Younger generations cannot remember a time before technology. Technology is an every day necessity for both teens and adults that allow us to communicate with new and old friends. We can do this through social networking sites, sending quick texts saying we are “on the way”, an email, and much more. Technology has given us the opportunity to connect with people all over the world. Although technology can be seen as a beautiful thing that is beneficial to our generation, it also has a dark-side, cyberbullying. Belsey (2004) stated that “cyberbullying involves the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and pager text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal Web sites, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others.” Cyberbullying can also be described as “fighting words without the fists.” As technology has evolved, bullying has increased into something much larger. The Pew Internet and American Life Project on cyberbullying conducted a survey in 2006, which concluded that one out of three teens have experienced online harassment (Lenhart, 2007). Cyberbullying in its various forms has become an increasingly important problem across our country, and is affecting our society physically and emotionally.
Cyberbullying is the newest form of bullying, emerging as children become more adept at using computers and cell phones for communication and socialization, but the topics of abuse are the same (Anderson & Sturm, 2007). There are a few main differences between cyberbullying and bullying, one being anonymity. Technology allows social networking posts, emails, videos and photographs to be distributed instantly to a worldwide audience with the bully remaining anonymous. Anonymity of the bully causes the victims to have a much higher level of absence from their school or workplace because they have no idea who or where their bully may be. Another difference between cyberbullying and bullying is accessibility. Accessibility can be highly traumatic for the victim because technology now allows the bully to reach beyond the classroom and contact their target at anytime. Frisen (2010) states that at least with conventional bullying the victim is left alone on evening and weekends and that victims of internet bullying—or cyberbullying have no refuge. Many victims of cyberbullying are bullied from the time they wake up in the morning and check their phone, emails, and social media sites to the time they go to bed at night and shut off their technology.
Cyberbullying is conducted in many different forms. According to Willard (2007) these forms include: flaming; online fights using electronic messages with angry and vulgar language, harassment; repeatedly sending mean and insulting messages, denigration; “dissing” someone online, impersonation; pretending to be someone else online, outing; sharing embarrassing information or images of someone online, trickery; talking someone into sharing embarrassing information and then sharing it online, exclusion; intentionally excluding someone from an online group, and cyberstalking; harassment that includes threats and creates fear.
Such forms usually take place on social networking sites, which have become one of the larger online forums that provide grounds for cyberbullying. On social networking sites such as, Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace one can post intimidating or hateful things or upload unflattering photos or videos of their target. Young people are twice more likely to suffer cyberbullying on Facebook than any other social networking site (Ellis 2013). Facebook states that it will beef up efforts to curb bullying as police, parents, and educators sound greater alarm over the unmonitored and sometimes dangerous interactions. The company plans to make it easier for teens to contact to an adult on the...
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