Cyberbullying

Moderated by Leah Wing

 

As information communication technology has become intricately woven into our lives, humans have harnessed their capacity for extraordinarily creative innovations to foster human connection across time and space.  Yet, sadly and perhaps not unexpectedly, we have also brought into new ICT forums our capacity for cruelty and domination through bullying.  Do different mediums of cyberbullying (text, picture, Internet, video) produce different impacts on victims?  Can one form be more damaging than another?  What gender and cultural dynamics impact cyberbullying?  What legislation, public policies, and educational and commercial practices are in place to prevent and handle cyberbullying?  What ODR platforms and software can or are addressing this problem?  How can the strengths of ICT, such as lessening isolation, be capitalized upon to reduce the effects of Cyberbullying?

 

New challenges and opportunities face our field to contribute to the prevention and handling of bullying through ICT avenues.  Join us for this conversation!

 

A final note:  It is requested that personal identifying details of actual cases are not shared and that anyone who believes that they have or are experiencing cyberbullying seek assistance from those whom they trust since this forum cannot serve as a source for handling such cases. 

 

One link among many which can be of help is:  

http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/how-to-report/index.html

 

Moderator Bio:

Leah Wing is Co-Director, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution http://odr.info is Senior Lecturer, Legal Studies Program, Political Science Department, University of Massachusetts/Amherst (US) and is founding director of the Social Justice Mediation Institute.  She has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Conflict Resolution (2002-6) and has been a member of the editorial board of Conflict Resolution Quarterly since 2002.  Her publications concentrate on the critical examination of conflict transformation theory and practices in both the online and offline worlds and her most recent publication is “Online Dispute Resolution and the Development of Theory” co-authored with Dan Rainey in M. Waahab, D. Rainey and E. Katsh, Online Dispute Resolution: Theory and Practice (2012). 

 

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Welcome to Cyberweek 2012 and this discussion forum on Cyberbullying.  We will have many different topics to discuss throughout the week, including some of the questions raised in the overview above which I will reintroduce as we go.  I look forward to hearing from you and welcome your thoughts and input.


Let's begin by considering the term 'Cyberbullying' and what it encompasses.  It has been used to refer to bullying that occurs online but increasingly we have seen that bullying is occurring in other technological mediums as well--in texting, mobile phone apps, tweets, etc.  Therefore, let's begin the conversation with asking what constitutes bullying via technology?  What are some of its characteristics that are similar to and different from face-to-face (F2F) bullying?

Hello Leah,

this is my first time to participate in Cyberweek.

On the other hand I had unique online dispute resolution experience in 2005. Being Law student at that time, I found that one should consider new challenges and push the borders forward. We had two teams, which took 3rd and 5th place at the end of this learning adventure. Our great coach and motivator was professor Lynn M. Malley. Would like to thank ODR people made this happen.

Glad to be online again.

I would like to focus on the issue bellow:

What legislation, public policies, and educational and commercial practices are in place to prevent and handle cyberbullying?

Being part of International School of Belgrade, Serbia for last 9 years, I received a lot of information and insight how to inform (online and offline) and rise awareness about this issue. School also has many activities to activate learning community members to consider bulling in general.

I would like to connect your questions about the term and characteristics with this sub theme have highlighted.

This is reference (in Serbian) about some information program about Cyberbulling (Elektronsko nasilje): http://www.unicef.org/serbia/e-nasilje_poster.pdf

In Serbia this is still new issue and as a society we need real understanding and efforts to prevent and reduce Cyberbulling.

As I see, the problem is also about cultural differences about what is considered to be violent behavior. Even we make legal framework, the will for changing the behavior pattern could be questioned. The same action one could perceive as "very good joke" while on the other side that hurts somebody.

One of the most widespread entertaining activities for last few years is sharing video clips about "funny scenes" from school and work which, I believe are harm even to those who, at the moment enjoy others suffering.

One of the major difference from face-to-face bullying is that this bully is hard to identify, actions could be taken any time (even during the night). Thus, one could be constantly maltreated, no matter time and place. I see online and offline bullying is very interdependent, since actions in one space could provoke reactions in another. This is the way the endless chain of bullying has being created. Should we maintain this infrastructure? What actions should we take to interrupt this bulling cause-effect chain?

Regards,

Milos Dilkic
Program manager

Association Team for Education and Culture - TOK
Belgrade, Serbia

tok.info@yahoo.com

www.potragazablagom.rs
www.zamisljenimuzej.org

Great topic Leah. Thanks for hosting the discussion. It seems to me that a key element of bullying, both online and off, is the focus on and targeting of people who are different in some socially and culturally significant way. Cyberbullying amplifies the ability of people to label and be hurtful toward others they perceive as different in some threatening way, or just out of meanness. This short video from UNICEF shows this problem of cyberbullies targeting differences by using different head shapes (triangles, squares, circles). 

 

Thanks for hosting this, Leah.  I think Bill is right about the essential "us-them" or "the other" element in cyber-bullying, and indeed in bullying generally.  It seems most of the discussion around cyber-bullying is focused on school environments and younger users of technology.  Is there much research or writing about cyber-bullying involving adults, workplace, etc.?

I believe that the lack of writing and research done on cyber bullying involving adults and the workplace is because the use of technology as a medium that fosters this bullying is relatively new. Cyber bullying as well as traditional forms of bullying are most common between adolescent children. These children today own cell phones and have access to the internet- privileges that adults today did not enjoy when they were in middle school. Thus, I believe the reason much of the research today is focused on these younger users is two-fold- because bullying tends to decrease with age and the fact that these adults did not have access to mobile phones or the internet during their adolescent years (most common age for bullying) and are therefore unfamiliar with this relatively new form of bullying.

I believe that cyber bullying will become more common in the work place once these children, who grow up being familiar with this type of bullying, enter the work force. Perpetrators will use their familiarity with cyber bullying to replace verbal bullying in the work place and researchers will also use this familiarity to bring more cases to light. 

 One major characteristic of cyber bullying can take place at any time, from virtually anywhere. Since younger children are gaining access to computers and cell phones, this breeds an uncharted territory where people can harass each other. Traditionally, bullying has always been thought of as something that you can escape from once they left school. By constantly connected to the internet or on a cell phone, hurtful messages and texts can come at any point day or night. Like F2F bullying, cyber bullying still hurts the victims emotionally and psychologically, leaving a lasting mark on them.While the basics of bullying are the same between the two, the anonymity factor of cyber bullying is also a huge distinction. Anyone can pose as whoever they want to online, and create an identity with the intention of hurting someone else. Most children feel bullied or have participated in cyber bullying by the time they reach middle school. This phenomena is something that researchers, academics, principals, teachers, and lawyers need to look into to come up with answers as to how to stop cyber bullying. If children can get away with cyber bullying in middle and high school, arguably this will feed into a behavior that causes workplace cyber bullying as they get older.

 

Leah Wing said:

Welcome to Cyberweek 2012 and this discussion forum on Cyberbullying.  We will have many different topics to discuss throughout the week, including some of the questions raised in the overview above which I will reintroduce as we go.  I look forward to hearing from you and welcome your thoughts and input.


Let's begin by considering the term 'Cyberbullying' and what it encompasses.  It has been used to refer to bullying that occurs online but increasingly we have seen that bullying is occurring in other technological mediums as well--in texting, mobile phone apps, tweets, etc.  Therefore, let's begin the conversation with asking what constitutes bullying via technology?  What are some of its characteristics that are similar to and different from face-to-face (F2F) bullying?

Hi Daniel,

I am a student of Leah's who is specifically looking at who bullies in a student environment. What I have found is that girls are more likely to bully online and via text because boys traditionally take a more active and direct approach to problems. However, you're question about bullying in the workplace struck me because it is definitely a behavior that now as children grow up with exposure to the internet and technologies, they will grow up with the idea that cyber bullying is acceptable. I would argue that if more protocols are not put in place for the younger generations, this behavior will grow and develop with them and it is a behavior that they will bring into the workplace. I appreciate you posting this comment, and it is definitely a subject I'm going to look into throughout the week.

- Ashley



Daniel Rainey said:

Thanks for hosting this, Leah.  I think Bill is right about the essential "us-them" or "the other" element in cyber-bullying, and indeed in bullying generally.  It seems most of the discussion around cyber-bullying is focused on school environments and younger users of technology.  Is there much research or writing about cyber-bullying involving adults, workplace, etc.?

Leah, one thought that comes to mind in terms of difference is that skills with social media tools or technology is a "newer" source of power for youth that might have had less luck with sports or popularity contests. When you look as who is doing the bullying, one subtype may well be the kid who can out maneuver others and use his/her technical skills to equalize or retaliate for other perceived wrongs. According to stopcyberbullying.org, this would be one type among others.

They argue here that four types of cyberbullies include:

  • The Vengeful Angel
  • The Power-Hungry or Revenge of the Nerds
  • The “Mean Girls”
  • The Inadvertent Cyberbully or “Because I Can”


Does this make sense to others? Are "nerds" more likely to bully in our modern connected world?
Leah Wing said:

 let's begin the conversation with asking what constitutes bullying via technology?  What are some of its characteristics that are similar to and different from face-to-face (F2F) bullying?

Many children have experienced both "regular" bullying and cyber bullying, but because of the technological advances being made younger children have had an earlier start to face to face bullying and bullying over a cell phone, or the internet.  In research I have done it was found that by 4th grade children have been bullied over cell phones or emails, and that the percentage of kids bullied this way grows with every grade.  Technology has been a huge influence on the way people treat each other.

*Taken from an i-SAFE America survey of students nationwidehttp://www.isafe.org/outreach/media/media_cyber_bullying:

-Mira 

Ashley Berger said:

 One major characteristic of cyber bullying can take place at any time, from virtually anywhere. Since younger children are gaining access to computers and cell phones, this breeds an uncharted territory where people can harass each other. Traditionally, bullying has always been thought of as something that you can escape from once they left school. By constantly connected to the internet or on a cell phone, hurtful messages and texts can come at any point day or night. Like F2F bullying, cyber bullying still hurts the victims emotionally and psychologically, leaving a lasting mark on them.While the basics of bullying are the same between the two, the anonymity factor of cyber bullying is also a huge distinction. Anyone can pose as whoever they want to online, and create an identity with the intention of hurting someone else. Most children feel bullied or have participated in cyber bullying by the time they reach middle school. This phenomena is something that researchers, academics, principals, teachers, and lawyers need to look into to come up with answers as to how to stop cyber bullying. If children can get away with cyber bullying in middle and high school, arguably this will feed into a behavior that causes workplace cyber bullying as they get older.

 

Leah Wing said:

Welcome to Cyberweek 2012 and this discussion forum on Cyberbullying.  We will have many different topics to discuss throughout the week, including some of the questions raised in the overview above which I will reintroduce as we go.  I look forward to hearing from you and welcome your thoughts and input.


Let's begin by considering the term 'Cyberbullying' and what it encompasses.  It has been used to refer to bullying that occurs online but increasingly we have seen that bullying is occurring in other technological mediums as well--in texting, mobile phone apps, tweets, etc.  Therefore, let's begin the conversation with asking what constitutes bullying via technology?  What are some of its characteristics that are similar to and different from face-to-face (F2F) bullying?

Ashley made some good points by acknowledging the gender differences in cyber bullying. According to researchers, as Ashley has noted, males are more often likely to use their fists whereas the females' weapons are more likely to be their words and behind-your-back manipulations. I like your point concerning the need for more protocols to be implemented to nip this growing problem in the bud, but can it be argued that the people in charge of addressing this problem (principals, teachers, parents, legislation) are not aware of how common this problem actually is because of the furtive nature of cyber bullying? I think that in order for the people in the position of power to actually make a change, they first need to address ways to identify victims because it is extremely common for victims to choose to suffer alone than to "tattletale".
Ashley Berger said:

Hi Daniel,

I am a student of Leah's who is specifically looking at who bullies in a student environment. What I have found is that girls are more likely to bully online and via text because boys traditionally take a more active and direct approach to problems. However, you're question about bullying in the workplace struck me because it is definitely a behavior that now as children grow up with exposure to the internet and technologies, they will grow up with the idea that cyber bullying is acceptable. I would argue that if more protocols are not put in place for the younger generations, this behavior will grow and develop with them and it is a behavior that they will bring into the workplace. I appreciate you posting this comment, and it is definitely a subject I'm going to look into throughout the week.

- Ashley



Daniel Rainey said:

Thanks for hosting this, Leah.  I think Bill is right about the essential "us-them" or "the other" element in cyber-bullying, and indeed in bullying generally.  It seems most of the discussion around cyber-bullying is focused on school environments and younger users of technology.  Is there much research or writing about cyber-bullying involving adults, workplace, etc.?

The discussion has been quite interesting, thanks to all weighing in.  I just received an email from the Washington State Education Ombuds Office announcing their efforts regarding cyberbullying so I attach a link here to their site which has some related policies and resources.

http://www.governor.wa.gov/oeo/

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