As advances in digital technologies, such as social networks and chat rooms increase, issues like digital security and cyberbullying become even more prevalent (Smith,Mahdavi, Carvalho Tippett, 2006).
What Is Cyberbullying?
Sourander et al. (2010) define cyberbullying as: “an aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or individual, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself.”
Smith et al. (2006) break the definition of cyberbullying into 7 sub-categories:
- Text message bullying
- Picture/ Video Clip bullying (via mobile phone cameras)
- Phone call bullying (via mobile phones)
- Email bullying
- Chat-room bullying
- Bullying through instant messaging
- Bullying via websites
How Big Is The Problem Of Cyberbullying?
A 2009 study by the Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study (ACBPS) found that 7-10% of Australian Year 4 – Year 9 students said they were bullied by means of technology over the school term. At a first glance, I found these numbers surprisingly low in comparison to the 27% of Australian students that reported being bullied by traditional means (Cross et al, 2009). However, it is important to note that unlike traditional bullies, Cyber-bullies have twenty-four hour access to social networks, emails and online chat rooms (Sourander et al., 2010, p.6), meaning they can torment other students twenty-four hours a day if the right digital security measures aren’t in place. Sourander et al. (2010, p.1) explains that victims’ inability to escape being bullied in their home life means the effects of cyberbullying can be far more detrimental to their mental health.
This posed the question, ‘What can I do to prevent cyberbullying?’ I found three informative websites to help me find the answer:
Additionally, the video below discusses how parents and teachers can work towards stopping cyberbullying.
Cross, D., Shaw, T., Hearn, L., Epstein, M., Monks, H., Lester, L., & Thomas, L. (2009). Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study (ACBPS). Perth, WA: Child Health Promotion Research Centre, Edith Cowan University.
Smith, PK., Mahdavi J., Carvalho M., Fisher S., Russell S., Tippett N. (2006). An Investigation Into Cyberbullying, Its Forms, Awareness And Impact, And The Relationship Between Age And Gender In Cyberbullying. A Report to the AntiBullying Alliance (Brief Number RBX03-06). Retrieved from http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130401151715/https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/RBX03-06.pdf
Sourander, A. Klomek, AB., Ikonen, M., Lindroos, J., Luntamo, T., Koskelainen, M.,… Helenius, H. (2010). Psychosocial Risk Factors Associated With Cyberbullying Among Adolescents. Arch Gen Psychiatry 67(7), 1,6. Retrieved from http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=210833
University of Minnesota. (2010, October 14). How can we stop cyberbullying?[Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/nQ8gDVlZoZc