Digital Citizenship · Reflection · Significant Learning Environments

The Costs of Cyberbullying

This week we have focused on Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices” (Hinduja & Patchin, 2015). In a society where most people have access to some form of social media via their cell phone, cyberbullying has reached a new level. The ability to remain anonymous and say things that one would never have the courage to say face-to-face has led to the feeling of being able to say whatever one wants. Because of this, cyberbullying is becoming a major issue for both adults and children alike

To me, one of the most pertinent and current cyberbullying examples is found in the presidential campaigns. Supporters for Bernie, Hillary and Trump can all be found on social media berating and insulting the opposing parties. When did this become the way to support your candidate? I saw the same type of behavior in 2012 and unfriended or unfollowed many people on Facebook. I think Hillary has been hit harder than many candidates due to her husband’s previous infidelity. She has noted that she thinks Trump will use this against her during the campaign and she tries not to take it personally. However, this seems like a shameful way to try and when the Presidency of our great country.

Politics aside, cyberbullying is seen on all forms of social media and internet. Teenagers are the most common victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying. This is a scary fact to me. The group most vulnerable is the group that is participating the most. One, teenagers’ brains are not fully developed and therefore, their decision making is not always rationale. Bullies don’t’ necessarily understand the repercussions of their actions while those being bullied have a difficult time processing and dealing with the harassment. This leads to depression, loss of desire to participate in activities one used to enjoy, lack of sleep or appetite and even suicide.

With all of the information out there on the effects of cyberbullying, what can be done? A lot of cyberbullying is done outside of school but is continued within those 4 walls. What is the responsibility of the school? What is the responsibility of the parents? There is definitely a grey area surrounding who is responsible. So how do we teach kids about the dangers of cyberbullying? Throughout my discussion with colleagues this week, it seems like a camp or program to teach kids about the effects of cyberbullying would, perhaps, have the most impact. The goal would be not to simply focus on the victims, but also to focus on those who offended in order to help the bullies understand the consequences of their actions. I hope to incorporate this debate into my 7th and 8th grade iPad bootcamp in the coming weeks in order to bring light to cyberbullying as well as the ramifications.

References:

Cavanaugh, M. A. (n.d.). Cyberbullying Can Have Deadly Consequences. Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://aspeneducation.crchealth.com/article-cyberbulling-consequences/

Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2015). Bullying beyond the schoolyard: Preventing and responding to cyperbullying. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Merica, D. (2016, April 22). Clinton’s advice on cyberbullying: ‘Don’t take it personally’ Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/22/politics/hillary-clinton-cyberbullying-internet/

Should Schools Protect Kids from Cyberbullying? [PDF]. (2016). Advancing Academic Langauge for All. Retrieved from http://aala.serpmedia.org/files/6513/6537/5304/3.16_aala_r.pdf

Talukder, G. (2013, March 20). Decision-making is Still a Work in Progress for Teenagers. Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://brainconnection.brainhq.com/2013/03/20/decision-making-is-still-a-work-in-progress-for-teenagers/

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