Not for all people, school years have been unclouded and careless. Some had to deal with bullies that took away breakfasts and pocket money. Children meet violence at first, and they do not know how to confront the offenders. They are facing the dilemma of how to react, whether they have to fight a superior force of the enemy or to complain to teachers and parents, undermining their reputation. Experience shows that adults have little understanding of how to behave in such situations. Bullying of children is a difficult problem, which is surrounded by false attitudes and misconceptions.
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Bullying. Cyberbullying. Comparison of the phenomena
The so-called bullying is representing baiting in all sorts of groups, from kindergarten and up to adults, became widely discussed lately. While most of the discussions concern of bullying among children, which sometimes leads to suicide, the practice is getting widespread among their mothers and fathers (Nunn, 2010). However, as experts suggest, those children who were the initiators of bullying continue to demonstrate their aggressiveness being adults; often, they connect their life with a crime. Some victims of bullying experienced the bitterness of offense preserve a desire for revenge for many years (Vivolo-Kantor, Martell, Holland & Westby, 2014).
In almost all countries, bullying is more common among boys than girls. National minorities are also often subjected to bullying and cyberbullying. Emotions are not the main reason for mischief, rudeness, and a special form of relationship. Previously, such a relationship was explained mainly by emotions, as an attempt to vent the aggression on somebody. Like any complex phenomenon, bullying has no definitive explanation, no universal way to overcome and prevent it.
Some scientists are mostly studying personal characteristics of bullies and their victims, others investigate the social and psychological processes of bullying and victimization; some scholars pay attention to the micro-social laws of the relevant groups and communities. Bullying is mainly resulting from socio-economic factors, such as social and ethnic inequalities. The boys from poor and disadvantaged families vent their frustration on the more affluent peers, making them feel fear and, at the same time, a sense of inferiority compared to a strong, courageous, and unmanaged representatives of the lower classes (Majcherová, Hajduová & Andrejkovič, 2014).
Prevention is aimed at creating conditions to avert bullying, literate uncoupling of a teenager with stress effects. Specific forms and methods of bullying are constantly changing. The latest form of this phenomenon is the so-called cyberbullying. According to recent research, one of four children between the ages of 12 and 17 encountered this phenomenon in this or that form. It is a type of communication on the Internet, which aims initially to insult, humiliate, or discredit.
As a rule, parents do not know that the child has difficulty in communication on the network. Only one child out of ten informed the adults on existing problems on the Internet. Two-thirds of children and adolescents recognize that cyberbullying is a serious issue. Cyberbullying can take many forms, and they have to be identified and distinguished. There are at least ten different forms of online harassment, each of which requires a special approach.
The term of cyberbullying is used to define improper behavior, harassment, or any other negative influences, verbal and nonverbal, using images, symbols, and other things, which are intended to intimidate, cause moral pain, ruffle another person by means of the Internet or other technologies, such as mobile phones. Cyberbullying involves a whole range of behavioral models.
US researchers have identified eight main types of bullying:
- Skirmish or flaming is an exchange of short emotional cues between two or more people, usually takes place in public or in the network. Sometimes it turns into a protracted conflict. At first sight, flaming is the struggle between equals, but under certain conditions, it can turn into an unequal psychological terror. The unexpected attack can cause the victim’s severe emotional distress (Salmivalli, 2010).
- Persistent debilitating attacks (harassment) include repeated abusive messages sent to the victim with an overload of personal communication channels. There are also chat rooms, forums, and online games. This technology is most often used by the so-called “griefers,” a group of players, with the aim of not winning, but the destruction of the gaming experience of other participants.
- Defamation (denigration) is the dissemination of false information. Text messages, photos, songs, which are often sexual in nature.
- Imposture, the reincarnation of a certain person (impersonation) when the pursuer is positioning himself as a victim, using its password to access the account in social networks, blogs, email, instant messaging, or create an account with someone’s nickname.
- Sell, extortion of confidential information and its dissemination (outing & trickery) is about getting personal information and publishing it on the Internet.
- Alienation (ostracism, isolation). Every person has a desire to become a part of a group. And the more people are excluded from the interaction, the worse they feel. The negative virtual environment can lead to the complete destruction of a child’s emotional state. Cyber-stigmatization is also reflected in the absence of a response to instant messaging or e-mails (Salmivalli, 2010).
- Cyber-pursuit is a secret chase of the victim aimed at the organization of attacks, beatings, rape, etc.
- Happy Slapping includes the cases when teens beat passers-by while others record it on a mobile phone camera.
The main differences between these two notions are that cyberbullying is more anonymous, and it gives the opportunity for bullies to get a victim everywhere. However, in comparison to cyberbullying, usual bullying exposes children to the threat of physical violence (Dooley, Pyżalski & Cross, 2009).
- Aim: To discuss the issues of bullying and cyberbullying and find the most appropriate ways of overcoming them.
- Learning objectives of the lesson:
- to inform the pupils about the types and outcomes of the bullying;
- to discuss the cyberbullying issue and its connection with modern technical progress;
- to acquaint students with the experience of bullying and cyberbullying among their peers;
- to discuss the methods of avoiding bullying and cyberbullying;
- to teach children how to act in case of bullying or cyberbullying.
- Lesson type: Discussion.
- “End Cyberbullying 2015 | Official (ETCB) End to Cyber Bullying Organization” video;
- Internet access to http://www.endcyberbullying.org
- Techniques: brainstorming, critical thinking, the exchange of opinions, group discussion.
- Time: 60 minutes.
- Grade Level: Middle School, High School.
- Costs and funding for the lesson: the expenses on visual materials of the lesson.
- Key Words: bullying, cyberbullying, stigmatization, discrimination.
Part 1: The essentials of bullying. Experience and examples. Discussion
- After watching the video “End Cyberbullying 2015”, students are to discuss it in the small group focusing on the significance of the problem presented. After short group brainstorming, the representatives of each group introduce their ideas about possible causes of bullying and cyberbullying and presuppose various outcomes of school bullying. Then, the teacher asks the following questions:
- How do you feel hearing about the cases of bullying among peers?
- How do you think are there any methods of avoiding bullying at school?
- Is it better to inform adults about bullying at school or to keep it secret?- What do you think about people involved in cyberbullying?
- Ask students to tell about the examples of bullying and cyberbullying they were facing and explaining their position on these cases. Ask them to write on the paper their thoughts about the reasons for the popularity of cyberbullying among adolescents.
- Discussion of possible strategies for overcoming the issue of bullying and cyberbullying. After visiting the site http://www.endcyberbullying.org, the teacher explains to students the outcomes of keeping in secret the experience of cyberbullying. Students learn the functions and options of the suggested site in order to know how to receive help in the case of need. After that, the teacher gives the following tasks:
- Suggest the reasons for bullying and cyberbullying at school;
- Try to presuppose possible consequences of cyberbullying;
- Suggest the soundest ways out the situation of cyberbullying;- Discuss the positive behavioral models of the victim.
- Divide students into groups and ask to write all possible strategies for overcoming the issue of bullying for one group and cyberbullying for another group. Then, students present the information they prepared and discuss the relevance of this problem
- Teacher summarizes the results of the lesson and pays attention to its positive gains. After that, he or she discusses the results of the discussion and the accomplishment of its objectives.
Bullying and cyberbullying among peers are relevant issues related to teachers, students, and their parents. All the parties of the educational process should combine forces for the solution to this challenge. Children should be well-informed on the methods and sources for overcoming this problem in order to avoid serious psychological trauma or even prevent the tragedy.
Dooley, J., Pyżalski, J., & Cross, D. (2009). Cyberbullying Versus Face-to-Face Bullying. Zeitschrift Für Psychologie / Journal Of Psychology, 217(4), 182-188. Web.
Majcherová, K., Hajduová, Z., & Andrejkovič, M. (2014). The Role of the School in Handling the Problem of Bullying. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 19(5), 463-465. Web.
Nunn, K. (2010). Bullying. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 46(4), 140-141. Web.
Salmivalli, C. (2010). Bullying and the Peer Group: A Review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 15(2), 112-120. Web.
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Vivolo-Kantor, A., Martell, B., Holland, K., & Westby, R. (2014). A Systematic Review and Content Analysis of Bullying and Cyberbullying Measurement Strategies. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 19(4), 423-434. Web.