Bullying is an unwanted and aggressive action and/or behavior that affects millions of children and teenagers that involves a real or perceived power imbalance that is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time (“What is Bullying” n. pg). Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. There are four major types of bullying: cyber bullying, verbal bullying, social bullying, and physical bullying (“The Issue of Bullying” n. pg).
Cyber bulling is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies, more specifically, mobile phones. Many cyber bullies think that bullying others online is funny, for cyber bullies may not realize the consequences of bullying someone online. Children have killed each other and committed suicide after having been involved in a cyber bullying incident (“What is Cyberbullying Exactly?” n. pg).
“Verbal bullying is saying or writing vicious things that include: teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting, or threatening to cause harm” (“What is Bullying” n. pg).
In addition, social bullying is referred to as “relational bullying”, that involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes: leaving someone out on purpose, telling other children not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors about someone, or embarrassing someone in public (“What is Bullying” n. pg). Sometimes, social bullying can lead to physical bullying.
Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes: hitting/kicking/pinching, spitting, tripping/pushing, taking or breaking someone’s things, or making mean or rude hand gestures (“What is Bullying” n. pg).1 of every 7 students from kindergarten to grade 12 has been a bully or has been bullied. 90% of victims admitted that they suffered negative side effects. Among them are: significant drop in grades, addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, increase in depression, increase in anxiety, loss of friend, and loss of social life (“Bullying Statistics” n. pg). “..Up to 43% of students have been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once” (The Issue of Bullying n. pg).
There are therefore two main reasons why bullying is significant. The first one is the prevalence of the problem…[A]t least 68% of all school age children had been bullied at least once, 38% had been bullied at least twice while 8% were affected by bullying to the extent of thinking about committing suicide, running away or being chronically ill…The second significance of bullying is in its effect. Professor Pearce, a Child Psychiatrist, states…’[B]ullying does matter as it is connected to other and later acts of violence such as vandalism, hooliganism and domestic violence. He points out that aggressive behavior in children tends to continue.’( Alfandary, n. pg).
For many decades, bullying was viewed as a relatively harmless “rite of passage” and ignored altogether. Sadly, it has taken high-profile acts of school violence and youth suicide to change the public perception of bullying behavior, and to reach an understanding of what it actually is. Children have killed each other and committed suicide after having been involved in a cyber bullying incident. Bullying can lead a child to commit suicide, commit self harm amongst him/herself, or hurt other people. “[A] study shows that bullying id prevalent, with almost 30% of the largest sample of 6th- though 10th- graders reporting that they have participated in bullying, being bullied, or both…Those formerly bullied have been found to have higher rates of depression and poor self-esteem” (Howard, Prothroe-Stith, 1). The history of bullying has drastically changed; today, modern-day bullying is viewed differently and holds a different value and importance (Bullying 2).
Bullying has been an issue for hundreds of years, but it is only since 1862 that bullying was first reported. Bullying is a critical issue that has only gotten worse over the years. Modern-day bullying compared to 18th century bullying was not as commonly seen and was not as detrimental. The way bullying has been viewed over the years has changed drastically, it started as verbal and physical bullying in schools, but today has transformed into a much more vicious thing.
In 1862 a man, John Flood was a bully victim. “Flood had been the victim of ‘long, malignant and systematic bullying’” (“History of Bullying” n. pag).This first report of bullying, turned violent very quickly. Flood who was also a soldier, shot the bully and was convicted and sentenced to death. This sentence however, was overturned by the Queen because he was known to be a kind sole. (“History of Bullying” n. pag) This bullying situation is just one of numerous examples of how bullying can change a person’s attitude and feelings about his or her self, and take drastic measures like suicide or murder.
In 1981 the first law against bullying was proposed. This law was then only thought about in the upcoming years. The law was made specifically for school bullying to spare the students the humiliation and sadness that would be felt by the kids. By the year 2000 a new kind of bullying was starting to become more frequent. Up with the wave of technological advancement, cyber bullying evolved along with the computers and phones (“History of Bullying” n. pag).
Cyber bullying is the act of bullying through computers, cell phones, social media, or any other technological device that targets mainly teens. Cyber bullying is the more common way of modern-day bullying and is much more relentless because nearly everyone can see it. “It would be bad enough to be cyber-bullied by one kid when nobody else knew about it, but a video seen by hundreds or thousands of your peers could be devastating,” (“The rise of cyber-bullying” n. pag).
[In 2003 a boy named] Ryan Halligan was bullied so relentlessly at school, he finally learned kickboxing to defend himself from the physical assaults. But when the attacks moved online, he had no way to fight back, and no refuge. October 2003, Ryan hanged himself in his family’s bathroom. He was 13 years old. Now, Ryan’s father travels to schools around the country to share the events that led up to his son’s suicide and to warn educators and students about the dangers of cyber bullying. (“History of Bullying” n. pag).
This is not the only example of what cyber bullying can lead to for the victims, this specific occurrence was only one of the first to happen. Other situations like Ryan’s are Gail Jones, Tyler Clementi, Megan Meier, Rehtaeh Parsons, Jamey Rodemeyer, Audrie Pott, Amanda Todd, and countless others (“Victims of cyber-bullying” n. pag).
In 2006 the very first law opposing cyber bullying was passed. The law states, “ it [is] a federal crime to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person over the internet” (“History of Bullying” n. pag). This law among many others is a way to show how the nation is trying to oppose bullying of any kind. Laws are not the only things being done to prevent bullying, but conferences and national days (National Day of Action Against Bullying & Violence) have been put into action as well.
“More than 1 out of 3 kids have been bullied online in 2012”. (Bullyingstatistics.org). In our modern day society, our everyday actions are focused around social media. Social Networking Sites are easily accessible and can be seen by anyone; Two key components to why cyber bullying is so harmful and destructive. Victims of cyber bullying are being put on blast for the whole world to see. Most teens do not want to tell someone that they are being bullying; 52% of teen that have been cyber bullied haven’t reported it. Research shown by the Cyber bullying Research Center has concluded that victims of cyber bullying have a lower self-esteem than non-victims, this same organization also released that “more girls are cyber bullies than boys, to be exact 59% girls and 41% boys.”(Cyber Bullying Research Center n.p.) The Cyber Bullying Research Center has also produced an experiment on how the victims of cyber bullying feel, it was concluded that both boys and girls reported to feel angry, sad, and embarrassed.
However, more girls than boys feel frustrated, while report to feel boys are scared. Many people wonder why cyber bullying occurs, Enough is Enough Organization did a study on this and concluded with shocking output. “11% of kid said to show off to friends, 14% said to be mean, 16% said something else, 21 of kids said to embarrass them, 28% said for fun or entertainment, 58% of kids said that they deserved it and 58% said to get back at someone. Another common question asked is why is bullying and cyber bullying still happening? For the reason that cyber bullying is a very new twist on the traditional bullying a study was conducted on January 11 by Temple University. They concluded that one of the reasons that cyber bullying is an ongoing issue is because nearly half of school social workers feel unequipped to handle cyber bullying.
Also 81% of youth agree that bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person and 80% think it is easier to hide online bullying from parents than in-person bullying.” (Enough is Enough-Internet Safety, n.p.) It is seen that cyber bullying is a huge issue, through current events. A recent event that happened took place in California on April 14th. Three boys accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated 15-year-old girl, after raping her they took nude pictures of her and posted them online, days after the girl took her own life. “We’re talking about, other than murdering someone, the highest degree of a crime you could possibly do, which is to violate them in the worst of ways … and then to effectively rub her face in it afterwards” Said Robert Allard the attorney of the girl’s mother, father and stepmother. (US News n.p.)
In the United States, the issue of bullying is taken seriously. According to the Cyber bullying Research Center, 49 of 50 states (excluding Alaska) have created laws against bullying. Though these laws differ per state, they all share common aspects that are fundamental to curbing bullying. Many of these core topics relate, either directly or indirectly, to cyber bullying.
In all laws against bullying, the distinction is made that the scope of bullying includes “conduct that occurs on the school campus, at school-sponsored activities or events (regardless of the location), on school-provided transportation, or through school-owned technology or that otherwise creates a significant disruption to the school environment” (“Key Components in State Anti-Bullying Laws”). Any activity that acts in opposition to appropriate online behavior on technology that is property of a school is illegal in the eyes of most state governments. As the Kelly Warner Law states, cyber bullying is any form of harassment, torment, or threat directed from one individual to another over the use of “digital, interactive or Internet technologies or mobile devices” (“Cyber Bullying Laws”). Whether the technology belongs to the student or the school, cyber bullying on campus is not allowed, and neither is cyber bullying off campus through means of self-owned or school-owned technology.
Another key component to many anti-cyber bullying laws is the prohibition of “perpetuating bullying or harassing conduct by spreading hurtful or demeaning material even if the material was created by another person (e.g., forwarding offensive e-mails or text messages)” (“Key Components in State Anti-Bullying Laws”). In short, this idea states that it is illegal to spread degrading content, even in the case of chain letters or sharing received content with others. It is no more appropriate to act maliciously against someone online than to act maliciously against someone in person, and state governments are increasingly recognizing this cyber bullying issue and taking action against it.
More and more states are passing laws against cyber bullying. Just recently, on April 29, 2013 in Tallahassee, Florida, the Florida Senate passed a bill to “expand the authority of Florida’s public schools to discipline students for cyber bullying done through use of a school computer, at the site of a school-sponsored activity or on a school bus” (“Bill Aimed at Cyber bullying Clears Senate”). In a Senate vote, the bill passed with 100% approval and 0% opposition (thirty-seven people for the bill and zero against it). The bill will now move on for approval from the Governor; so far it has quickly and efficiently passed through the law system as more people have come to recognize cyber bullying as an issue as prominent as bullying.
According to Cyber bullying is not worse than Physical bullying, cyber bullying is not worse than the physical side of bullying for a couple of reasons” (Cyber bullying vs. Physical Bullying). It has been statistically stated that 32% of kids have been bullied online, but 62% have been bullied offline. Even though more kids have been bullied online, they would prefer a sentence on Facebook over a punch in the jaw. At the same time, cyber bullying is widespread and the “hurt” can last forever while physical bullying can hurt temporarily. Also many people can view the picture or post wherever it may be and it is impossible to delete the post/picture. When someone is in the middle of fight a teacher or adult can break it up, but online there are not teachers or adults monitoring and breaking up the fight. Various people which wrote the article titled Traditional Bullying VS. Cyber bullying stated that traditional bullying is drastically different than cyber bullying. Traditional bullying is usually face to face, in a public place, and with a smaller audience. Cyber bullying is anonymous, it can be at home or at school, and it is with a larger audience. Ybarra and Mitchell both examined the internet users for ages 10-17 and found that 15% of those are harassers, 51% are harassers who were traditionally bullied, and 20% are victims (Gradinger, Petra, Dagmar Strohmeier, and Christiane Spiel). This experiment showed that many people who cyber bully, have been traditionally bullied in the past.