Case Study: A Teen Perspective on Cyberbullying
By Nickole Borja and Adam Lyons
How many more lives are needed to be lost in order for us to act? Let’s use our own voice to give the victims, real people, a chance to be heard throughout society. Together, le chéile, we can speak up for the silenced and make their voices echo throughout our communities to send a message to the bullies, both online and offline. We can end their suffering and prevent further victims by raising awareness of the hidden dangers online and enable the parents to receive the opportunity to experience social networking sites, Smartphones, tablets and the internet through a teenager’s perspective so that they realise how you are inclined to be easily consumed within these sites and how they can expertly pacify the dangers and risks that the user is unaware of.
The definition of cyberbullying is being harassed or verbally abused online. It often takes place at home and at night. Although it is another form of bullying, the impact is equally, and in some cases, a much more malicious act of discrimination. Cyber bullies use the anonymity that the internet provides to continuously provoke and taunt an individual or group of individuals.
The consequences that follow after the victim is bullied are often delayed and eventually abandoned due to the anonymity of users. This makes it difficult to catch the bully and leads the victim to be physically and emotionally scarred throughout his/her life. Nowadays, teenagers are having increasingly traumatic experiences due to cyber bullying. Teenagers find it difficult to talk to someone about their problems and a visit to a therapist can only do so much.
Cyberbullying has become a major issue among today’s youth as some are finding it difficult to cope with this aggressive behaviour and have contemplated and eventually attempt suicide. It is no longer a case of “blocking” someone online as bullying happens outside of social media (offline victims). The victim will find it more difficult to tolerate such behaviour and soon have immense difficulty in overcoming these problems if the negative behaviour goes unreported.
Trust is key in encouraging victims to talk about their problems. The rise of technology in such a short space of time has changed how people interact socially with family and friends. There are social networking sites which allow you to see another person electronically, with the use of a camera. This lowers the possibility of physical human interaction on a daily basis and teenagers have become more socially active online since the rise of social networking sites. Recent years has seen a massive increase in users seemingly updating their status 24/7 with teenagers proclaiming to the whole world on their whereabouts or what they are doing and even when they are planning to do it.
Parents need to be more aware of the risks and dangers associated with the internet. They need to attempt to interact with their children more often to build this trust and so that children feel free to talk to their parents about their online experiences. One way to do this would be to set up workshops where a child and a parent could attend together to be taught basic internet safety guidelines and how to protect their online identity.
Cyberbullying is a major issue that needs to be addressed as the numbers of unreported incidents are rapidly growing as shown on: http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html. “Erin Gallagher’s death is the third high-profile apparent suicide linked to cyber bullying in the last matter of weeks” reports The Irish Examiner on October 29 2012.