The Detrimental Effects of Cyber Bullying
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” This popular saying is echoed throughout playgrounds all over the United States. If only every victim of bullying could adapt to this attitude. Bullying is a frequent experience for a large number of children and adolescents. In today’s society, victims of bullying are subject to traditional forms of bullying as well as cyber bullying. Even though a higher number of adolescents are bullied in traditional ways, cyber bullying can have a more detrimental effect because victims can be attacked from anywhere at any time, bullies tend to send harsher messages since it is not face-to-face, and victims are bullied by a large audience.
In Clint Eastwood’s 2008 film Gran Torino, Thao, a Hmong teenage boy living in Detroit, is bullied by a variety of gangs in his neighborhood. Throughout the film, Thao experiences verbal bullying as well as physical bullying. In one scene, Thao is verbally harassed by a gang of Latinos while walking down the street. The gang insults Thao’s masculinity by asking him if he is a boy or a girl. They continue harassing him calling him a “gook” and a “slope.” In a later scene, Thao is physically bullied by the Hmong gang on his way home from work. Like Thao, adolescents today are continuously faced with various forms of bullying.
Traditional forms of bullying such as being hit, intimidated, and excluded, seem to be less apparent in recent years and cyber bullying has become a more prevalent issue. Cyber bullying occurs when technologies such as computers, social networking sites, and cell phones are used to harass or bully someone (University of Gothenburg, 2010). Being cyber bullied can have consequences for a victim’s mental health, developmental well-being, and academic achievement (University of British Columbia, 2012). In society today, many young students, including elementary age children, have their own Facebook pages and other similar technologies that were not available until the last decade. These technologies have many great benefits; however, if used recklessly, these technologies can have demoralizing effects (Facebook, 2012). Warrants
We can all agree that all forms of bullying can have lasting, devastating effects on self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth. Swearer (2012) states that, “From schoolyards to workplaces and now to cyberspace as well, it seems that bullies are everywhere.” In addition, victims of bullying can be either male or female and can be of any age. It can also be noticed not only in humans but in other animals. Notice how the “runt” of a litter of puppies is treated. Although there is no definitive age in which bullying begins, Dr. Allan Beane, an author and nationally known speaker on bullying, says that, “Research indicates that bullying behavior can start as early as age three” (Broadwell, n.d.). Reasons
Cyberbullying victims can be attacked from anywhere at anytime. Traditionally when adolescents are bullied they can go home and separate themselves from the harassment; however, cyber bullying allows victims to be bullied even at home. As a result, adolescents no longer have a “safe-zone.” As Greg Toppo writes, “Vulnerable children have virtually no refuge from harassment. It’s a non-stop type of harassment and it creates a sense of helplessness” (Meech, 2004).
The Cyber bullying Research Center conducted a series of surveys that found that about half of young people have experienced some sort of cyber bullying and 20 percent experience it regularly. The surveys also found that cyber bullying victims are more likely to have low self esteem and to consider suicide (Cyber bullying statistics, 2009). I also surveyed 106 8th grade students from Scottsburg Middle School. I found that about 46 percent of the...