CYBERBULLYING

31 Jan 2022

Curtain Hug

Revenge is the major immediate motive for engaging in cyberbullying.
Bullying has long been a concern of youth advocates (e.g., educators, counsellors, researchers, policy makers). Recently, cyberbullying (bullying perpetrated through online technology) has dominated the headlines as a major current-day adolescent challenge.
Cyberbullying is a reality of the digital age. To address this phenomenon, it becomes imperative to understand exactly what cyberbullying is. Thus, establishing a workable and theoretically sound definition is essential. The specific elements of repetition, power imbalance, intention, and aggression, regarded as essential criteria of traditional face-to-face bullying, are considered in the cyber context. It is posited that the core bullying elements retain their importance and applicability in relation to cyberbullying. The element of repetition is in need of redefining, given the public nature of material in the online environment.
Cyberbullying can be briefly defined as “sending or posting harmful or cruel text or images using the Internet or other digital communication devices”
It involves the use of information and communication technologies, such as e-mail, cell phone and pager text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal Websites, and defamatory online personal polling Websites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour by an individual or group that is intended to harm others. According to Willard (2004a), cyberbullying can take different forms, with the main forms ranging from flaming, to harassment, to cyberstalking. The following list gives a formal definition for each form:
• Flaming—Sending angry, rude, vulgar messages directed at a person or persons privately or to an online group.
• Harassment—Repeatedly sending a person offensive messages.
• Cyberstalking—Harassment that includes threats of harm or is highly intimidating.
• Denigration (put-downs)— Sending or posting harmful, untrue, or cruel statements about a person to other people.
• Masquerade—Pretending to be someone else and sending or posting material that makes that person look bad or places that person in potential danger.
• Outing and trickery—Sending or posting material about a person that contains sensitive, private, or embarrassing information, including forwarding private messages or images. Engaging in tricks to solicit embarrassing information that is then made public.
• Exclusion—Actions that specifically and intentionally exclude a person from an online group. (Willard, 2004b)
• Cyberbullying can occur on blogs (interactive Web journals), Web sites, in emails, listservs, chats, instant messaging, and text/digital image messaging via mobile devices. It can relate to racial, religious, and cultural biases.
Several claims about cyberbullying made in the media and elsewhere are greatly exaggerated and have little empirical scientific support. Contradicting these claims, it turns out that cyberbullying, when studied in proper context, is a low-prevalence phenomenon, which has not increased over time and has not created many “new” victims and bullies, that is, children and youth who are not also involved in some form of traditional bullying. These conclusions are based on two quite large samples of students, one from the USA and one from Norway, both of which have time series data for periods of four or five years. It is further argued that the issue of possible negative effects of cyberbullying has not received much serious research attention and a couple of strategies for such research are suggested together with some methodological recommendations. Finally, it is generally recommended that schools direct most of their anti-bullying efforts to counteracting traditional bullying, combined with an important system-level strategy that is likely to reduce the already low prevalence of cyberbullying.
Several myths about the nature and extent of cyberbullying that are being fueled by media headlines and unsubstantiated public declarations. These myths include that (a) everyone knows what cyberbullying is; (b) cyberbullying is occurring at epidemic levels; (c) cyberbullying causes suicide; (d) cyberbullying occurs more often now than traditional bullying; € like traditional bullying, cyberbullying is a rite of passage; (f) cyberbullies are outcasts or just mean kids; and (g) to stop cyberbullying, just turn off your computer or cell phone.
The negative consequences of cyberbullying are becoming more alarming every day and technical solutions that allow for taking appropriate action by means of automated detection are still very limited. Up until now, studies on cyberbullying detection have focused on individual comments only, disregarding context such as users’ characteristics and profile information.
Cyberbullying has been identified as an important problem amongst youth in the last decade and it is necessary that we act on it.

-By Dr. Meghul Chadha
Content Writer
Social Journal