Bullying and intimidation of different forms are common in almostevery society as some individuals enjoy subjecting other people topain and agony. In the past, people were subjected to physical abuseand bullying, especially in school by their older peers. Suchexposure to bullying has had detrimental psychological, physical andemotional impact on the victims, most of them has had thoughts ofquitting school or a job. In the wake of technological advancementand wide adoption, lots of people have turned to technology anddigital avenues for their communication. With more and more peopleusing phones, internet and computers for their communication needs,bullying has changed its nature and form to adopt to the new trendsof technology. Although physical bullying still exists in many placesin America, cyberbullying has topped the list of bullying cases inthe US. The paper will explore the issue of cyberbullying in Americawith a keen focus on the assessment of whether the issue is a seriousproblem that requires a well-structured intervention. The paper willalso explore different ways of dealing with cyberbullying andavoiding become a victim of the evil or exit the situation should onebecome tied in the mess. Cyberbullying is the new trend ofharassment in America and concerted efforts should be employed tocurb the problem before it causes irreversible harm to teens.
Cyberbullying describes a type of bullying and harassment that isconducted through an internet service like online social networking,email, chat rooms and instant messaging among others. Text messagingthrough mobile phone technologies can also be included in thecategory of cyberbullying, and it is estimated that American teens,more than one third, have been subjected to cyberbullying (Bianca andSophie 3). As mentioned in the introduction, the spread of technologyadoption and use has transformed communication in the modern world.Today, teens in America own communication gadgets as computers andphones, and are exposed to internet use while still very young. Asearly as eleven years, most American teens own phones and most oftheir parents do not monitor the usage of such phones (Lenhart 2).One of the reason for lack of parental supervision in digitalcommunication of their kids could be attributed to the technologicalgap, which exists between the parents and their kids. The gap createsa fertile avenue for predators to serve their interests ofcyberbullying in America, which if goes unchecked will become anissue of national concern in the near future (Li and Peter 198).
While the world continues to enjoy the wonders of online services interms of communication, information and communication, there isalways a rough side of every good invention. The rough side mightremain hidden to many people who focus on the merits of an invention.Imperatively, the internet grants individuals with a chance to createparallel reality and anonymous identity of individuals (Patchin andHinduja 431). Cyberbullying predators utilize the provision toperpetuate their ill intentions of bullying others, especially kids.Notably, grown-ups stand very slim chances of being cyber bullied,partially because of their mature brain that can handle cyberdisappointments or because of the fear of predators being discovered.Therefore, children makes viable victims for cyberbullying (Lenhart4). Most peers have taken their bullying tactics away from theplayground to the internet where they send unwanted messages, spreadrumors, and defame the personality of their friends.
Contrary to fighting in the school playground, or teasing, which canbe controlled by teachers or older kids, bullies get encouraged bythe anonymity that is granted by the electronic media (Li and Peter244). The media facilitates bullies to instantaneously sendunflattering videos ad vicious comments to multiple individuals. Sucha comment or video can lead to painful moments by the victim and thesituation is made worse every time a person shares the video orcomments on it.
Imperatively, there are no visible marks on the body of a victim as abroken nose, torn shirt or broken lip to prove that a person is beingbullied (Lenhart 5). The effects of cyberbullying remain invisibleand any helpful intervention might be delayed contributing to thepropagation of the problems suffered by victims. In a nutshell, theeffects of cyberbullying, though invisible, are probably more painfulthan physical bullying and has far reaching consequences (James andNancy 312).
Studies showed that more than 50% percent of teens reported havingcyber bullied, and this number was unnervingly more than physicalbullying, which was reported by 37% of students (Li and Peter 234).The high percentage owes lots of credit to the fact that, teenschoose not to report cases of cyberbullying to their parents orteachers for a number of reason. Firstly, teens fear that theirparents might ground their phones or internet usage if they realizethat the gadgets are contributing to their kids being hurt. Secondly,some of the cyberbullying situations are accompanied by threats ofharm to the teens or their family, should they report the cases(Patchin and Hinduja 435). Therefore, teens prefer suffering insilence to spreading the harm to significant others. Shame andembarrassment are other reasons for not reporting cyberbullyingcases as teens might not be willing to discuss rude obscene abuseswith their parents. The situation is worsened when the teens werealso involved in something antisocial, and they fear that theirparents might punish the youths for such behavior (Lenhart 7).
As youth navigate through adolescence seeking their own identity,they more often than encounter identity crisis and emotional turmoilbecause of the massive changes happening to their bodies. During suchtimes, the teens feel that their parents do not understand theirneeds, and they refrain from talking to their parents about theproblems that they face in everyday life. The result of such asituation is youths who stay in their cocoons of depression for lackof appropriate help form experienced adults (Hinduja and Patchin 92).Considering that parents might strip technology privileges from theirkids if they discover that the teens are suffering, the youths arealways willing to endure the worse than have such privilegeseliminated from their lives (Lenhart 7). This proves that indeedcyberbullying is a serious problem in America, which should beaddressed with a well-designed approach and intervention to ensurethat kids utilize technology and remain safe.
The above points should not be taken to underscore thecounterargument, which holds that cyberbullying is a minor issue thatcan be dealt with easily. It is possible to assume that cyberbullyingis not a serious problem that affecting American youths. Such anargument stems from the fact that teens have the choice to minimizetheir internet usage, especially for social networking (Bianca andSophie 5). The same issue can also be addressed by minimizing thenumber of friends in the social networks to the most trusted people,and securing ones account using unique username and password. Withsuch easy and readily available ways of dealing with the issue, theargument tends to beat down the seriousness of the issue by holdingthe point that the problem can be addressed with little or nodifficulty (Patchin and Hinduja 93). However. The counterargumentfails to consider the fact that most cases of cyberbullying are doneby close friends. Such friends exploit the anonymity provided by theinternet and send offensive or unwanted messages to the victim ofbullying (James and Nancy 321). Further, the problem is not an easyone to solve as it sounds because of the group of the population thatis involved. The paper is talking of teens who can suffer in silencedue to their poorly thought out considerations of what is importantand what is not significant in their life (Hinduja and Patchin 98).Accordingly, teens do not know what is best for their success in lifeand their still require protection from the government, teachers,older siblings and parents
In conclusion, Cyberbullying is the new trend of harassment inAmerica and concerted efforts should be employed to curb the problembefore it causes irreversible harm to teens. The paper hasestablished that cyberbullying has recorded the highest percentage ofharassment than any other form of abuse. The problem is aggravated bythe continued use of technology and the internet in the daily livesof people. Unsupervised use phones and social networking sites byteens have created a fertile avenue for cyberbullying, especiallybecause the internet provide bullying predators with anonymity. Thepaper has also pointed out that teens are more vulnerable tocyberbullying because of their poor choice in the course of actionand priorities in life. The social evil causes lots of harm to teenswho suffer in silence because of embarrassment or fear of beingpunished.
Bianca Brooks and Sophie Varon. When Cyberbullying Gets Real. Youthsradio, News Report. 2013. Media.
Hinduja, Sameer. & Patchin, W. Justine. Offline consequences ofonline victimization: School violence and delinquency. Journal ofSchool Violence. 2007. 6(3), 89-112. Print.
James P. Colt, and Nancy B. B. Meyer. Cyber Bullying:Protecting Kids and Adults from Online Bullies. Westport, Conn:Praeger Publishers, 2009. Print.
Lenhart, Amanda. Cyberbullying and Online Teens. Pew Internet &American Life Project, June 27. Web retieved 4/8/2015 from(http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/216/report_display.asp)
Li, Qing, Donna Cross, and Peter K. Smith. Cyberbullying inthe Global Playground: Research from International Perspectives.Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Print.
Patchin, W.Justine, and Hinduja, Sameer. (2013). Cyberbullying amongAdolescents: Implications for Empirical Research. Journal ofAdolescent Health. 2013. 53(4), 431-432. Print.