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Cyberbullying and Bullying: Similarities Essay

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Updated: Mar 1st, 2022

Cyber-bullying is an act of somebody repetitively ridiculing another individual online or when an individual repeatedly harasses a person that they dislike by means of emails or text messages and social networking posts with the intent to hurt, disgrace, or isolate him/her. Online bullying refers to cyberbullying and occurs when teens employ the Internet, mobile phones, or some other electronic means to send or put up text or images with the intent of hurting or humiliating another person. The scope of cyberbullying was recently escalated due to its occurrence through the internet without actual text, for instance, humiliating videos being uploaded to YouTube.

Cyber-bullying varies in nature and can be simply repetitive sending of e-mails to somebody who does not wish to further communicate with the sender, but can be as grave as issuing threats, passing sexual comments, derogatory labels or hate speech, humiliating victims by ridiculing them on social networking sites in order to defame them. Although the use of sexual annotations and threats are some traits of cyber-bullying, it is not considered with similar weight as sexual harassment and does not always engage sexual predators. It should not be confused with the term cyber-stalking, which is used in cases where adults are involved and motives are more than just emotional harassment. (Breguet, 2007)

Cyberbullying in some aspects is an even more concerning issue than conventional bullying. The fact that the offender can maintain anonymity draws more students into bullying others whom they do not like or want to take revenge on. It requires less courage and energy to hurt some online than to do it physically. In conventional bullying which occurs mostly on school property the offender at least has the fear of being reproached by superiors and teachers. However, in cases of cyberbullying, they are emboldened as they can use temporary accounts or fake profiles to do so. Physically hurting, teasing, or making gestures to the victim is not necessary. Emotions of the victims are played with and in fact very effectively by use of electronic or online technology. Humiliation is the chief attribute relating to cyberbullying and in some cases may also be sexual in nature like pasting the victim’s face over a nude body and displaying it on public sites.

Surveys and statistics point out the gravity of the matter at hand and are even more concerning. The National Crime Prevention Council provides information stating that the problem of cyber-bullying bears its impact on nearly half of the American teen populace. In 2004, I-Safe.org surveyed 1500 4th-8th graders. The finding of this survey indicates that 42% of children have been bullied online, every fourth has been victimized on more than one occasion, and 35% of kids have been on the receiving end of threats when online with almost every fifth receiving it more than once. 58% admit being hurt online with four out of ten saying it has occurred more than once. 58% have hidden from their parents or a grown-up about something rather mean or upsetting that happened to them online. ( Shariff, 2008)

Cyberbullying is being recognized as a problem in recent times. A number of business houses and establishments are collaborating to spread awareness, security, and alternative for this growing predicament. Several intend to update and present measures to shun as well as successfully eradicate cyber-bullying and cyber-harassment. Tools are being developed to assist parents in combating malice. For instance, an organization named Vanden released a tool that has provisions for children to instantaneously inform selected adults while they are bullied or harassed online. In 2007, YouTube launched the first Anti-Bullying Channel for youth named BeatBullying that has acquired the support of icons to embark upon the problem. ( Shariff, 2008)

Intervention strategies as discussed next might help tackle the problem.

The Schooling community should play a key role to contain cyberbullying. The students, educators, non-teaching staff, parents, and school authorities should all extend their support to contemplate the problem. Schools already have an understood policy to tackle bullying in place. Thus, cyberbullying prevention methods already have a foundation to build on. A person within the schooling community, preferably a member of the management, should be nominated to oversee and coordinate all anti-bullying acts. Outside agencies, in the likes of the police, Children’s Boards, and Internet service providers should be collaborated with in order to tackle cyberbullying. Various schools should share resources and strategies amongst themselves in order to have a better understanding of the measures that need to be taken.

Various awareness programs should be initiated by the school authority and must be attended by all. In these programs points like the understanding of the problem, modernization of the policies and measures, how to make the reporting of cyberbullying more transparent, encouragement of proper use of technology, and assessment of the impact of the measures taken must be discussed. Efficiently addressing the problem of cyberbullying can only be possible by making clear to the entire schooling community that cyberbullying is not tolerable and ensuring they understand the process of identifying and taking measures against cyberbullying. (Breguet, 2007)

The youth must be taught to report cyber-bullying acts. Victims of bullying should immediately report such acts to their parents or other grown-ups. Although it is difficult to identify cyberbullies, it is not impossible. Proper authorities must be consulted and it must be made sure that they are identified. Once the person guilty of such acts has been recognized, it is imperative that sanctions that are used as measures to tackle all other forms of bullying are applied. While deciding on fitting and balanced sanctions, it is vital to reflect on the ways in which cyberbullying events differ in effect in comparison to other forms of bullying.

For instance, attempts by the bully to disguise their identity, the temperament of the posted matter, the extent of the humiliation, and the complexity in checking the spread of copies of the material must be taken into consideration. The sanctions must be applied with the intent of helping the victim to rebuild confidence and ensuring that no such acts would further occur, getting the offender to realize the severity of the damage caused and discouraging them from repeating such conducts and giving out the general message that cyberbullying is intolerable and there are effectual measures to deal with it, and thus dissuading others from acting similarly. It is essential to make certain that the perpetrator is helped to understand the cost of their actions, to provide assistance in attitude and behavior alteration, and guide them on positive use of technology. This can be conducted in similar manners as done in cases of other bullying activities, including steps like restorative justice. (Breguet, 2007)

References

Breguet, Teri; 2007; Frequently Asked Questions about Cyber bullying; The Rosen Publishing Group

Shariff, Shaheen; 2008; Cyber-bullying: Issues and Solutions for the School, the Classroom and the Home; Routledge

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