Cyber bullying is defined as persistent unwelcome behavior, mostly using unwarranted or invalid criticism, nit-picking, fault-finding, isolation and being singled out intentionally by others by the use of the internet, cell phones, or other technology. This may include spreading rumors about a particular person, or even pretending to be someone else to trick them into revealing personal information on the internet. People who commit these negative acts through these technologies, known as cyber bullies, may even send cruel text messages through cell phones. Posting embarrassing, or personal photos is also another form of cyber bullying.
According to a study, 32% of all teenagers that use the internet say they have been targeted for cyber bullying online (Snell, Englander, 508). This percentage proves that there are many young people that are being harassed through the Internet or through other technologies. Cyber bullying is mostly focused around teenagers, ages 12-17 (Snell, Englander, 508). In addition to that study, another showed that 62% of cyber bullies happen to be female (Shiraldi, 19). Another statistic has expressed that homosexuals are more likely to be cyber bullied, for their sexual or romantic feelings for their same gender.
Unfortunately, cyber bullying has been linked to many suicides as well. Constantly being made fun of and harassed for being different, leads to depression, which is the main cause of suicide. There have been numerous amounts of stories on the news about young people who take their own lives, because of someone that violently threatened them, sent or posted nude or sexual photos of them that weren’t meant to be seen, and people constantly mocked them for their sexuality, religion, race, or other possible factors as well: In a new study conducted by Sameer Hinduja, Ph. D. and Justin W.
Patchin, Ph. D. of the Cyberbullying Research Center shows that 20% of a random survey of middle-school students reported that they seriously contemplated attempting suicide (Aisenbe, 1). With the seriousness of cyber bullying on the rise, many schools have made efforts to try to control this trend. Educators let students know that if they are being harassed, then the cyber bullies should be reported to a parent, teacher or higher authority. There are also programs that aim to influence teenagers to not cyber bully. One program for example, is called The Great American No Bull Challenge. It is a program that empowers students to stop cyber bullying” (Vizcarra, 1). In addition to this program, singer Lady Gaga has launched a foundation to help put an end to bullying, after finding out about a young boy who killed himself, because he was constantly teased over the internet about being homosexual. Cyber bullying has become increasingly problematic; President Barack Obama has even taken an approach to help end this trend. The president happened to hold a Department of Education summit to talk about helping state and local governments to help them abolish bullying (Ditzian,1).
Cyber bullying may occur in a wide range of settings. It may take place when someone is at home, school, school events such as sports games or practices, or many other settings. The trend of cyber bullying basically began when young people obtained these technologies, such as cell phones: Some 75% of 12-17 year-olds now own cell phones, up from 45% in 2004. Those phones have become indispensable tools in teen communication patterns. Fully 72% of all teens or 88% of teen cell phone users are text-messagers. That is a sharp rise from the 51% of teens who were texters in 2006.
More than half of teens (54%) are daily texters” (Lenhart, 1). Cell phones are not the only form of technology that has increased among teenagers. The use of the internet has grown significantly as well. The more popular social networking sites become, such as Facebook and Twitter, the more often they will be used. Even though these sites can be used to have conversations with peers and family, play games, or share stories with others, they unfortunately are also a tool for cyber bullies. There are various factors that have led to this recent, yet extremely serious trend.
One factor that has led to this trend would be invisibility. Referring to cyber bullying, invisibility means that the cyber bully is more tempted to use technology to harass someone, simply because they believe they will not be caught. Those who choose to use computers, mobile phones or other devices see it as a safe route, rather than harassing someone in person. They may even pose as someone else to make their attacks or obtain personal, embarrassing information to use against them. Invisibility is most definitely a major contributing factor to this trend.
In addition to invisibility, the desire for popularity is another critical factor for cyber bullying. Whether someone craves to be part of a popular group, or wants to maintain their social status find it necessary to bully others through technology. “The popular (but not most popular) kids are more likely to be perpetrators and it gets worse as you climb the social ladder” (Landau, 1). Popularity is known to be very important to many teenagers, and sadly, many are more than willing to travel down the negative route of insulting and teasing to obtain it.
Furthermore, self-esteem is also a factor that led to cyber bullying. Many studies have shown that most cyber bullies seem to have a lower self-esteem (Hinduja, Patchin, 1). This shows that these cyber bullies may be insecure with themselves, whether it comes to physical looks, intelligence, skills or any other traits. By feeling this way, cyber bullies tend to feel better about themselves when they bring others down negatively. Besides self-esteem, jealousy is also a critical factor that led to cyber bullying.
One very typical example of this could be when a couple decides to break up, and then one begins dating or seeing someone else. Cyber bullies may begin to attempt to make their lives miserable by posting embarrassing photos on social network sites, or spread false truths about either person publically to get back at them. A lack of intelligence, or study skills could also be another reason to be jealous. Someone may send rude text messages, such as calling them a nerd, or worse, or use the internet to harass someone with more intelligence than them.
By doing this, it helps keep their desire for their talent hidden away, so their peers don’t witness weakness either by the use of technology, or even in person. Craving for attention by others is also a main factor that has led to cyber bullying. Most cyber bullies have a very high appreciation of being talked about by their peers. Being talked about may make the cyber bully feel important, or special therefore wanting to make him or her continue down that road.
Receiving many comments on Facebook, or Twitter may fulfill these feelings, causing them to want to harass people more often, just to receive the attention. Sadly, no one really knows just how far cyber bullies may go to achieve this goal. Being judgmental towards a certain race, gender, age, weight, religion, or any other quality a person may have is also a major reason cyber bullying exists today. Cyber bullies may harass someone through text messages, or the internet, for either being in a minority, or just simply being different.
Whether they are racist, sexist, or want to tease someone’s physical components, cyber bullies find a way to make these people feel worthless, or that their certain quality or qualities are wrong, just because they do not agree with it. Although, since many young people haven’t lived very long, don’t have very much experience socializing with many groups of people, and basically don’t think entirely for themselves yet, their judgments may have been influenced by their parents, or even from something they heard on television.
Lastly, another factor that has led to the trend of cyber bullying is the lack of sympathy for others. Sympathy is defined as showing concern for the well-being of others. Many people, who want to get back at someone, be mean or just crave attention, will use text messaging, social sites, or other sources. This is because they will not see the emotional damage they are causing their victim. Without seeing their emotions, or how they physically react makes it easier for the cyber bully to pick on, harass and cause negative emotions to their victim.
In conclusion, cyber bullying is a relatively new, yet serious trend. Cyber bullying has many different ways the cyber bully can harass someone; such as, using cell phones, text messaging, social websites and many other sources as well. There are many factors that led to this trend such as invisibility, popularity, self-esteem, jealousy, craving for attention, judgment, and lack of sympathy. Cyber bullying is mostly centered on teenagers, ages 12 to 17. With the growth of technology, such as Facebook, Twitter, text messaging and other forms, cyber bullying has increased significantly.
With all of the negative impacts it has caused, such as suicide or depression, many things are being done to reduce cyber bullying. People around the world have shared their stories about people they love who have taken their own lives due to cyber bullying, and many people also share how they plan helping to reduce this trend by starting projects, and organizations aimed to educate young people about cyber bullying: Even though cyber bullying is a new form of intimidation and harassment that teens must deal with, the good news is that there is a growing number of resources for teens and parents to help cope with the problem (Chavez, 1).
All in all, cyber bullying can occur in almost any type of setting at any given time. It may occur at school, at home, sporting event, after school programs or other various places. There are many factors that have led to this critical trend, but with the continuation of current anti-bullying programs, the formation of new programs and increased levels of educating young people about then harmful effects of cyber bullying, hopefully one day every child will be able to receive an education without the worry of receiving cruel posts, text messages, voicemails or emails by their peers. Many parents, teachers, school officials and above all, students are affected every day by cyber bullying, and many people throughout the world strive to put an end to this ugly trend.
Chavez, Paul. “ Cyberbullying on the Rise. ” 23 Jul, 2010. Ditzian, Eric. MTV News. “President Obama Says Cyberbullying ‘Gets Out Of Hand,’ At MTV Forum” 14 Oct, 2010. Landau, Elizabeth. “Kids and aggression: Popularity matters. ” 8, Feb 2011. Patchin, Justin and Hinduja, Sameer. Cyber-Bullying: The New Generation of Mean. ” College of Saint Elizabeth Journal of the Behavioral Sciences Vol. 2. Fall, 2008. Patchin, Justin and Hinduja, Sameer. “Cyber Bullying and Self-Esteem. ” Cyber bullying Research Center. 2011. Vizcarra, Johnathon. “ Program to Stop Cyber bullying Launched. ” 5, Oct 2011. “Bullying, Cyber bullying and Sexual Orientation. ” Cyber bullying Research Center, 2011. “Teens, Cell Phones and Texting. ” Pew Internet & American Life Project. April 10, 2010.