A Network of Bullies

Statement of The Problem

By: Rickard Jean-Noel

2020-0511 SWGS 6814

The problem that we will be addressing for this paper will be cyberbullying, and its effects on young children, teens, and young adults. We will focus upon the affects that it has on middle school and high school students, ages 11-18. We will focus on the negative affects that cyber bullying has on the individual social, mental, and physical wellbeing. We will develop interventions and discus current intervention strategies in order to aid those that are victims of this new age form of bullying and to provide them with support in order to deal with this new age pandemic. We will also focus on developing support and materials for teachers, parents, and caregivers so that they are better equipped in the prevention process, as well as the intervention process. If all of the intervention principles are applied correctly, we believe that there will be a recognizable change in regard to those suffering at the hands of these keyboard thugs.
Along with the advancement of technology came both negative and positive changes to the lives of man. One of the negatives that we can point out is cyber bullying. Cyber Bullying is described as an “electronic forms of contact, an aggressive act, intent, repetition, harm to the target” (Hutson, 2016). This new form of bullying has now allowed youths to bully others from literally the palm of their hands and even in the comfort of their homes. This new easy access to individuals to virtually abuse others has resulted in a world of bullying without boundaries. Events that were once occurring only on playgrounds and neighborhoods, has now entered into any entry that has an internet connection.
In the past children use to spend a great deal of time outside with friends, with little to no parental supervision. This would often provide the opportunity for the “weaker” individuals to be bullied by others. Because of the turn of the century and technological advances, children and youths are no longer spending long periods of time outside and are now spending long periods of time online. Because of the long periods of time spent online unsupervised, this provides an opportunity for the bullies to wreak havoc, and for the weak to fall victim.
Cyber bullies use several different avenues in order to afflict their victims. Thisincludes but are not limited to the following: “personal websites, blogs, email, texting, social networking sites/apps, chat rooms, message boards, instant messaging, photographs, video games” (Feinberg & Robey, 2009). According to the CDC, “15% of high school students and 24% of junior high students were cyberbullied in the year 2015” (Center for Disease Control, 2015). This is because a large number of children and teens spend a great deal of time on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Young children often use these platforms to obtain validation from their peers and put a great deal of emphasis on how others view and perceives them. This in turns leaves them victim to the judgement of others, allowing others to control their emotions and perceptions of themselves.
One of the main reasons why cyberbullies uses online platforms is because they have the option of remaining anonymous. By remaining anonymous, the risk of being exposed or discovered becomes extremely limited. They are then able to perform their task in a shroud of secrecy. Cyberbullies are often times both male and female and they are often times older than their victims. They are individuals that would often be bullied in “real-life” but feel that they have a new form of courage online. With the ability to cloak themselves online, they often times attack their victim anonymously then simply disappear by closing their laptops, tablets, or phones. The lack of ability to identify their attackers causes the victims to fell a sense of uncontrollability over the situation. They are unable to stop the bullying and are also unable to control who views what the bully post online about them. This results in a sense of panic and can cause a high level of hopelessness within the victim.
Often times individuals that are victims of cyberbullying end up with minor and serious mental issues. These include but are not limited to social anxiety, depression, a sense of loneliness, and even thoughts of suicide (Kowalski, Giumetti, Schroeder, &Lattanner, 2014 ).The saddest part about cyberbullying and the most ironic thing about cyberbullying is that majority of the individuals that are cyberbullies are actually being bullied themselves offline and are only bullying others online out of revenge. The targets of the cyberbullies then cyberbully others in an attempt to get revenge, and therefore the cycle continues over and over again(Arslan, Savaser, Hallett, &Balci, 2012 ). Because they are not there together in person, they do not see the repercussions of their acts and therefore they continue over and over to bully others. Cyberbullies also do not have to deal with any physical consequences if they are to remain anonymous (Kowalski, Giumetti, Schroeder, &Lattanner, 2014 ).
There have been several intervention methods that have been attempted in helping to “lower the curve”. One intervention method that has been applied to prevent cyber bullying is providing youths, school officials, and parents with information on what cyberbullying is and how to avoid becoming a victim (Cassidy W, FaucherC, &Jackson M 2013). The more information that is provided, the more equipped the parents, teachers, and youths will be in preventing and avoiding the cyberbullying. Another alternative would be to simply log off of the computer or to ignore what is being said online. However, because children, teens, and young adults send so much time online, they often find this task exceedingly difficult to complete. There have also been several laws that have been passed or proposed to combat cyberbullying. Antibullying measures were proposed in the US House of Representatives to be included into the “Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Acts”, they also passed a law through the US Congressed call the “Protecting Children in the 21st Century” legislation in the year 2008, which addresses cyberbullying (Snakenborg J, Van Acker R, &Gable RA 2011).
In conclusion, Cyberbullying is a profoundly serious social and mental health issue that is in particularly affecting children, teens, and young adults. It has serious mental health implication on this class of individuals. With the ever-changing times, we must adapt to them and resolve any negative issues that come along with the changing of the times, such as cyberbullying. There are many different forms of interventions that are taking place to address this matter that we will even dive deeper into in the final paper. We hope that the interventions are successful in the near future, when properly applied.



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1 Comment
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