The twenty first century is known to be the world of the ‘Internet’; it is the most efficient way to get connected to our friends, relatives and colleagues. Sites such as Facebook have become very common among our youth today and have influenced our modern lives in many aspects. Being enrolled at a school with over 1000 students you begin to notice the reliance that a majority of the students have on Social Networking. As a student myself I have always had an interest in the way people act and the effect that these sites have on both the social and psychological side of us; this led me to the question ‘How often does cyberbulying occur?’
Technology allows all of us immediate access to information, which can greatly benefit our lives1. However, it has also provided some people with the means to exploit the innocent, commit crimes, and inflict injury on others. This technology has allowed some teens to take bullying that thrives in school hallways into cyberspace1.
Bullying refers to any kind of aggressive behaviour, which is normally intentional and entails an imbalance of strength or power1. Cyberbulying is also referred to as a social online cruelty which can be described as an intentional aggressive act which is carried out by an individual or a group of individuals against a victim, done repeatedly over a long period of time and sent through electronic contacts1.
Research indicates that there are a variety of reasons as to why people bully2, * Cultural causes - fascinated with winning, power and violence.2 * Institutional causes - the place in which bullying takes place, whether the home, school or workplace is not of high standards for the way people treat each other bullying is more likely to occur.2 * Social issues - the fact that one gets more social recognition for negative behaviours than positive one can also contribute to reasons as to why people bully.2 * Family issues - families that are not warm and loving and in which feelings are not shared are more likely to have children who bully, either with in the family home or in other locations in which children meet others.2
In relation to why people bully, a survey was conducted from December 2006 till January 2007 by the members of Kids Help Phone which had over 2500 respondents3. This stated that more than 70% of respondents to the survey reported that they have been a victim of cyberbulying, while 44% said they have been the bully themselves. At least 38% reported having experienced cyberbulying within the last three months3. This was a major key finding as it is clearly evident that there are a large number of cyberbulying incidents that occur, considering that there were only 2500 respondents and 70% reported being a victim is a huge thing, not to mention that most cyberbulying incidents are not reported and go un-noticed.
Having investigated this further studies show that almost most cyberbulying cases go unreported because a large number of youth and their parents think that cyberbulying is not a big deal4. However, it has been proven that a victim of this type of bullying can lead to serious disorders for the future, including suicide4. This indicates that when one becomes a victim of cyberbulying, they are a victim for life. Though the bullying itself may go away, the fear, the hurt and the memories scar the victim forever.
In a survey that was conducted at Mount Gambier High School similar results were found5; 54.5% of students said that they had been a victim of cyberbulying, while 23% said they have bullied someone online. 81.8% say that whilst on these sites they have witnessed cruel behaviour, 33.3% say that they ignore this behaviour when and if it occurs5. This was an important finding as it is apparent that when and if cyberbulying occurs, teenagers who are a witness tend not to do anything about it. This relates to my previous findings because if people did something about the cruel behaviour they witness...
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