Cyber Bullying in Middle School
Internet, as every invention of human mind, has its own advantages and disadvantages. It’s the fastest way of getting information; it unites people all over the world, helps them communicate and share experience. On the other hand, the internet and its speed of spreading information may become a weapon of bullying. Cyber bullying became one of the most influential tools of threatening teens. This may influence not only the development of unstable teen’s mind, but also worsen his or her life in future and relationship with the others. In American school cyber bullying is one of the most urgent problems to be solved. Children attend lectures about cyber bullying and its influence; they have talks with school psychologists, nevertheless, the number of pupils who are cyber bullied, especially in the middle school, is not decreasing. This research is aimed to outline the main features of cyber bullying and to show the most important and the most used techniques of avoiding cyber bullying in the middle school.
According to the Oxford dictionary cyber bullying is “the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature” (2013). Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine a person who does not know what Internet is and how it is used. That is why bullying or threatening there so called “losers” at school is now global and not private, as it is used to be. It happens very often that parents do not want to realize that their child is cyber bullied, but statistics shows that they are wrong:
- 43 % of all the schoolchildren have been bullied online at least once;
- 70% of students report that they have been witnessing cyber bullying;
- the most common way of cyber bullying in using the phone, because more than 80% of schoolchildren use a cell phone regularly;
- 68 % of schoolchildren understand that cyber bullying is a serious problem;
- 81% of teenagers consider cyber bullying to be easier than private bullying a person;
- 90% of schoolchildren who have witnessed cyber bullying have ignored it;
- Only 10% of those who are cyber bullied will inform their parents;
- Girls are cyber bullied more often than boys;
- About 75% of schoolchildren confess that they have visited a web site on which another pupil is bullied;
- Those who are bullied are more likely to commit suicide.
A person may be cyber bullied via cell phone, Internet, using blogs or social networks, via E-mail or via text messages. Besides, there are different types of cyber bullying:
- When a person sends rude messages;
- Denigration is spreading untrue information about a person that is being bullied, posting it on a web site or in a social network, or sending this information to the others via E-mail or text messages;
- Flaming is a quarrel in Internet using dirty vulgar language;
- Impersonation is a kind of cyber bullying when the account is broken and different untrue information is posted from the account of a person being bullied;
- Outing and Trickery means to share someone’s secrets or posting them in social networks or on some web pages. Or tricking someone to make him or her tell secrets;
- Cyber Stalking is a kind of cyber bullying when a person being bullied is sent threatening messages or those which may make a person worry for his or her own safety.
There are different stories of pupils who were cyber bullied in the middle school. For example, the story of Ryan Halligan, who has committed suicide at the age of fourteen. Some days after his suicide, his father found out that Ryan was bullied from the fifth grade and he was even called gay. Hope Witsell is another victim of cyber bullying in the middle school. She has fallen in love with a guy and sent him a picture of her being naked. This picture was found by another girl and forwarded to the other classmates. Obviously, Hope was bullied. School authorities found that out at the end of the academic year and suspended Hope for a week. When the girl came back to school, a counselor has noticed cuts on her legs and made Hope sign a paper that she would never harm herself. The next day Hope Witsell was found dead in her room. Phoebe Prince is an Irish immigrant, who has also become a victim of cyber bullying. She was cyber bullied via Internet, using different social networks. She has died two days before the winter cotillion dance at her school. The point is that her date for that evening was a senior football player. And even after her death, some pupils from her school leave vicious messages on her pages in social networks.
It is seen that most of those who are cyber bullied in the middle school cannot live with such feeling anymore and commit suicide. That is why school teachers, school psychologists and even parents should pay attention to those who may be bullied and those who may bull the others. It is their responsibility to explain pupils what wrong is about cyber bullying. The more works is done, the more lectures are held, the lesser are chances that a person may be cyber bullied in the middle school.
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