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Kathleen Steeb Prof.

Bruner April 1, 2012 Essay #4

Epidemic of Cyber Bullying The educational experience is racked with moments of stress, anger, discomfort, and a lack of belonging. Many of these feeling can be attributed to bullying that many students experience. These feelings and bullying encounters traditionally take place in the physical building of the school, but recently they have been carried over to life outside of the school. The bullies do not physically follow the victims everywhere they go, but the statements made, the insults, and threats do. Living in an age of such high technological advances makes education much more accessible and advanced, but it also has allowed an extreme amount of socialization to occur; some positive and some negative. Laura Gurak author of the book Persuasion and Privacy in Cyberspace states: While the capability is being promoted widely, the policy issues are often left up for grabs, with many differing visions of life in cyberspace being offered at every turn. (3) The classroom should be a place of acceptance and escape from environments of that could stunt the students growth in their education and social skills. For a victim of cyber bullying, the classroom can be a daily reminder of their peers that are threatening and no accepting them. Cyber bullying does not stop outside of the computer or cell phone, it continues when students talk about cyber bullying that occurred through electronic sources such as Postings on Facebook, texting, emailing, and many other forms of digital communication. Many parents and citizens feel it is the teachers job to be aware of the possible bullying that is occurring. Teachers should find ways to end and

Kathleen Steeb Prof. Bruner April 1, 2012 Essay #4

eliminate the distractions and effects that occur due to cyber bullying. They also believe it should be the main goal of schools to create an accepting and safe environment for their children to learn. Schools are ideally made to be a haven from the outside world and to protect students from the threats and feelings that are being let in by the use of the internet, especially those that tear down fellow peers and those who are different or unique. Cyber bullying has become a highly publicized but misunderstood word within the past few years. Although there have been many cases of students harming themselves or others, some people are do not believe that cyber bullying is as harmful as the traditional form of bullying because it does not have any physical harm happening between to people (Winter and Leneway). To fully understand cyber bullying we must first define bullying as: being an aggressive, intentional act or behavior that is carried out by a group or an individual repeatedly and over time against a victim who can not easily defend him or herself... several main types physical, verbal, relational (e.g., social exclusion) and indirect (e.g., rumour spreading). (Peter et al. 376) Now with the understanding of bullying we can now thoroughly understand Joanne Wojciks definition of cyber bullying as the use of computers, cell phones or other electronic devices by students to embarrass, harass or threaten another person. With these definitions, the idea of what cyber bullying is soon begins to shape. There are reports all across the world of victims of cyber bullying. According to Ann Epstein, Ph.D. and Jeffrey Kazmierczak, M.A. (2006), cyber

Kathleen Steeb Prof. Bruner April 1, 2012 Essay #4

bullying has become more abundant do to the ability for aggressors to hide behind a computer screen, not have to physically do the harm, and they have to ability to do all this anonymously if they wish (42). These two factors have made the cyber bullying epidemic spread rapidly through schools, counties, states, and countries. Just like in the traditional definition of bullying there is an aggressor, a victim, and bystanders there are the say participants in cyber bullying. Many times the bystanders are not aware that they are causing anymore harm or adding fuel to the fire. The bystanders help to perpetuate the problem many times in cyber bullying by Reposting, Liking, or commenting on the bullying. The bystanders in many situations are following the lead of one leader, or aggressor. The bystanders will take place for many reasons such as fear that they will be the next victim, they want to fit in, or they think it is funny. These bystanders are not the sole cause of cyber bullying but many times will carry out the bullying and can cause more harm to the victim than what already existed. Continual physical, emotional, and mental battery is wearing on a person, but without the ability to escape the abuse and seek refuge in a private place, such as your home or room, the abuse becomes too much and can cause a stress, and a feeling of hopelessness, or even thoughts of suicide. This form of bullying is not just locked within the walls of schools and it does not simply end when the victim steps off the bus, but it invades the victims personal computer, cell phone, social networking sites, and email. Also, this abuse never takes a break. It takes place during all hours of the day and can last for weeks.

Kathleen Steeb Prof. Bruner April 1, 2012 Essay #4

The continual bullying can cause students to loose interest in school and to lower their personal desire to achieve a quality education according to Courtney Stoel (1). This act of pulling away from their academic endeavors can cause a lower self esteem due to the conjunction of falling behind in school and being constantly bullied. Stoel also states that cyber bullying can drag down the victims emotions and cause them sadness and even to enter into a state of depression. She states that, along with the emotional depression, the victim can feel also experience psychological trauma(1). The victim can also be left feeling powerless due to the speed of the internet and the ability for many of their piers to see the abuse that is taking place. The victim can soon feel as if they are trapped within the cyber bullying and have no ability or hope of getting out of the situation. Along with feeling trapped, the victim may also feel weak and incapable of surviving the cyber bullying because they have had their power stripped away from them due to their inability fight back and defend them self. Coupled with feelings of anger and exclusion, many victims feel as if they are being forgotten by the adults in their life who are supposed to be there for them. These feelings can be attributed to the already existing feelings that the victim is trapped in the abuse and has no one on their side to help them with these feelings; many victims will begin to pull away and distance them self. Due to the technology that has been created, it makes it difficult for teachers to be aware of the abuse that is taking place and then even harder to track the source of the abuse. Due to the technology that is used frequently in todays society, the abuse

Kathleen Steeb Prof. Bruner April 1, 2012 Essay #4

of cyber bullying happens mostly at home, but the effects carry over into the school day and into the classroom. While technology is a great use for communication and is used in schools as a positive effect for students learning it can also cause distractions that schools are not prepared to handle or discipline. The difficulty that schools are having when it comes to discipline is many people do not agree on where the freedom of speech ends. Parents and citizens are very concern with school taking away the right of youth to have an opinion and to freely say what they feel and believe. Authors at the New Zealand Herald states: Censorship is not the only enemy of free speech. Those who exercise their free speech to intimidate, bully, denigrate and harass others on the internet lessen the credibility of free speech arguments. In effect, those who exercise their free speech rights to cause harm may inhibit others from participating freely in this vital new public domain. The practical anonymity afforded abusers, and the lack of real-life consequences can create an environment where such abusive behavior can thrive. Many times aggressors and victims are very similar in the way that they both want to be liked and accepted by their peers. This feeling of acceptance can drive students to abuse a peer in order to be seen as equal and cool. Aggressors are putting their fear on another student by making them feel rejected. Cyber bullying causes many to feel unwanted and not worthy, but this outbreak can be handled by parents and schools working together to make all students feel safe and protected.

Kathleen Steeb Prof. Bruner April 1, 2012 Essay #4

Works Cited Epstein, Ann and Jeffery Kazmierczak. Cyber Bullying: What Teachers, Social Workers, and Administrators Should Know. Illinois Child Welfare 3.1-2 (20062007): 41-51. Web. 28 Mar. 2012.

Gurak, Laura. Persuasion and Privacy in cyberspace: the online protest over Lotus MarketPlace and the Clipper Chip. Durham: BookCrafters, Inc., 1997.

Kathleen Steeb Prof. Bruner April 1, 2012 Essay #4

Print. "Law Commission looks to crack down on cyber-bullies." New Zealand Herald, The n.d.: Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 30 Mar. 2012. Smith, Peter, Jess Mahdavi, Manuel Carvalho, Sonja Fisher, Shanette Russell, and Neil Tippett. Cyberbullying: its nature and impact in secondary school pupils. Child 2012. Stoel, Courtney. Cyber Bullying and the Classroom. Scholar Works 6.2 (2011): n. pag. Web. 28 Mar. 212. Psychology and Psychiatry 49.4 (2008): 376-385. Web. 28 Mar.

Winter, Ryan and Robert Leneway. Terror in the Classroom: What Can be Done? Part 2. School CIO. School CIO, 16 Nov. 2007. Web. 28 Mar. 2012.

WOJCIK, JOANNE. "Schools Have Some Authority To Curb Cyber Bullying Of Students." Business Insurance 46.10 (2012): 6. Business Source Complete. Web. 30 Mar. 2012.