Cyber bullying is referred to as a form of bullying that is known to take place through the use of electronics such as mobile phones and over the internet. Furthermore, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter among many others, chat, text messages as well as websites are avenues through which cyber bullying can take place. It is to be noted that cyber bullying often is between kids, teens or even pre-teens and it will involve emails, text messages as well as rumors that are spread or posted on a social site over the internet or through the phone. Picture messages that are embarrassing, websites and even videos in addition to fake profiles are some of the means through which cyber bullying can take place. It has become quite a common social menace among young people and often those that have been victims of cyber bullying have been at one time bullied in person. Cyber bullying has great negative impacts on the life of the victims and therefore, should be dealt with accordingly by the relevant stakeholders who include parents, teachers as well as the government.
Characteristics of cyber bullying
Cyber bullying can take place at any time of the day, that is, 24/7. The kids that are targeted can be reached at any time when they are with the parents or guardians as well as when they are alone (Hoff, & Mitchell, 2009). This means that cyber bullying can take place either during the day or during the night. This trait of cyber bullying makes it quite difficult for parents or even guardians to monitor their children and even become aware of them being bullied.
The second characteristic that is associated with cyber bullying is that the messages and the pictures being sent to the targeted kid can be done anonymously and can easily be distributed within a short time to a large number of people using the same sites(Hoff, & Mitchell, 2009). This is a big problem when it comes to dealing with the issue of cyber bullying because it becomes difficult to trace where the message or even picture have originated from so that the culprit can be brought to book.
Finally, it is important to note that cyber bullying has quite a long lasting impact on the targeted victims. This is based on the reason that after the harassing messages, pictures or even the texts have been posted on the sites; it becomes quite difficult to erase or even delete those messages(Mishna, Khoury-Kassabri, Gadalla, & Daciuk2012). This means that every time the kid being bullied will view them and this will keep tormenting them and therefore, there is need to address such kind of issue by the relevant stakeholders.
Negative effects of cyber bullying
Any form of vice in the society often has its negative effects on those people that it is directed towards. In this case, cyber bullying has some of the greatest harmful effects on the lives of the kids who are victims(Mishna, Khoury-Kassabri, Gadalla, & Daciuk2012). Some of the negative impacts of cyber bullying on kids include the indulgence in drugs or even alcohol. When a kid is a victim of cyber bullying, they become frustrated. This results in the use of drugs as well as alcohol. The other negative effects of cyber bullying include the kids skipping school hence their education life becomes ruined since they tend to avoid their bullies (Campbell, 2005). The performance of the bullied kid will tend to drop as they will lack interest in their studies. Furthermore, the bullied kid will be affected in terms of their personality. The bullied kid will experience lower self-esteem since they will become afraid of facing their tormentor or even interact with other kids as they used to since they will be ridiculed (Mishna, Khoury-Kassabri, Gadalla, & Daciuk2012). Finally, it is to be noted that children or kids that experience cyber bullying will tend to experiences health complications and problems such as stress which may lead to other serious health problems.
Causes of Cyber bullying
There are several causes which have been identified that result in cyber bullying among kids. One of the causes is the motivation for revenge. Some of the cases of cyber bullying are as a result of kids who have been bullied in the past and therefore want to do the same to others. The second cause of cyber bullying is the belief by other kids that the victims often deserve to be bullied(Mishna, Khoury-Kassabri, Gadalla, & Daciuk2012). For example, if a certain kid is thought to be mean to others, they may decide to bully the kid to make them change or in retaliation to their meanness. Thirdly, some kids bully others because of boredom. They are looking for fun and therefore, they think that bullying others will help cheer them up. The other causes which have been identified include peer pressure from others that have been involved in cyber bullying, the perception that everyone else is involved in cyber bullying, and the beliefs that they will not be caught due to the anonymity involved(Mishna, Khoury-Kassabri, Gadalla, & Daciuk2012). Finally, hunger for power especially for kids from well-off families towards poor kids is also a cause in addition to lack of empathy for other kids.
According to National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statisticsin the year 2010-2011 about 9% among the students that are in the 6–12 grades have at one time had an experience of cyberbullying. In the year 2013, according to Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Surveyabout 15% of the 9-12 grade students in high school to have experienced cyber bullying over the past year 2012.
In conclusion, cyber bullying has become one of the most committed criminal acts among the young people and kids. However, due to the continued technological developments, it has become quite a challenge to handle the issue of cyber bullying. It is also quite difficult to determine the exact number of cases of cyber bullying considering that some of them are not reported to parents or even authorities in the schools.
Campbell, M. A. (2005). Cyber Bullying: An Old Problem in a New Guise?.Australian journal of Guidance and Counselling, 15(01), 68-76.
Hoff, D. L., & Mitchell, S. N. (2009). Cyberbullying: Causes, effects, and remedies. Journal of Educational Administration, 47(5), 652-665.
Mishna, F., Khoury-Kassabri, M., Gadalla, T., &Daciuk, J. (2012). Risk factors for involvement in cyber bullying: Victims, bullies and bully–victims. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(1), 63-70.