What are the Causes of Cyber Bullying?

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David Molak was a high school sophomore in Texas. He was an Eagle Scout, Spurs fan, and devoted to fitness. In January 2016, he hung himself in his family’s backyard. Before the suicide, David had received a series of texts from at least six to ten bullies. The messages insulted him and put him down. He had not done anything to attract this attention, his brother, Cliff, reported. His brother, Cliff, said, They crushed his spirit and took away his motivation to do anything (Real Life Stories).

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It was observed that David had been the victim of cyberbullying for a very long time. His suicide was a cry for help that came too late.Bullying comes in all forms including: physical violence, verbal abuse, and written abuse. Cyberbullying is one of the newest forms to arise since the Internet, cell phones, and social media have become so accessible and popular among young people. As new ways to communicate with family members, friends, and people not just from our own communities but from all around the world, have become more available and easy to use, it has left the door open for another form of bullying to rear its ugly head, Cyberbullying. Do you remember the old saying, Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me? Bullies and mean girls have been around forever, but technology now gives them a whole new platform for their actions. The old sticks and stones saying is no longer true – both real-world and online name calling can have serious emotional consequences for our kids and teens (Cyberbullying). Well, guess what, words do hurt, no matter whether they are verbalized or seen on a printed page or screen. I know all too well that words can hurt, as I’ve been the recipient of name calling in the past.

It hurts. Cyberbullying is Bullying. Hiding behind a pretty screen, doesn’t make it less hateful, written words have power. Isn’t the point of the source to show its origin ?~Anon (Wise Old Sayings). Let’s take a look at the extent and proof that cyberbullying is becoming a bigger problem, the causes and effects of cyberbullying, as well as what we can do about cyberbullying, and what’s being done about it. With the rise of cyberbullying and stories of students ending their lives because of cyberbullying, PHS (Paoli High School) students should be educated in what constitutes cyberbullying, and what they can do to help discourage cyberbullying of students both in and out of school.ExtentWhat is cyberbullying? One definition of cyberbullying states, Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person (Cyberbullying). Cyberbullying is the term that is used when both the bully and victim are under the age of 18. However, the term cyberstalking is used when both of the people involved are adults. Yes, not surprisingly, adults can be victims of cyberbullies, too. Cyberbullying happens for many of the same reasons as any other type of bullying, but it may be even more appealing because it can be done anonymously (What are the causes of cyberbullying?). Cyberbullying can happen for any of the same reasons as regular bullying.

Cyberbullying may become an even greater issue to our society as more and more people connect and interact via the ever changing technology platforms and devices. Binus Education has this to say about cyberbullying: Cyber bullying is a great danger to the society. It causes harm to people and results negatively for, both, the bully and the victim. It is said that cyberbullying is a serious worldwide issue and that it needs to be resolved. If they cannot do cyber bullying anonymously, they will go as far as they will to face claim other people only to do cyberbullying (What Are the Causes of Cyber Bullying?).According to statistics from the I-safe Foundation, at least 1 in 3 students have experienced or received online cyberthreats. Over 25% of teens and adolescents have been bullied through the Internet or their cell phones, and a whopping 50% of kids don’t tell their parents when they have been cyberbullied (Cyberbullying Statistics). Other alarming statistics mentioned in a Hartford County Examiner report tells us that: only 1 in 10 students tells a parent that they have been cyberbullied, less than 1 in 5 incidents are reported to law enforcement agencies, 1 in 5 teens have posted suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others by invitation or coercion, and 1in 10 teens and pre-teens have been the victims of having damaging or embarrassing photographs taken of them without their consent (Cyberbullying Statistics).

Last, but not least, the Cyberbullying Research Center has reported a number of statements about cyberbullying that really illustrate how widespread cyberbullying has become. They say that cyberbullying affects all races, victims of cyberbullying are highly more likely to develop low self esteem issues and would be more apt to consider suicide as an option to escape the problem, and girls are at least as likely as boys to be cyber bullies or victims of cyberbullies (Cyberbullying Statistics).CausesLet’s take a look at some of the causes of cyberbullying. There are two kinds of people that typically like to bully others. They are either socially active or socially inactive people. Young people may choose to bully because bullying can build confidence, make the bully feel powerful, boost their egos, entertain themselves, maintain their popularity, prove they are not weak, or they could be seeking revenge. Others may choose to become cyberbullies because they are starving for recognition, want to fit in, want attention, or are starved for recognition.Bullying, no matter whether it is traditional bullying or cyberbullying, causes significant emotional and psychological distress.

In fact, just like any other victim of bullying, cyber bullied kids experience anxiety, fear, depression, and low self-esteem. They also may deal with low self-esteem, experience physical symptoms, and struggle academically. But targets of cyberbullying also experience some unique consequences and negative feelings (How Does Cyberbullying Affect Your Child). Other causes that are harder to detect are that bullying can happen accidentally, meaning someone sends something out about someone else before they think it through or post it by accident, and once it’s posted, it’s hard to get back, or impossible to get back. It’s also hard to detect a sender’s tone when a message is sent electronically because you can’t see that person you are sending it to, therefore, one misses out on viewing the facial expressions and mannerisms that might help the communication process and keep someone from misinterpreting the message. Then another telling problem that contributes to cyberbullies continuing their attacks on others is that cyberbullying is not reported very often, so the cyberbullies don’t really suffer much in the way of consequences, so there is no stopgap to keep them from repeating the cyberbullying behaviors (Cyberbullying).EffectsThe consequences and effects of cyberbullying can be devastating and long-lasting. The effects of cyberbullying are wide ranging. First, cyberbullying can take place anywhere. A student could be cyberbullied at school, at home, on the job, and at anytime of the day or night. Technology is on 24/7 so a person could receive cyberbullying messages anytime. There is no escaping it. Technology is carried with us, if not in our pockets or purses, then it is still available via computers at home, school, Internet cafes, libraries, restaurants, and anywhere else where one can access a computer. It is our constant companion, unless we choose to put it down or ignore taking messages for a period of time. Secondly, the content of cyberbullying is not always private. The nature of cyberbullying can allow content to be viewed by parents, friends, and even people a student does not know.

Any content that a student shares creates a public record of their views, activities, and behavior. Once a post has been shared, it cannot be retrieved. It is out there for the world to see, unless the sender has blocked their account from everybody or put it in privacy mode. This public record can be thought of as an online reputation. According to Gordon and Forman, they pointed out that Because cyberbullying occurs in cyberspace, online bullying feels permanent. Kids know that once something is out there, it will always be out there. When cyberbullying occurs, the nasty posts, messages or texts can be shared with millions of people. The sheer volume of people that know about the bullying can lead to intense feelings of humiliation (How Does Cyberbullying Affect Your Child). A student’s online reputation is accessible by parents, schools, employers, colleges, clubs, and others who may be researching you now or in the future (What is Cyberbullying?). If you don’t believe me, just try doing a search of your own name on your devices and see how much stuff shows up! Next, there are many other effects that can cause problems for victims of cyberbullying. Like any other type of bullying, the effects of cyberbullying are somewhat the same (What Are the Causes of Cyberbullying?). There are common feelings that pre-teens and teenagers often experience from being cyberbullied. They experience feelings of being overwhelmed, vulnerable, powerless, exposed, humiliated, angry, vengeful, alone, isolated, anxious, depressed, and oftentimes suicidal.

Additional effects, that kids experience from being cyberbullied, include: changes in their sleep and eating patterns, a loss of interest in participating in activities, being kicked off of school teams, afraid of or embarrassed to go to school, missing, skipping, being suspended, or dropping out of school, receiving poor grades, suffering from health issues such as losing weight, not eating, or stress-related disorders, family problems, experiencing lower self-esteem, and using alcohol, drugs, or both. Here is what one teen had to say about how they felt after being cyberbullied, It makes me hurt both physically and mentally. It scares me and takes away all my confidence. It makes me feel sick and worthless (Cyberbullying: Identification, Prevention, and Response).Last, but not least, one of the most permanent effects of cyberbullying is suicide. Cyberbullying can have devastating consequences. Suicide is one. Cases of young kids committing suicide as a consequence of cyberbullying and sexting are increasingly coming to the public’s attention (Real Life Stories). Some pre-teens and teenagers choose suicide as a surefire way to escape the humiliation and embarrassment that they have experienced from being cyberbullied. Here are a few of the results where teens committed suicide. Tyler Clemente, 18, jumped from the George Washington Bridge, Jessica Logan, 18, hanged herself in her closet because a nude picture of her had been posted and circulated around her school, David Molak, 16, hung himself in his backyard. Cliff Molak, his 24-year-old brother, had this to say following his brother’s suicide: In today’s age, bullies don’t push you into lockers, they don’t tell their victims to meet them behind the school’s dumpster after class. They cower behind user names and fake profiles from miles away constantly berating and abusing good, innocent people (Real Life Stories).

Another teen, Ronan Hughes, 17, killed himself after he was blackmailed into posting pictures of himself online. The sad part about all of these consequences is that most of the time the bullies behind the cyberbullying don’t care how much they hurt someone else or the victims’ families.What’s Being DoneWith understanding that the bullies behind cyberbullying don’t care about hurting their victims, it is up to us as individuals and groups to try to slow down or eliminate cyberbullying as much as possible. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, publication, some quick and basic things that each of us can do, as students, parents, and teachers, to lower the risk of being cyberbullied, is to: Refrain from posting any personal information online, think first before you post anything, set privacy settings on your account to limit who can see your posts, do a search of your name or your kid’s names to see what is currently being seen by others, limit access to technology, block the bully once you have identified who it is, if at all possible, keep up-to-date on ways to keep yourself and others safe while accessing online technology (Cyberbullying: Identification, Prevention, and Response). Other ideas about what to do to prevent or slow down cyberbullying is a hard nut to crack. Parents and schools are somewhat at odds about whose responsibility it is to crack down on cyberbullies. First, there is the issue of trying to figure out who is doing the cyberbullying. The debate between parents and schools is an ongoing one, as is indicated by the article, How Should Schools Handle Cyberbullying? This article indicates that there are communication and blame issues between parents and school officials as can be seen in this message: Affronted by cyberspace’s escalation of adolescent viciousness, many parents are looking to schools for justice, protection, even revenge. But many educators feel unprepared or unwilling to be prosecutors and judges (How Should Schools Handle Cyberbullying?).

What can we do to eliminate or slow down the rise of cyberbullying in our homes, schools, and community? Can we protect our kids from these cyberbullies? First, we have to realize that a victim of cyberbullying did not ask to be cyberbullied. To fight against cyber bullies, we need to be sure that everyone knows that it is okay to talk about it to a trusted person. We need to be trusted people for our friends and family members. We can educate everyone so that they know how to respond when someone tries to cyberbully someone else. Other things kids and even adults need to know about fighting cyberbullies is: do not respond or try to retaliate to a cyberbully, collect and keep evidence of emails, text messages, or other posts, block the person who is cyberbullying you, report the incident to school personnel, do not bully back, and do not hurt yourself (Fund for Respect, Civility, and Understanding). Do not be discouraged. Do not let the bully win. That is what gets them to keep doing it. Also, pay attention to your friends. Listen to them. If you notice any changes in their behavior, attitudes, or the friends they hang out with, try to talk with them and make sure everything is okay. If they talk about suicide, then pay attention, as it may be a warning sign of their emotional distress. If you determine they are being bullied, you should let someone (eg.,a teacher, parent, counselor) you trust, know about the problem before it’s too late. Last but not least, we need to know when to contact the authorities, based on the level of abuse that we may have seen, or heard about from the victim. In certain events Sameer and Patchin tell us, The police should also be approached when physical threats are involved or a crime has possibly been committed (extortion, stalking, blackmail, sexual exploitation of minors, etc.) (Cyberbullying: Identification, Prevention, and Response). ConclusionCases of cyberbullying are becoming more frequent and ending with sad consequences everywhere, as kids have 24/7 access to technology communication tools. Common elements found in both cyberbullying and bullying in general include: an imbalance of power, intent to cause harm, and repetition (Fund for Civility, Respect, and Understanding).

The causes, effects, and consequences reported in this paper are staggering and are continuing to escalate at an alarming rate as more and more students are becoming technology savvy.In a report, called Kids Health, we are told that, Because many kids are reluctant to report being bullied, even to their parents, it’s impossible to know just how many are affected. But recent studies about cyberbullying rates have found that about 1 in 4 teens have been the victims of cyberbullying, and about 1 in 6 admit to having cyberbullied some. In some studies, more than half of the teens surveyed said that they’ve experienced abuse through social and digital media (Cyberbullying). Let’s take a quick look at what cyberbullying could look like here at PHS. According to the Public School Review: Paoli Junior & Senior High School website, PHS has an average enrollment of 711 students (Public School Review). Now, if PHS has 711 students, then according to the statistics mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph, 1 in 4 or 25% of 711 students or 178 of our PHS students have been victims of cyberbullying. If you divide 178 by 18 students per classroom, that means that almost 10 classrooms of students at PHS have been cyberbullied! If you have ever been a victim of bullying and/or cyberbullying, you know how it feels to have someone pick on you. Think back to how you felt during these instances. Can you identify with some of the feelings and consequences this report has mentioned: such as embarrassment, humiliation, low self-esteem, and feeling powerless to get the cyberbully to stop until they move on to someone else? If you have never cyberbullied, do you know someone that has? Chances are that you do. If so, you should be concerned about the rise of cyberbullying that is happening on a daily basis, and may even be happening to someone close to you here at PHS. Think about that for a few minutes. What would you do, if a friend or acquaintance, right now, was thinking about committing suicide because they have been cyberbullied, because they have been targeted by a cyberbully, or because they posted something they shouldn’t have online, before giving it enough thought? Would you ignore it or try to do something about it? What will you do to help keep your friends and siblings safe from cyberbullies? Would you be interested in participating in a club, Students Against Cyberbullying (SAC)? Let’s SAC cyberbullies!Word Count:

Works Cited

Binus, Education. What Are the Causes of Cyberbullying? English BINUS University, 2007, www.english.binus.ac.id/2015/06/22/what-are-the-causes-of-cyber-bullying/.Cyberbullying. Edited by Larissa Hirsch, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, June 2014, www.kidshealth.org/en/parents/cyberbullying.html.Cyber Bullying Statistics. Bullying Statistics, 7 July 2015, www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html.Cyberbullying, Stories. Real Life Stories. Real Life Stories | PureSight | Real Life Stories, 2004, www.puresight.com/Real-Life-Stories/real-life-stories.html.Department of Education, et al. What Is Cyberbullying? StopBullying.gov, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 7 Feb. 2018, www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/index.html.Fund for, Civility. Cyberbullying Effects. Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding, 2011, www.fundforcivility.org/cyberbullying-effects/.Gordon, Sherri, and Joel Forman. How Does Cyberbullying Affect Your Child?Verywell Family, 2009, www.verywellfamily.com/what-are-the-effects-of-cyberbullying-460558.Hinduja, Sameer, and Justin W. Patchin. Cyberbullying: Identification, Prevention, and Response. Cyberbullying Research Center, 2018, pp. 18.Hoffman, Jan. How Should Schools Handle Cyberbullying? The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 June 2010, www.nytimes.com/2010/06/28/style/28bully.html.Pacer Teens Against Bullying. Cyberbullying: What Is Cyberbullying. Pacer, Pacer Center, 2018, www.pacerteensagainstbullying.org/experiencing-bullying/cyber-bullying/.Paoli Junior & Senior High School. Public School Review, Public School Review, 2003-2018, www.publicschoolreview.com/paoli-junior-senior-high-school-profile. Wise Old Sayings. Bullying Sayings and Bullying Quotes | Wise Old Sayings, Wise Old Sayings, 2000-2016. www.wiseoldsayings.com/bullying-quotes/.

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What are the Causes of Cyber Bullying?. (2019, Feb 03). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/what-are-the-causes-of-cyber-bullying/