This blog was created to educate people on the topic of Cyber Bullying. Not too many people know of the severity of Cyber Bullying and how teens have commited suicide because of being bullied online. This blog displays different information on the issue in the form of Essays, Literature Reviews, Opinion Pieces, and Statistics(found on the navigation bar above). It also has several links to non-profit organizations that are related to Bullying and Cyber Bullying. This Blog's ultimate goal is to motivate people to take action in their area to pass laws to prohibit Bullying in schools and on the web.

Literature Review

I wrote this literature review on Cyber bullying to inform many people on the issue. It discussed the difference between Traditional Bullying and Cyber Bullying, who the victims are, how to prevent it, and what the law is on bullying:
Cyber Bullying: Is the Internet Safe?

Erik Manriquez
University of Texas at El Paso

            The following literature review is about how cyber bullying differs from other forms of bullying, the victims and impact cyber bullying has caused , how to prevent cyber bullying, and the laws in several states regarding cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is very similar to traditional bullying. Cyber bullying involves more emotional and psychological harm. Cyber bullying can also lead to violence, if the cyber bully decides to physically attack their victim. Cyber bullying has a broader audience; anyone in the world can see the hateful messages left by a bully. Cyber bullying can involve social networking sites, text messages, websites, and emails. Humiliating messages and videos can spread fast and cause more harm.  There have been several killings and suicides due to cyber bullying. The most effective method of prevention is education and awareness of cyber bullying. Several states have different laws pertaining to cyber bullying. President Obama and First Lady Michelle have made several press releases on the issue. The author conducted a survey about the awareness of cyber bullying. Several graphs and tables are provided for statistical analysis.

Nowadays, almost every home in the U.S. has a computer with access to the World Wide Web. At any given time of day, anyone can access an abundant amount of information at the click of a button. Men, women, kids, teenagers, adults and even the elderly are learning how to use the internet to their advantage. Among all the benefits the internet has provided to us, online communication has proven to be the most beneficial. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace have made it easy for everyone to stay in contact with each other. Regardless of how far apart a family member or friend is, everyone is just one click away. If someone is not having a good day, they can share their feelings with everyone in a matter of seconds. These social networking sites have become quite popular among adolescents. They allow teens to stay more connected with their friends outside of school. Now teens have become more obsessed with their friends Facebook or Twitter status than engaging in outdoor activities like football or basketball.
Parents could argue that teens are safer this way since they are less vulnerable to attacks from the schoolyard bully. But little do parents know that another form of bullying has been developing just as fast as our technology has. Cyber bullying has begun to receive major attention in the media since news broke out about several teens killing each other or committing suicide. But most parents aren’t familiar with the internet as their teenagers and they maybe oblivious to what their teens are doing online. They might think that as long as their children are at home they aren’t at risk of being harmed. But their teens could also be harmed online by other teens that are just like the schoolyard bullies of before. Every parent wants their teens to be safe so they need to be aware of what their child is doing online. Several questions have been developed to help fully understand what cyber bullying is and how it can be prevented:
How is cyber bullying different from traditional forms of bullying?
Who are the victims and what impact has cyber bullying had on them?
How can cyber bullying be prevented?
What is the law on cyber bullying?
The following literature review will discuss the difference between cyber bullying and common forms of bullying, how to effectively prevent it, discuss past incidents of cyber bullying and understand internet laws and policies.
How is cyber bullying different from traditional forms of bullying?
Most people are familiar with traditional bullying. It has been a problem for parents and teens for quite a long time. Almost everyone has been bullied at least once in their lifetime. Some may still easily remember the exact name of the person who bullied them in high school. According to Liepe-Levinson and Levinson (2005), one out of every four children is bullied per month and 160,000 children miss school for fear of being bullied every day (p.4). Traditional bullying is defined as aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength (Kowalski, Limber, and Agatston 2008, p.17). Most people are aware that bullying typically takes place at school and most victims are those who are “different” in anyway. Some victims are targeted because they’re overweight, physically weak, intelligent, or just unpopular. Bullying generally starts with verbal abuse such as teasing, name calling, taunting, and rumor spreading. Bullies often encourage their peers to do the same and most assist in bullying in fear of being bully victims themselves. Bullying may escalate to physical abuse like punching, slapping, kicking, and spitting. Traditional bullying wasn’t a major issue in the past, but rather was accepted as a normal part of childhood. That is until the bullied victims began bringing weapons to school to try and defend themselves or retaliate against their bullies. The Columbine Massacre was the first of many major incidents involving bullying, and forced everyone to take bullying serious. Because there have been several incidents involving fire arms at schools, parents and school faculty are more aware and have been actively trying to prevent these crimes from happening.
Cyber bullying isn’t much different, it’s essentially traditional bullying but in a different arena. It uses the same abuse but with technology and with more teens having access to different forms of technology, it was inevitable that traditional bullying would evolve to cyber bullying. Figure 1 below shows the popularity of the different technology teens decide to use:
Cell phones are the most popular technology used by teens. Nowadays, most cell phones have the ability to surf the web and can have various applications to several social networks, which can put teens at more risk of being cyber bullied. Cyber bullying is defined as “when a person uses IT to embarrass, harass, intimidate, threaten or otherwise cause harm to other individuals targeted for such abuse” (McQuade, Colt, and Meyer 2009, p. 2). Most cyber bullying takes place on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, but it can also be found in chat rooms, text messages from mobile phones, websites, and emails. Bhat (2008) states that cyber bullying actions may include the wide dissemination of: (1) embarrassing information (true or fabricated) about individuals, their families and/or friends; (2) confidences intended for the sender alone; (3) photographs taken with or without consent of the subject; (4) videos clips taken without consent or made by the victim for a select audience; and (5) social exclusion can also be practiced on victims by cyber bullies influencing groups to ‘block’ someone from their list of friends/contacts (p.55).
Cyber bullies have the ability to remain anonymous and can have different online identities, while traditional bullying are mostly face to face confrontations. In an article from the New York Times written by Jan Hoffman (2010), she says the vicious side of an adolescent is magnified because of the ability to conceal their identity (p.2). The bullies are not afraid of being caught therefore their attacks may be more cruel.  Like traditional bullying, cyber bullying can also lead to violence. As mentioned before, teens have been killed or have committed suicide due to them being harassed online.
Who are the victims and what impact has cyber bullying had on them?
Anyone in the world can be a victim of cyber bullying. All countries with advanced technology have reported similar instances of cyber bullying. It doesn’t matter if you’re male, female, White, Black, Latino/Hispanic, or Asian, everyone is vulnerable to cyber bullying. Hinduja and Patchin (2008) found that over 32% of boys and over 36% of girls have been victims of cyber bullying. Some may conclude that girls don’t tend to retaliate as often as boys, which could be the reason as to why there are more female victims. Figure 2 below shows the percentages between genders involved in cyber bullying:
Girls are most likely to admit they have been cyber bullied or have cyber bullied someone else in there lifetime, while the type of cyber bully differs; girls are most likely to spread rumors while boys mostly post hateful pictures and videos (Hinduja and Patchin 2008).
 Compared to traditional bullying where the audience is significantly smaller, cyber bullying can have more of a psychological and emotional impact on their victims because the audience is broader. For example, if a cyber bully attacks a person on a social networking site, anyone in the world can see the hateful messages. Vulgar text messages or embarrassing photos can be forwarded via mobile phones or emails to many different people. Some cyber bullies have also been known to dedicate hateful websites to their victims that can be accessible to anyone on the internet. To make matters worse, the victim may not even know the identity of the person who is creating these nasty websites and messages. In an article written by Stephanie Smith (2010), a CNN medical producer, a cyber bully victim may feel more isolated, dehumanized, and/or helpless because they may not know who they’re being attacked by. These attacks may lead to many psychological disorders, and can ultimately influence the victim to commit suicide or harm other people.
In one incident, a teenage girl from Missouri named Megan Meier was harassed by another girl named Lori Drew on her MySpace account. Drew took the identity of a 16 year old boy named Josh Evans and became friends with Meier on MySpace. Drew intended to get personal information with the fabricated account and later humiliate Meier by exploiting her info. Drew was successful and Meier ultimately committed suicide. Depression is the most common psychological disorder in cyber bully victims. According to Dilmac (2009), victims of bullying generally manifest internalizing psychological problems such as depression, loneliness, low self-esteem, school phobias, and social anxiety (p. 1310). Meier’s family reported that before she committed suicide, her self-esteem lowered and her attitude became negative. Her family didn’t know what was happening to her before it was too late.
How can cyber bullying be prevented?
There are several ways cyber bullying can be prevented. One of them is raising                   awareness, where educating parents and teens about cyber bullying would greatly help in the prevention of the issue (Campbell 2005, p.71). Understanding what is happening online and being up to date with technology is an important factor in the prevention of cyber bullying. As parents get older, their knowledge of technological advances may not be on the same level as their child. Parents can interact with their children to try and stay up to date with what is popular to them. Similar to traditional school yard bullying when parents supervised playgrounds; parents can also supervise what their children do on the internet. Parents can easily put parental controls on their computer prohibiting their children from social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace. Teens might get upset, but parents believe that their safety is more important than updating their profile status. School policies can also be stricter as to what students are allowed to do on the internet in class; however, schools ought to be careful of invading student privacy. Parents, as well as their children’s school, can work together to create fair policies and stiff consequences so that their children can be safe online. Online ettiquet can be instilled at a young age like good behavior and proper manners. Teens eventually learn how to be respectful and professional in the real world, they can extend these virtues in the cyber world.
What is the law on cyber bullying?
            Forty-five states in the U.S. have laws pertaining to traditional bullying, and some states have already recently updated these laws to account for cyber bullying as well. Some of the remaining states have already proposed to follow suit. As seen in Figure 3 below, 6 states already include cyber bullying in their traditional bullying laws:
Most states vary in the type of punishment of cyber bullying, and some delegate authority to school policy. Calvert (2010), states that “the real challenge facing the legal system wrought by cyber bullying is to attempt to mitigate the negative uses and detrimental consequences to minors of electronic communication technologies while simultaneously preserving the First Amendment speech interests possessed by minors, as well as the more valuable uses of
the new technologies in question” (p.47). Further analysis is proposed to consider several fair and just consequences for each state. First lady Michelle Obama (2011) proposed in a press release that everyone, including the public, should suggest new ideas and solutions to help resolve all forms of bullying. Families of victims of cyber bullying can only hope for a quick and plausible solution so that no one else will have to endure the pain they suffered.
            Further research on the awareness of cyber bullying was conducted by the author in the form of a survey. The survey did not specify age, gender, race, or any other significant elements. The survey found that people on average spend 3 to 6 hours a day on the internet. All the people who completed the survey admitted to having a social networking account and further admitted they visited their profile on a daily basis. 55.6% of people are aware of what cyber bullying is and somewhat understand the issue. 22% openly admitted they had been victims. While most people agreed that cyber bullying is a serious issue, 22.2% said it is not serious at all. They were also asked if they knew what their internet rights and protections are, 66.7% said that they did not know. Finally they were asked what they would do if they were to be cyber bullied in the future, the majority said they would try and ignore it while 11.1% said they would engage in similar actions to defend themselves from their cyber bully. The research proved that cyber bullying is serious and that most people take it as such. There were some who did not believe it was important, but they may be the few who are not aware that teens are killing each other and/or committing suicide due to cyber bullying.
            There is no question that cyber bullying is a major issue worldwide. With technology advancing every day, crime will advance with it. The world will quickly need to create viable solutions as to how future crimes will be addressed. It’s only a matter of time till governments around the world will start regulating the World Wide Web.

Bhat, C. (2008). Cyber Bullying: Overview and Strategies for School Counsellors, Guidance            
Officers, and All School Personnel. Australian Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 18(1), 53-66.
DISPARAGED DOCTRINE BE RESUSCITATED TO PUNISH CYBER-BULLIES? Journal of Art, Technology & Intellectual Property Law, 21(1), 1-48.
Campbell, M. A., (2005). Cyber Bullying: An Old Problem in a New Guise. Australian Journal of
            Guidance and Counseling, 15(1), 68-76.
Dılmaç, B. (2009). Psychological Needs as a Predictor of Cyber bullying: a Preliminary Report on
            College Students. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 9(3), 1307-1325.

Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2008). Cyberbullying: An exploratory analysis of factors
related to off ending and victimization. Deviant Behavio, 29(2), 129-156.
Hoffman, J. (2010, Dec 4). As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-Up. The New York Times.
Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/05/us/05bully.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1
Kowalski, R. M., Limber, S. P., Agatston, P. W., (2008). Cyber Bullying. Malden, MA. Blackwell
Liepe-Levinson, K., & Levinson, M. H. (2005). A GENERAL SEMANTICS APPROACH TO SCHOOL-
            AGE BULLYING. ETC: A Review of General Semantics, 62(1), 4-16.
McQuade, S. C., Colt, J.P., Meyer, N. B. B., (2009). Cyber Bullying. Westport, CT. Praeger

Press Release, U.S. Dep't of Education, President and First Lady Call for a United Effort to

Address Bullying (March 10, 2011), available at http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/guidance-targeting-harassment-outlineslocal-and-federal-responsibility (last visited Mar. 24, 2011).

Smith, S. (2010, Sep 21). Cyber Bully Victims ‘Isolated, Dehumanized’ [Web log comment].

Retrieved from http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/21/cyber-bully-victims-isolated-dehumanized/. (2011, Mar 20).

 I learned that Cyber Bullying is going unseen by many of our older parents who are not familiar with today's technology. Hopefully my review helps inform them so they can protect their children in every way possible. Cyber Bullying needs to be prevented so that our children can grow up to be fine citizens. Take action in your area by voting for bills to prevent Cyber Bullying and all other forms of bullying.

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