Cyber Bullying Analysis
With the advances in technology, there have been reports of increased cases of cyber bullying with some ending up in death. Thus it is important to critically view the issue. Cyber bullying can be traced all the way back to the invention and widespread use of text messaging. From that point, it became cheap and easy to send a written message across great distances. Initial cases of bullying using text messages were recorded in the first years of the full use of the service. As people around the world acquired more devices, cyber bullying has spread ever more. The technological and social advancements promise that the problem is one that is here to stay. Therefore, there is a serious need for an open and comprehensive discussion of the issue. It cannot be allowed to continue taking the lives of young people.
The paper shall explore numerous primary and secondary research papers so as to incorporate different perspectives including individual, ideological, community and national perspectives on the issue of cyber bullying. The aim of the primary research is to collect data which can be readily used to reflect real world situations. However, the paper shall rely on secondary research for the most part. It is cheaper to conduct and students get to learn from more qualified and experienced people than they are. At the end, the paper should prove that cyber bullying has grown in tandem with the acquisition of the relevant technology. It will also show that most people understand that cyber bullying is an issue but they do not know how serious it is.
Cyber bullying is a form of harassment that takes place over digital devices. With increased usage of digital devices, many people, especially the young generation, have found themselves victims of this form of harassment. Despite several instances of cyber bullying, only few cases get reported. This is because the perpetrators are often senior or even threat their victims. It is important to note that when people understand the gravity of the problem, they are more likely to engage in seeking as well as implementing available solutions (Patching & Hinduja 126). In as much as many people know that cyber bullying is a problem, many people do not understand the gravity of its consequences, particularly on the victims.
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In his study Katz (79) showed that people tend to buy mobile smart phones and use them as a primary source of entertainment and work platform. In the past, these individual devices were just not powerful enough. One needed a personal computer to store information and perform intensive tasks. However, that has changed. More powerful devices mean that someone can subsist using a mobile device only (Katz 80). With an iPad on ones lap, a user can work, watch movies, and pay bills. That means that there are fewer communal entertainment terminals and the use of the internet is highly personalized even at home. One result of the reality is that it has made it more difficult for people to notice the ones who are suffering from abuse. In support of this assertion, Rivers & Duncan (132) outlines how human interactions are now less communal than before. People prefer to have one-on-one conversations if they have to. Therefore, when something starts happening to a sibling or a child, there is a tendency to keep away. No one wants to be accused of having breached privacy of another person so they pretend that they have not seen anything (Rivers & Duncan 132). In that way, bullies continue committing atrocities without getting caught while victims do not get the help they need. An additional result is that individualization of communication makes any online communication deeply personal. There are many comments that one could ignore in public but he or she pays attention to in private. When one has a single outside line connecting him/her to the world, he or she tends to cherish it. When a young lady spends days and nights using Twitter, she will value the opinions of strangers over those of people who actually know her (Katz 59). To her, the conversations on Twitter are deeply personal and they are her life. For that reason, she is extremely vulnerable to cyber bullying.
In his article, Spivet notes that most cases of cyber bullying are tied to sexuality thus making it a deeply personal problem. Already, one considers his/her telephone a personal space that should not be violated. When one adds in sexuality and the internet, there is a high potential for bullying. What happens is that victims would rather stay silent than come out and get help. In case of blackmail, many victims have chosen to kill themselves rather than be exposed to the society (Spivet 141). Indeed, the internet is so important that many live and die with its activities and that makes cyber bullying quite deadly.
At a personal level, most individuals understand that it is important to deal with cyber bullying. Numerous studies have proved that a large percentage of internet users have faced abuse of one type or another. However, in many cases the abuse is mild and does not require reporting. Racial slurs are seen as par for the course on online gaming platforms while misogyny is the language spoken on platforms like 4Chan (Rivers & Duncan 150). Therefore, many have encountered the problem first hand. The question is whether or not people are angry enough to organize determined movements against those who go online to insult, belittle, and abuse others.
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Taking into consideration the results, it does not appear that most people have looked for ways of influencing policy designed to deal with cyber bullying. In the United States, for example, there have been some actions at the local and state levels but very little movement at the national level. It is understandable that the country is distracted and will find it difficult to focus on such a mundane issue (Rivers & Duncan 149). However, it is critical now and it will be in the future. Hopefully, internet users will realize how serious the situation is and handle it with all the seriousness it deserves.
Different communities view cyber bullying differently depending on how they are impacted by it. For example, while liberal communities attach a greater concern to the problem, conservative ones seem to attach a lesser weight to the problem (Roche 78).). American community seems divided regarding the gravity of cyber bullying and this makes the officials reluctant to look for any solution. Because of different opinions of various communities in regard to the problem, each community has formulated its own strategy of dealing with the problem.It is important to contrasts two reactions to the problem in different states to show just how important community participation is. In Seattle, cyber bullying is taken seriously and there are publicly funded classes regarding the subject. Children are taught what cyber bullying is, how to recognize it, and what to do when they see it (Roche 78). The result has been a decrease in the rates of reported cyber bullying cases. In Alabama, school funding has been cut a few times as the government tries to balance the budget. When a community is focused on a problem, it usually finds a way to solve it.
Studies have shown that one of the most effective ways of getting a community involved is through telling personal stories. Most people will not internalize a problem until it affects them or people they happen to know (Kowalski, Limber and Agatson 64). Therefore, it is critical for individuals who have been victims of cyber bullying to open up. They need to show the public that the problem is right there in the community. Few witnesses will then encourage others to follow them and then the community will be open to holistic interventions. The main thing is to get the members involved and to give them accurate information.
Just like at the community level, the national level discussions have been marred with intrigues and divisions. It is amazing that a nation like the US would have a president who is himself a master of cyber bullying. It is undoubted that he has used Twitter to attack people of all stripes as well encourage his supporters to do the same (Rivers & Duncan 165). Conversely, a section of public and government officials has been vocal on cyber bullying citing that it is an emergent and dangerous issue that should be confronted with urgency. Because of this division among government officials, finding solutions to cyber bullying is an uphill task. What has happened now is that it has become almost impossible to discuss the situation soberly and find a holistic solution in the process. Take the contradiction brought forward by the US First Ladys campaign against cyber bullying as an example. When someone asks a valid question related to her husbands activities, it will be seen as awkward. Therefore, the program will go on pretending that it serves the purposes it was created for. When a nation cannot have a discussion with itself, then there is no chance to solve a problem. It cannot come up with a solution that will hold it together and drive it forward.
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Finally, it is worth noting that at the national level both sides can be just as bad when it comes to dishing out abuse. Right wing provocateurs like Richard Spencer have used the internet to bully other national figures (BBC 1). They have significantly targeted their assaults at female reporters. In regard to the left wing, there are antifascists who are determined to exposed every Nazi they can find even if innocent people get caught in the crossfire. The effect is a lawless cyber environment where users, young and old alike, are exposed to enormous amounts of abuse.
In some countries, the question is whether or not the government is more concerned with the privacy or the health of the internet. An ideal solution to cyber bullying would be creation of an agency that protects the privacy of the users while exposing those who use the platforms to bully others (Roche 90). However, in closed communities like China, the government will be more concerned with what one shares than in whether there are cyber bullies lurking online. Therefore, it does depend on whether or not the nation is focused on dealing with cyber bullies in an effective manner. An ideological perspective is highly volatile as it depends on a countrys political situation. Any discussion on cyber bullying often has to be in touch with the views of the president and the moment this happens people tend to take political sides and defend their ideological mates (Brown 93). As a result, it is almost impossible to have a logical conversation over the issue and come up with viable solutions. Most ideological views are clouded with political interest which hinders productive discussion. In this particular instance, ideological differences have totally halted any deliberations and forced people to adopt often divergent strategies.
One of the best examples of such an ideological division is a discussion regarding whether or not the US President is using Twitter responsibly. The social media company has said that the president has not violated any of its conditions in spite of several clear gaffes. It has also said that it cannot deactivate the account due to public concerns. Right wing politicians say that the presidents Twitter use is okay while those of the left wing oppose it vehemently (Rivers & Duncan 163). The nation cannot find a solution when the two sides cannot even agree on whether a tweet is appropriate or not.
Alcock and Savada (57) express a counter argument, highlighting that cyber bullying should be a non-partisan issue. It should be on a platform together with public health and the value of protecting children. That is because there are values which should told to each and every person. The most important is that bad people should not be allowed to hurt innocent people without being punished (Alcock & Savada 58). The society should stand up as one and demand that the internet becomes a safe place for its users. One should not be afraid that his or her child will kill him or herself after an Internet session. Hopefully, nations around the world will see the need for a united approach.
There has been a movement towards personalization of entertainment and that has directly led to an increase in the levels of cyber bullying. For many people, mobile devices and social media accounts are very personal. They are an extension of who they are and there are people whose social lives begin and end with Twitter and Instagram. For these people, an intensely personal nature of the devices and accounts means that they are quite vulnerable to manipulation and bullying. It would be better to socialize the use of smart phones and social media so as to diffuse some of the pressure.
The research has found that many people at personal level do feel that they understand cyber bullying. For instance, an informal survey showed that 14 out of 20 respondents have encountered a case of cyber bullying. One of them actually reported a very serious case where her life was threatened. Therefore, citizens have the understanding of the prevalence of the problem. However, many still think that cyber bullying incidents are isolated and not serious. It will be important to convince them it is not like that so as to move towards a solution. The information also shows that social structure and culture of a community directly affects how it deals with cyber bullying. In conservative societies, the problem is kept hidden. There are few avenues to deal with the problem and in the end the victims find that they have no one to talk to. However, liberal societies encourage the discussion of the problem and take pro-active steps to deal with it. However, what is needed is an environment free from judgment where the issue can be discussed. Once that such an environment exists, it will be much easier to find a solution for such a serious problem.
Finally, it is worth noting that the analysis shows that cyber bullying is closely related to sex and sexual power. In communities where women are sexually constrained, cyber bullying has led to a brutal effect. Girls who feel shame just saying the word sex will not want to be exposed as someone who wants to engage in or even know about it (Rivers & Duncan 152). However, those who are more empowered will not see a big deal in having intimate photos leaked. Therefore, there is a direct link between sexual liberation of women and the effects of cyber bullying.
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Cyber bullying is becoming a menace to the global society and many people do known this very well. Nevertheless, only a handful of the population understands this fact and how it negatively impacts the victims. As a result, no tangible solution has been found at community, government, and individual levels. One the most viable strategies should be to conduct comprehensive awareness campaigns to sensitize people to the occurrences of cyber bullying in communities and nationally. With this knowledge, people will understand the gravity of the problem and thus engage in finding solutions. At present, education campaign is quite disjointed and that has hampered the reaction to the cyber bullying issue. It has made it that much harder for policy makers to find a policy that will work. It is critical for this type of education to be provided for two main reasons. The first is that an informed electorate will want to be involved. Secondly, people who know how to spot cyber bullying will make the internet safer by reporting the trouble makers. In the end, education helps today and in the future and the governments should invest in it.
At the national level, there should be productive dialogue that transcends political affiliations and embraces human values and principles. At the moment, the discussion is too fractured. When some facts are mentioned, they are seen as being an attack on the other side. Many times, government agencies work at cross purposes as some see cyber bullying as a trivial issue not worthy of their attention. As long as the nation cannot converse on the issue openly, it will have difficulty finding viable solutions. The discussion will become an exercise in futility and lead to even more frustration. As a result, millions of people will be targeted by ruthless bullies and thousands of them will get physically hurt or killed.