometimes seeking revenge for having been bullied themselves. Experts say it is common for online bullied to be popular students with plenty of self-esteem who are trying to strengthen their place socially. What fuels cyber bullying is status in schools ” popularity, hierarchies, work, whos cool, whos not (Billitteri). Peer pressure is also another factor placed in cyber bullying. Sometime, a person bullying another peer online is doing it to fit in or because they are pressured into it. Not because they necessarily want to.
The U. S. Supreme Court has yet to decide a case involving student Internet speech. Trying to regulate what students do or say on their home computers or in text messages sent from the local mall could wind up trampling students constitutional rights or the rights of parents to direct their childrens upbringing as they see fit, says free-speech advocates. There have been many cases where people have gone to court for cyber bullying. People found guilty of cyber bullying have faced fines, community service, and even some jail time. Cyber bullying is not a joke and it has been taken a lot more seriously these days.
With state lawmakers and lower courts now focusing more on issues of defamation and cyber bullying, it may be only a matter of time before the Supreme Court rules on those issues (Billitteri). Cyber bullying can be expected to get worse in the future. People now believe that it is much easier to take care of something online because of the fact that it is faster, easier, and takes less guts rather than bullying in person. Yes, traditional bullying has physically hurt and caused bad memories some people for a specific time, but cyber bullying can haunt a person forever and allow others to be able to see all of ones business.