In the modern technological era, there has been increasing reliance of internet for personal recreation and business. Internet technology has transformed how people live and conduct business. It has become a virtually indispensable tool in education, entertainment, government, and business world (Willard, 2007). While it has become critical in the daily lives of adults, the internet has also become a major part of the children’s lives. Children use the internet for education purposes, online communication and social networking. Even though the internet technology affords children very useful avenue to learn, communicate and build relationships, it also opens possibility of technology misuse by children and by other users against children (Martin and Keith, 2005).
The internet has brought a new form of bullying known as cyber bullying, which has increasingly become a new emerging problem in today’s world. Cyber bullying is defined as the use of the internet technology to threaten, target, embarrass, or harass another person. It should be noted that cyber bullying relates to young people and particularly among the children; when an adult is involved, the definition of cyber bullying changes to cyber-stalking or cyber-harassment (Brown et al, 2006). This paper will discuss cyber bullying and in particular select an academic organization that has cyber bullying program. It will describe the program, when it was founded, why it was founded, its mission statement, and how it works.
Martin Springer Institute is one of the educational organizations that have a cyber-bullying program. The college has developed a comprehensive cyber bullying program to prevent bullying in the college. The program was developed in 2006. It was developed with the view of addressing the problem of cyber bullying that had become rampant among colleges and grade schools in the United States. The college has developed cyber bullying prevention resources that are aimed at protecting students from cyber bullying, as well as enabling the college to address the problem of cyber bullying as and when it arises. The college offers a variety of cyber bullying prevention resources which include books, Annual Bullying Prevention Conference, Advisements and Connections, and DVDs and films to promote discussion on all forms of bullying including cyber bullying. The program provides the basis upon which students can learn about cyber bullying, report bullying to the college administration, and punishment of cyber bullying (Martin Springer Institute, 2012).
The college offers a selection of resources about bullying prevention. These resources provide students, parents, teachers, and general public with information about cyber bullying and how to deal with this problem. The resources offer information on how to respond to cyber bullying. In addition, it provides cyber bullying prevention guides for public, parents, students, and teachers; the guide is designed to enable these categories of people to take advantage of what has been studied and accomplished over the years regarding prevention of cyber bullying. This guide provides the college’s community and the public with information about how cyber bullying has been perpetrated in the society therefore helping them know its various dimensions. Along with that, it provides information on how different schools and colleges have responded to different cases of cyber bullying (Martin Springer Institute, 2012).
In an attempt to address the challenge of cyber bullying in the college and the public at large, Martin Springer Institute provides resources that offer information on bullying statistics, fact sheets, research, solutions, stories, an strategies of helping its community and the public to stop cyber bullying. This has been instrumental in helping them realize that cyber bullying is a crime that occurs virtually everywhere and that there is need for concerted efforts to address the challenge to ensure that it reduces or possibly stops. The program further teaches students ho to respond to bullying through viewing web episodes, listening to real life stories, and participating in games (Martin Springer Institute, 2012).
More importantly, cyber bullying program in the college provides training regarding cyber bullying and how to prevent it. Students, parents, and teachers are trained from time to time about cyber bullying; the dimensions of cyber bullying, tips on internet awareness and safety, prevention of cyber bullying, and reporting cyber bullying (Martin Springer Institute, 2012). The training also entails providing safety tips for particular age groups and the potential perpetrators of cyber bullying. The training also seeks to equip the students and teachers with information of how to get the most out of the internet without necessarily being the victims of cyber bullying. Cyber bullying training also provides the forum for students and teachers to share their experiences on cyber bullying (Martin and Keith, 2005). The main focus of training about cyber bullying in Martin Springer Institute is to empower teachers, parents, students, and the public with the ability to make internet safer and enable them to get the most out of the internet while at the same time avoiding bullying risks (Martin Springer Institute, 2012).
Apart from providing information on understanding cyber bullying, prevention of cyber bullying, and reporting of cyber bullying, the college also has comprehensive program on addressing the consequences of cyber bullying on children. It is no doubt that cyber bullying, just like other forms of bullying, have negative consequences on the victims. The victims of this act tend to be affected emotionally and psychologically (Patchin and Hinduja, 2008). Studies on the psychosocial effects of cyber bullying have shown that victims tend to depict distrust of people, disillusionment, loneliness, slipping grades, withdrawal from activities and friends, changes in sleep, appetite, or mood, and lower self-esteem. There have been some more extreme impacts of cyber bullying that have led to students killing each other and others committing suicide as a result of cyber bullying incident(s) (Brown et al, 2006). It is against this background that the college has developed a program that provides counseling and emotional support to the victims of cyber bullying.
In conclusion, it is clear that internet technology has brought with it new opportunities and challenges. While it has presented new opportunities in education, communication, and social networking, it has brought with it challenges, cyber bullying being one of the main ones. Since the problem of cyber bullying is real an with far reaching consequences, educational organizations have developed cyber bullying programs aimed at addressing this problem. As has been noted, Martin Springer Institute has comprehensive cyber bullying program which not only seeks to reduce and prevent cyber bullying, but also enable students and learners to get the most out f the internet while avoiding cyber bullying.
Brown, K et al. (2006). Cyber-bullying: Developing Policy to Direct Responses that are equitable and Effective in Addressing this Special Form of Bullying. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, 57, 1-35
Martin, M and Keith, S. (2005). Cyber-bullying: Creating a Culture of Respect in a Cyber World. Reclaiming Children & Youth, 13(4), 224–228.
Martin Springer Institute. (2012). Bullying Prevention. Retrieved on 06 November, 2012 from http://www.cal.nau.edu/msi/bullying-prevention.asp
Patchin, W and Hinduja, S. (2008). Cyberbullying: An Exploratory Analysis of Factors Related to Offending and Victimization. Deviant Behavior, 29(2), 129–156.
Willard, N. (2007). Cyber Bullying and Cyber Threats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social Aggression, Threats, and Distress. Champaign, Illinois: Research Press