This is the very definition of emotional bullying. However, what I am going to focus on is one step above emotional bullying – cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying can be defined as emotional bullying via communication in the cyber world. This includes e-mails, message boards, instant messaging, and even social networking sites.
It was only a matter of time before bullying was introduced in the virtual world. With kids and teens becoming more and more tech savvy, as they turn to the internet for entertainment, to socialize, and even to meet new people.
Living in the 21st century, we’re well aware of the rapidly growing industry of technology. Cyber-bullying is also growing alongside the rise of technology. Growing up, children are exposed to various entertainment outlets, which use some form of media to portray the effects of bullying. A cartoon, movie, or TV show might portray a character having a tough time with a bully. Although the show mostly ends with a happy ending, there is also a clear message that is being passed along with it – bullying is an effective way to bring down someone’s self esteem or to upset them. With technology, students are able to bully each other without facing any consequences as long as they remain anonymous.
This anonymity is what makes cyber-bullying extra dangerous. People are becoming more and more comfortable attacking others. Perhaps they don’t realize the severity of the effects on the victim or they simply don’t care because they know that no one is going to hold them responsible for any outcomes. Statistics show that over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online. Also, over half of the adolescents do not inform their parents when cyber-bullying occurs. According to a recently conducted poll, more than 10% of parents state that their child has been a victim of cyber-bullying and one-fourth of adults claim to know of a child who went through cyber-bullying. Michigan is one of the 4 states that currently have no laws against bullying. However, as of September 2011, there has been a cyber-bullying law pending.
In addition to the government providing support to cyber-bullying victims, parents also play a huge role in preventing this growing issue. First and foremost the parent needs to understand that cyber-bullying can happen to anyone including their own children. The most important thing a parent can do is provide love, comfort, and support to their child at all times. This helps build confidence and self-esteem in the child. Teaching internet safety from a young age is also extremely important. Parents should always monitor their child’s behavior online. There have been many shocking cases of cyber-bullying that have led to suicide because the parents were unaware of the issue and therefore unable to prevent it.
Kids need to be taught from a young age how to handle the Internet and cyber bullies if ever faced with one. First of all, do not respond to the bully. Doing so creates just the reaction that they want to see and when they know their method is effective they will continue to use it to their advantage. Secondly, don’t retaliate. This just aggravates the bully further and
creates a continuous cycle of harassment. Not only that, but it also turns a victim into an offender. Another important step is to save all the evidence and show it to a trusted adult who can take action against the bully.
Hopefully raising awareness on the issue and trying our best to prevent it can lead to a safer web environment for us all.
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