In the past few years, the use of digital media and modern technologies has increased to a massive extent. Though, these innovations and technologies have brought a large number of benefits and opportunities for all kinds of people. However, at the same time they have introduced a wide variety of threats and crimes. In this scenario, cyberbullying is one of the latest emerging crimes that are performed with the support of digital media. Basically, cyberbullying is the latest form of digital media or electronic (by means of computers and mobile phones) harassment or blackmailing that is repeated eventually and entails a power inequality. Additionally, it is believed to be a violent, intended act conducted by an individual or a group, by making use of communication tools supported by digital media, repetitively as well as ultimately against a sufferer who cannot simply protect him or herself. In the past few years, the occurrences and potential for cyberbullying have increased with the growing dissemination of mobile phones and networked computers among young people. Some of the major instances of cyberbullying can comprise having confidential emails of text messages forwarded, getting frightening messages, discomforting images distributed or rumors spread on the Internet (Cheng, 2012; Ortega, Calmaestra, & Mercha¡n, 2008).
In addition, cyberbullying is not limited to any specific country and it is very common throughout the world. However, Cyberbullying rates differ from time to time and location to location. The research has shown that almost 10–50 of young people undergo some kind of digital media based cyberbullying or harassment. In addition, the results of these threats can appear in the forms of depression, school avoidance and suicide. Moreover, interference gives emphasis to the role of teachers and parents in educating young people about adopting security and privacy measures while using digital media and technologies (Cheng, 2012; Ortega, Calmaestra, & Mercha¡n, 2008). This paper presents a detailed analysis of cyberbullying. The basic purpose of this research is to offer an understanding of the concept and suggest some steps to avoid such serious acts.
Cyberbullying: An Overview
Cyberbullying is the process of using digital media and technologies such as instant messaging, mobile phones, chat rooms, e-mail, or social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter with the purpose of carrying out some specific criminal tasks such as threatening, harassment or intimidate someone. The research has shown that these criminal activities are often performed by children, who have increasingly untimely access to these technologies. However, cyberbullying is difficult to detect for the reason that a person who is carrying out this act can cover himself behind an electronic cover, making his or her true identity difficult to detect. In this scenario, this confidentiality offered by the digital media strengthens the behavior of bullies and allows them to act more violently than they might have acted confronting each other. Additionally, cyberbullying is an umbrella term which covers a wide range of digital crimes such as sending provoking racial or abuse or ethnic slurs, threatening someone, putting an attempt to infect someone’s computer with a virus, gay bashing, and flooding an e-mail inbox with useless messages (Rouse, 2010; Silverman, 2013).
Though, there are so many ways to deal with these acts however the best ways is to train yourself and get aware of these latest crimes. In this scenario, a victim can take in hand cyberbullying somewhat by off-putting computer connection time, never clicking or responding e-mail messages from persons or sources you do not identify or from identified persons and sources of unnecessary communications and not reacting to aggressive or insulting messages. Moreover, some other actions can comprise whitelisting or blacklisting e-mail accounts, changing ISPs, updating email addresses, attempting to trace the source and changing cell phone numbers or accounts. In this scenario, there are still confusions about cyberbullying laws for the reason that the use of online communications and digital media has increased so quickly and the crime is comparatively new. On the other hand, this crime is considered under available laws and regulations against personal harassment and threats. It is also recommended to notify the local police department or discuss this matter with a legal representative. However, it is not suggested that you get your own back in kind for the reason that such act can cause sensitive attacks, or criminal charges or even civil actions against you (Rouse, 2010; Silverman, 2013).
As discussed above, these crimes are specifically designed for young people who have new got access to the latest technologies such as mobile phones or the Internet. Hence, the majority of cyberbullying victims are students anywhere they can be able to use their cell phones or a computer no matter where they are at home, at a relative or friend’s house, at school, and even at the mall or on the bus. In this scenario, a most recent study has shown that more than 50 of preteens and more than 30 of teens are cyber bullied when they are studying at school level (Feinberg & Robey, 2009; Davis, 2011).
Though, the majority of schools have taken significant steps to prevent their students from these criminal acts while they are at school. Additionally, at the present a large number of schools install and use filtering software applications and tools that help stop students from making use of school computers to perform these acts against other students. However, it does not show that cyberbullying is not an element of the school environment or the accomplishment of these practices does not have negative effects on students’ experience while they stay at school. In fact, it raises a number of concerns and questions on the subject of privilege and scope of school involvement. For example, what is the role of school if a student performs such an act against another student using an email or text message while actually remaining outside the campus? In the same way, if a student uses social network site to distribute a nasty message about another student while sitting outside the school but the other student does not know about it until other students talk about it in class. Moreover, taking into consideration such scenarios and concerns and having discussion with respective staff members and legal authority is very important to deal with cyberbullying (Feinberg & Robey, 2009).
In their research article, (Feinberg & Robey, 2009) discuss the nature and characteristics of victims and cyberbullies. According to their research findings, victims of cyberbullying are more likely to be female similar to male and more likely to be older, instead of young people. Additionally, sometimes there is no relationship between victims and cyberbullies and both are strangers to each other; however in many cases they know each other very well. In addition, some cyberbullies work individually and some work in a team, with the purpose of making it hard for others to recognize the attacker.
In addition, sometimes cyberbullying is done to attain certain goals and objectives. For instance, in some cases cyberbullies consider themselves as vigilantes who are attempting to protect others who are suffering through cyberbullying. Additionally, the majority of cyberbullying attacks are launched to hold power over others through terror. For instance, for victims who are usually believed to be pathetic within society or physically, cyberspace can provide with a great deal of power and control through secrecy or through superior ability of implementing and controlling latest technologies. Additionally, female cyberbullies normally work in a group for launching an attack and can simply be uninterested or feel defensible in their Internet attack of a not as much of the publicly expert peer. The research has shown that the majority of cyberbullying victims comprise those people who have been targeted through traditional bullying. In this scenario, victims of cyberbullying are more disliked, out-of-the-way, unhappy, nervous, and scared than other peers (Feinberg & Robey, 2009; Davis, 2011; Silverman, 2013).
Recommendations and Suggestions
In view of the fact that cyberbullying is increasingly launched for young people so schools and educational institutes can play a significant role in overcoming this serious crime. In this scenario, one of the most well-liked interference strategies that are taken on the majority of people is avoidance, for instance, changing their e-mail addresses or blocking messages. Though, this practice can be helpful for individuals, however it brings little to change the on the whole conduct. Additionally, principals of schools should work in cooperation with staff members, students and their parents in an attempt to stop and act in response more efficiently to cyberbullying (Feinberg & Robey, 2009; Davis, 2011; Silverman, 2013).
In addition, principles and information regarding cyberbullying should be incorporated into all applicable school strategies and plans. These strategies and policies must take into consideration all the forms of cyberbullying such as harassment, sexual harassment, and mobile phone and Internet use policies. It is the responsibility of principals that they fully cooperate with their staff members in creating an apparent definition and description of cyberbullying, identifying how its effect on students’ stay in school will be determined, and developing mechanisms for documenting and reporting cyberbullying, superseding, and working together with particular law firms. Moreover, necessary training and education should be provided to staff members, parents and students on the subject of cyberbullying. This training should cover all the important aspects of cyberbullying such as where and how most cyberbullying takes place, how to be familiar with the actions and performance, its harmful effects (such as behavioral, social, and educational), and ways to stop and deal with cyberbullying. In this scenario, the active participation and interest of parents is critical for the reason that most of cyberbullying attacks are commenced at home. Hence, the knowledge and training gained by parents can help them understand how digital media such as social networking sites work (like Facebook or Twitter etc), signs that point toward that their kid is being attacked or is attacking others. They should get knowledge of how to talk and deal with their children on the subject of cyberbullying, and what support can be taken from their school. In the same way, teach students and children to be internet savvy (Feinberg & Robey, 2009; Davis, 2011; Silverman, 2013).
In the past few years, there have emerged a large number of innovative tools and technologies that have modernized the entire world. Though, they bring innovative ways to manage daily tasks however they have also given birth to many criminal acts. This paper has presented a detailed discussion on the concept of cyberbullying. In the past few years, cyberbullying has emerged as a very serious criminal act that is supported through modern technologies. That is why, these criminal acts are difficult to avoid and detect. The research has shown that these acts are conducted by young people and their victims are also their age or class fellows. The research has also presented the ways they adopt to launch these attacks. These attacks have serious negative effects on behavior of young people which can negatively affect the emotional, social and academic working of the victim. Principals and teachers must work with parents and community agencies to deal with the problem. In addition, parents should strictly monitor the activities of their children.
Cheng, K. (2012). Cyberbullying. Neuropsychiatrie de l’Enfance et de l’Adolescence, Volume 60 Issue 5, pp. 118-119.
Davis, M. (2011). Cyberbullying. Library Media Connection, Volume 29 Issue 6, p.30.
Feinberg, T., & Robey, N. (2009). Cyberbullying. The Education Digest Volume 74 Issue 7, pp. 26-31.
Ortega, R., Calmaestra, J., & Mercha¡n, J.n. M. (2008). Cyberbullying. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, volume 8 Issue 2, pp. 183-192.
Rouse, M. (2010, October). cyberbullying. Retrieved April 20, 2013, from TechTarget.com: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/cyberbullying
Silverman, J. (2013). Is cyberbullying getting out of control? Retrieved April 20, 2013, from HowStuffWorks: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/cyberbullying1.htm