Cyber Bullying

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Almost everyone knows someone who has been bullied or was a bully at some time. Now, with new advances in technology, bullying is evolving. Some people have started to call this change “cyber bullying,” which is defined as “bullying that involves the use of e-mail, instant messaging, text digital imaging messages and digital images sent via cellular phones, Web pages, Web logs (blogs), chat rooms or discussion groups, and other information communication technologies.” (Kowalski, Limber, Agatston 42) Through the use of online social networks, many teenagers are becoming victims of cyber bullying. As a result of this, it is important for everyone to better understand what cyber bullying is and how to pass laws to help children who are being bullied and to cease the aggression caused by bullying. In order to better understand cyber bullying, a person must first understand the different types of cyber bullying that exist.  According to the book Cyber Bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age, there are many different ways teenagers bully others online. Some cyber bullies use techniques such as “flaming, harassment, denigration, impersonation, outing and trickery, exclusion and ostracism, cyberstalking, or happy slapping.” (Kowalski, Limber, Agatston 46) The term “flaming” is used to describe an angry exchange of words between two or more people that uses technology as a form of communication. (Kowalski, Limber, Agatston 47) Another term many people might not understand is “happy slapping,” which is defined as an action in which “people, usually teenagers, walk up and slap someone while another individual, also usually a teenager, captures the violence using a camera phone.” (Kowalski, Limber, Agatston 51) This behavior is very serious and should not be taken lightly because it involves physical assault on a person. This physical violence is what makes “happy slapping” illegal and combines both physical and cyber bullying.  Sadly, there have been many recorded instances of teenagers committing suicide because of the bullying they received online. In April 2005, 14-year-old Shaun Noonan hanged himself after being “happy slapped.” As a result, some schools in England have banned the use of camera phones because they were worried the use of the phones would increase bullying on the playground. (Kowalski, Limber, Agatston 51) The schools seem to be on the right track to eliminating bullying by banning camera phones. However, the schools could be more proactive by teaching the students the results of bullying and explaining what happened to Shaun and other children who have committed suicide because of cyber bullying. The next step in better comprehending cyber bullying is to understand the statistics of teenagers’ interactions on the Internet.  According to Amanda Lenhart, on the behalf of Pew Internet and American Life Project, ninety–three percent of teenagers surf the Web. Of those teenagers, seventy–three percent use social networking websites.  Additionally, according to Jack Keating’s article in The Province, seventy percent of teenagers reported having been bullied online, while forty-four percent admitted that they have bullied someone else.  According to the United States Secret Service, seventy–five percent of school shooters were previous victims of bullying. (Kowalski, Limber, Agatston 60). This is an alarming figure and shows just how important it is that school officials and the government intervene in teenage bullying in order to reduce the risk of vengeance caused by bullying.

Another important thing people should figure out is what makes a teenager want to bully someone else online.  Current research has shown that some people bully others to assert their power over them.  Some bullies may gain satisfaction in hurting other people’s feelings, or the bully might want to act out any aggressive fantasies online. (Kowalski, Limber, Agatston, 59) A reason that many teenagers decide to cyber bully instead of using the...
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