Lauren JonesENG 1113/24/2012Inquiry 3 Final Draft Cyber Bullying: What affect does this have on children? Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, MySpace, Xanga, and many others are all examples of socialnetworking sites that children are using these days. While having an account with any of these sites maybe entertaining and keep you in touch with your friends, there is some risk that comes along with it. Ican almost guarantee that more people than not have experienced some sort of cyber bullying. Cyberbullying is the use of the internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate,repeated, and hostile manner, according to Wikipedia. So why am I writing about this you may ask?Well, in my junior year of high school I experienced quite a bit of cyber bullying over Facebook andthrough text messages and phone calls. So the reason in which I chose it is quite simple, I want people toknow the harmful effects cyber bullying has on children that have experienced it. In the book by Carl Timm and Richard Perez, Seven Deadliest Social Network Attacks, theauthors talk about different cases of attacks via the interweb and one of these attacks was cyberbullying. The book describes cyber bullying as a “new and more sophisticated method of bullying, onewhich can be done with a level of stealth and disguise and allows individuals to follow kids homevirtually.” (Timm, Perez 99) This source specifically states that if adults are involved in cyber bullying, it isno longer considered bullying but is considered harassment. As a result of cyber bullying, some peoplehave ended up going on a murder spree, killing others as a result of their fits of anger and rage. Otherpeople have not been so “strong” (if you wish to call it that) and have ended up taking their own lives inthe effort to make the bullying stop.
The story about Megan Meier, of Missouri, is displayed in the text of this book. Megan, athirteen year old girl who was soon about to turn fourteen, started receiving messages over MySpacefrom a boy who insisted that she could not contact him any other way other than the internet. After afew months of the two talking, Megan had her MySpace account taken away by her mother, and aftermuch deliberation her mother gave her the account back. Soon after Megan logged onto the accountshe realized that this “boy” had documented what they were saying back and forth to each other,privately, and displayed it for all of her classmates to see. Many other people had joined in to say thingsabout Megan that was extremely hurtful to her. Later that day, while her parents were preparing dinner,Megan killed herself by hanging in her closet. (Timm, Perez 100-101). This is just one of the manysuicides that I read about in researching the topic of cyber bullying. Many teenagers wrote their parentsnotes about how they didn’t wish to live anymore due to the fact that so many people “hated” them asthey called it, when in reality no one hated them they were just being bullied. In a study done by ABC news in March of 2011, three teenage girls were sent into localrestaurants and coffee shops and asked to “make fun of” a girl by looking at her facebook page.(Sawyer) Not only were these girls asked to look at the page, but they were asked to eventually engagepeople around them to take part in their bullying. Out of about 5 incidents, only one man took part inthe cyber bullying, while it should have been none the man admitted later that he thought it was just aharmless joke. (Sawyer) As it says in the interview, the people who were involved only said something tothese girls about how mean they were being after they approached them. (Sawyer) Many of the peopleinvolved had strong feelings, which were expressed through the hidden cameras, about this certainsubject. After being interviewed about why they felt so strongly, many of them revealed that they hadbeen bullied as children also so they knew what it felt like. For the people who experienced it, theyobviously know now how to deal with that kind of bullying and were able to pull through and make
something of themselves. But what if they hadn’t been so lucky? What if they, too, had given up likeMegan? Sometimes even the most innocent-looking people can be the ones bullying other kids. My bestfriend, Mary, was also a victim of cyber bullying. During Mary’s sophomore year of high school she wasfaced with many challenges; school was getting harder, OGT’s were coming up, and her boyfriend of twoand a half years had cheated on her with some girl he barely knew. Along with all of this, Mary and oneof her best friends had gotten into a fight, over something stupid except this time her friend took it toofar. Mary had shared stories with her friend about times when she didn’t feel like living anymorebecause life was getting entirely too unbearable. The very next day after the two had gotten into thefight, Mary’s friend had posted the messages that Mary sent her on her facebook. People immediatelystarted commenting on them, few were nice at all. Most started talking about how they always knewshe was weak and couldn’t handle anything, or about how she was ugly anyways and she should killherself to lessen the amount of “uglies” in the world. I remember all of this very vividly because I wasright by her side with every tear and every fit of anger. The bullying continued for a matter of weeks andeventually Mary took it to the principal of our high school who suspended one of the boys who told herto kill herself. She was so close to taking her life within those weeks, but she says it was her friends thatheld her together. Years later, Mary still has to go to a psychologist regularly just to make sure that shehasn’t gotten to the point where she wants to take her life. Many kids don’t realize the effects that bullying has, let alone bullying someone over theinternet. Anyone who has been bullied can tell you, when you’re bullied at school, home is the safeplace to be. But with cyber bullying, kids can reach you anywhere that you are as long as you haveinternet access, making it impossible to feel safe anymore. In the book by Dorothy Espelage and SusanM. Swearer, Bullying in North American Schools, the author’s talk about the characteristics of bullying. In
a study done in this book, they found that boys more so than girls felt more victimized and bullied.While boys experienced more physical bullying, girls experienced more rumors spread and sexualcomments made about them. (Espelage, Swearer 14). The authors think that the reason more boys wereperpetrators of bullying is because the definition says physical and social aggression but does notdifferentiate between the two. Youth who are targeted by text messaging-based harassment are sixtimes more likely to feel unsafe at school even after the concurrence of school-based harassment andthe amount of text messaging are accounted for. (Espelage, Swearer 70). Later on in this page, it goes onto say how young people who are victims of an internet-based bullying are more likely to bring weaponsto school with them, along with other behaviors that are out of the ordinary. Although the two weren’t “bullied” into shooting the entire school, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harrisreportedly envied the lives of all of the popular kids. On the morning of April 20, 1999 students werewalking to and from class, but little did they know their lives were about to change forever. Promptly at11:30 AM Klebold and Harris ran into the halls of their high school and started screaming and shootingat anyone and everyone. Obsessed with violent video games and military warfare, the two hadassembled a small arsenal of guns, planning to kill as many people as possible. I was seven years old atthe time of the Columbine shooting, so I don’t remember too much about it except that my family wasvery upset and nervous. A few years later I had figured out why my family was in such an up rise. A fewof my grandmother’s cousins live out in Colorado, Littleton to be exact. One of her cousins was a cop,who happened to be sent into the high school on that fateful day, luckily though he made it out alive.Most people don’t realize that even by not doing anything, and leaving something alone, can do a lot ofharm rather than speaking up and actually saying something. The preface to the book by Shaheen Shariff is the suicide note found from Hamed Nastoah afterhe committed suicide. The book is called, Cyber-bullying: Issues and Solutions for the school, the
classroom, and home. This book was written toward the beginning of the “cyber bullying age” and talksabout the uprising of this new phenomenon. Shaheen writes about how one day she came home to herdaughter pale and frightened from an email, “You don’t know me . . . But I know you . . . I’ve beenwatching you at school . . . And if you don’t want to die . . . I’d sleep with one eye open Down on yourknees, bitch! Raveger, Raveger.” (Shariff 5). Later Shaheen found out that three boys had sent this emailto her daughter, one of them was angry because after many failed attempts, her daughter still wouldnot go on a date with him. The boys decided to “fess up” after learning that the police were involved. Ifyou ask me, that’s a bit extreme why should you get so angry that you send a hurtful email to someonejust because they don’t like you? After studying all of these different sources, I could not find a single source to oppose my viewpoint. Everyone agrees that cyber bullying is wrong and we need to find a way to stop it before itbecomes an epidemic. Most sources suggest that you go to school officials and talk to them about waysto prevent bullying, but that can only go so far. What needs to be done, is educating the parents ofevery student as to what their kids are getting into and how they can stop it before something happensthat they will regret. I completely agree with the fact that anyone under the age of eighteen needs to bemonitored while logging onto the internet because of the amount of under aged bullying that hasoccurred in recent years. I would definitely say that after reading, watching videos, and conducting theinterview, I now have a broader understanding to the effects that cyber bullying has on children besidesmy own opinion.
Works CitedEspelage, Dorothy L. Swearer, Susan M. Bullying In North American Schools. New York City: Routledge. 2011Sawyer, Diane. Harmless Joke or Cyber-Bullying? March 12, 2011. March 18, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4EjrFPAbbYShariff, Shaheen. Cyber-bullying: Issues and Solutions for the school, the classroom and home. Florence: Routledge. 2008.Simpson, Mary. Personal interview. March 15, 2012.Timm, Carl Perez, Richard. Seven Deadliest Social Network Attacks. Burlington: Elsevier. 2010.