When entering college, many students think it is a time to start over and create a new identity for themselves away from their high school bullies and rumors. But with the increased use of social networking sites, such as Facebook, the bullying extends past the high school halls and elementary school playground. Occurrences of cyber bullying included posting bad pictures of classmates on social networking sites, writing mean statements about other students and creating new social networking pages to bash other students. According to an iSafe survey conducted in 2006, 75 percent of students admit to visiting Web sites created to bash other students. Sarah DeHaas, professor of education, on what exactly cyber bullying is and how social networking promotes the frequency of it.
What exactly is cyber bullying?
Cyber bullying is bullying using technology; primarily e-mail, social networking, and the Internet, in general. Bullying is a conscious and willful act intended to harm another person and is more than just occasional teasing. The bully gains pleasure in the other person’s distress. There are four types of bullying: verbal, physical, relational and sexual. Physical bullying cannot occur online but the threat of physical bullying can be presented. Primarily males use physical bulling, verbal bullying is equally used by both genders, while relational bullying is used primarily by females. Relational bullying, also called relational aggression, occurs when one or more people try to make others feel bad by ostracizing, ignoring, or excluding those individuals.
Bullying consists of four components. First, there is an imbalance of power. On the playground, it is often the biggest, meanest, loudest kid – but with cyber bullying, the computer and the words (and photographs used) is power itself. A group of kids using technology equals power in numbers. The second element is the intent to harm. The third is the threat for further aggression, in other words this is not just one time, which is what we call “systematic intimidation.” When bullying increases, terror may be promoted.
How does the frequent use of social networking sites promote cyber bulling?
The availability of technology and social networking increases one’s access to people, which increases the opportunity for bullying. It is likely that since there is not face-to-face interaction, people may bully more because they think it is private and free of consequence.
If you would like more information feel free to contact Dr. Sarah DeHaas at phone extension 3641 or through email email@example.com.
-Moira Nugent ’11, Juniata Online Journalist