24 Apr Bullying / Cyber Bullying
6 walk through steps to stop a bully.
Cyber bullying – Are you ready for 21st century?
Being a parent is hard enough, but when fast spreading digital world interferes in your everyday struggles to survive the apocalypse of adolescence – that’s when it gets really messy.
The main problem with the digital era is that it’s hard to keep up with the constant improvements of media and its emergence into our lives. Growing up within virtual society in which social norms are yet to be agreed upon, definitely hinders attempts to provide a safe space and necessary prevention for our youngsters. This is why cyber bulling is a hot topic among many experts.
Cyber bullying is performed by using digital communications in order to harm another person. There’s a whole array of emotions that are targeted with such behavior – anger, sadness, self-image, fear, insecurity, etc. It is a significant and growing problem, with reports indicating that up to 50 percent of school-aged children experience bullying via technology (Mishna, Cook, Gadall, Daciuk, & Solomon, 2010).
Cyber bullying a is significant and growing problem, with reports indicating that up to 50 percent of school-aged children experience bullying via technology.
It’s important to understand that cyber bullying often stays off the radar – our easy access to this media of communication that makes us available 24/7 and the fast exchange of information leaves a lot of space for forgetting and ‘’letting go’’ of what happened. Also, due to overall changes in understanding of privacy and socially acceptable manners of interaction, it’s extremely hard to tell ‘’right’’ from ‘’wrong’’. Believing that this sort of undesirable behavior is a normal way of communication, children and adolescences tend to ignore or minimize these problems.
According to (Kowalski et al, 2008; Willard, 2006), we can identify:
|Name of Avenue||Definition of Avenue||Explanation of Avenue|
|Flaming||Sending angry, rude or vulgar messages directed at a person or persons privately to an on-line group||Language that moves dialogue to a new level|
|Harrassment||Repeatedly sending a person an offensive message||Consistent messaging and repeating the action – harassment|
|Cyberstalking||Harassment that is highly intimidating or includes threats of harm||Harassment that is more serious in nature; this is a threat of impending harm|
|Denigration||Sending or posting harmful, untrue or cruel statements about a person to others||This is the art of putting someone down - slander|
|Masquerading||Pretending to be someone else and sending or posting material that makes that person look bad or places that person in personal danger||This is a person who poses as someone else to retrieve sensitive or private information - fraud|
|Outing & Trickery||Sending or posting material about a person that contains sensitive, private or embarrassing information, including forwarding private messages or images; engaging in tricks to solicit embarrassing information that is then made public||This person is pretending to be a friend. It includes collecting private information and them sharing and mocking the individual|
|Exclusion||Actions that specifically and intentionally exclude a person from an online group, such as exclusion from an instant messaging “buddies” list||Not allowing someone to be part of a group; intentionally leaving them or and not allow them to participate in electronic communication - exclusion|
Okay, but is cyber bullying real?
Unfortunately, many people share the opinion this aggravating behavior is just part of growing up and another way of teasing among children. The truth is that by accepting this attitude, we discount the seriousness of possible outcomes of this problem.
Bearing in mind that this type of harassment has the same consequences (insomnia, depression, anxiety, poor school performance, isolation etc.), as other forms of bullying, parents and schools are strongly advised to raise awareness among their children and students about this harmful phenomena. The other important reason for taking this into serious account is that whatever happens online, stays online. This means that in cyber reality, which doesn’t have space boundaries – our children can be constantly exposed to these pressures without us knowing. This can lead to instant manner of interacting that can insidiously and slowly affect person’s self-image and complicate forming bonds with peers and friends. Cyber bullies don’t have to look their victims into the eyes or to articulate offends and comments, which allows them to be creative, omnipresent and with no insight of how their behavior affects the person on the other side of the screen.
Due to above mentioned obstacles in following of the vast spreading of this new age phenomena, parents and teacher should encourage their kids to share their experiences, recognize the problem, and understand when to draw a line and say that’s enough. Bearing in mind that this form of bullying is nowadays considered to be socially accepted, providing a secure base and understanding your kids feelings that are usually be mocked or ridiculed, is a first step to prevention of digital violence.
Schools are advised to raise awareness of these problems, boost empathy among their students and educate them about online safety.
Here’s an example how Finland approached bullying:
The Bullying/ Cyber Bullying infographic is composed of four major Australian Studies. It is important we act on Australian Studies, as other countries ‘research’ and ‘best practices’ has been proven not to work in Australia in many cases.
1. Bullying research “Reach out Australia” 2017
2. Kids helpline 2017; Cyberbullying experience, impacts and copying strategies.
3. “Interactive Games & Entertainment Association 2015” (Austrianal Survey)
4. on youth exposure to, management of, cyberbullying in Australia 2014. UNSW.