Tuesday, April 26, 2011

CyberBULLYING

Bullying is something we are all familiar with.  It's easy to recall witnessing an act of bullying, as I can think of countless examples I witnessed throughout my Middle and Highschool days.  Whether or not you played the part of the victim or the attacker, it's played a role in each of our lives.  Most cases used to consist of physical bullying, or verbal/emotional bullying, but what is this new concept of Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying as defined as:

"The willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices."- Hinduja & Patchin

With today's generation of youth's becoming so technology oriented, bullying has moved from the physical and emotional harassment on the playground and has taken on new mediums such as Email, Text Messages, Social Networking Sites, etc. 

According to a 2011 Article by Karen Sudol

“Cyberbullying” has become the latest and most pervasive method of meanness in the already tough world of teens. Cellphones, computers, social-networking sites — all can be used to great effectiveness by those intent on harassing, threatening or humiliating their peers.

The impact of Cyberbullying is much more intense today, as victims cannot escape the harrassment because it follows them from school, to their home, and anywhere they go. 

The graph at right shows how Cyberbullying
 victims felt after exposed to online Bullying.



Social Networking Sites and Cell Phone text messages account for the most vicious examples of Cyberbullying, because of their ease to spread a message to such a large audience in a short ammount of time. 
Just as with traditional bullying, teens are targeted online for many reasons: sexual orientation, weight, attractiveness, intelligence, even hobbies. (Sudol, 2008).

Steven Goldstein tells us why Cyberbullying is much more devastating that face-to-face bullying with his explanation: “When I was bullied as a kid, my bullies would have to look at me in person and see the tears in my eyes, which is not an easy thing to do,” Goldstein said. “It’s easy emotionally [now] because you don’t have to deal with the emotions of a person being bullied face to face.”

Cyberbullying has led to several deaths amongst youths in the past decade, including the death of Ryan Halligan, a 13 year old boy who was relentlessly bullied in school and also online.  Below is an emotional interview from Frontline of Ryan's father.
In order to prevent Cyberbullying from continuing, people need to be informed just how serious an issue this is.  After the death of Ryan Halligan, his father went on the speak at over 100 schools, where he told his story and asked students to be more aware are respectful with what they are doing.  Parents need to talk with their kids, and students need to find the courage to stand up for each other when they witness Cyberbullying, rather than sitting back and letting it pass.  If this is done, it may be possible to prevent future stories like that of Ryan Halligan from occuring.

1 comment:

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