Cyber Bullying in the Middle School
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Specific Subject: An investigation and brief analysis of causes of cyber bullying in the middle school and its influence on children’s state of mind.
Purpose: To educate the audience about harmful influence of cyber bullying; to explain that cyber bullying has become one of the most harmful means of bullying and humiliating children in the middle school.
I. In American schools cyber bullying is one of the most urgent problems to be solved; bullying or threatening the so-called “losers” at schools is now global and not private issue, as it is used to be. It happens very often that parents do not want to realize that their child is cyber bullied, but the statistics shows that the real situation is different.
II. A person may be cyber bullied via cell phone, internet, through using blogs or social networks, via e-mail or via text messages. Besides, there are many different types of cyber bullying that have been defined by the scientists.
III. It is very important for every parent to understand that his or her child is cyber bullied, or cyber bullies someone else. That is why psychologists have developed some tips for parents how to understand a cyber bullied child and to help him or her.
Central Idea: Cyber bullying in the middle school is one of the most urgent problems that is still remain unsolved. This paper is aimed to explain all the harmfulness of such kind of bullying.
Introduction: Internet, as every invention of human mind, has its own advantages and disadvantages. It is the fastest way of getting information; it unites people all over the world and helps them to communicate and share experiences. On the other hand, the internet and its speed of spreading information may become a weapon of bullying. Cyber bullying became one of the most influential tools of threatening teens. This may influence not only the development of unstable teen’s mind, but also worsen his or her life in future and relationship with the others. In American schools cyber bullying is one of the most urgent problems to be solved. Children attend lectures about cyber bullying and its influence; they have talks with school psychologists; nevertheless, the number of pupils who are cyber bullied, especially in the middle schools, is not decreasing. This research is aimed to outline the main features of cyber bullying and to show the most important and the most used techniques of avoiding cyber bullying in the middle school. According to the Oxford dictionary, cyber bullying is “the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature” (2013). Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine a person who does not know what internet is and how it is used. That is why bullying or threatening the so-called “losers” at schools is now global and not private, as it is used to be.
I. In American schools cyber bullying is one of the most urgent problems to be solved. It happens very often when parents do not want to realize it, but statistics shows that the situation is the opposite:
- 43 percent of all the schoolchildren have been bullied online at least once;
- 70 percent of students report that they have been witnessing cyber bullying;
- the most common way of cyber bullying in using the phone, because more than 80 percent of schoolchildren use a cell hone regularly;
- 68 percent of schoolchildren understand that cyber bullying is a serious problem;
- 81 percent of teenagers consider cyber bullying to be easier than private bullying a person;
- 90 percent of schoolchildren who have witnessed cyber bullying have ignored it;
- Only 10 percent of those who are cyber bullied will inform their parents;
- Girls are cyber bullied more often than boys;
- About 75 percent of schoolchildren confess that they have visited a web site on which another pupil is bullied;
- Those who are bullied are more likely to commit suicide.
Experts say that it is very important to understand when a child is cyber bullied at school and try to prevent him or her from such steps as committing suicide. Cyber bullying is not the most discussed topic in the breaking news, mostly because the society does not want to realize that such problem in existence. On the other hand, there are hundreds of cases when a child committed suicide because he or she was cyber bullied at school:
- Ryan Halligan is one of the children who have committed suicide at the age of fourteen. Some days after his suicide, his father found out that Ryan was bullied from the fifth grade and he was even called gay.
- Hope Witsell is another victim of cyber bullying in the middle school. She has fallen in love with a guy and sent him a picture of her naked. This picture was found by another girl and forwarded to the other classmates. Obviously, Hope was bullied. School authorities found that out at the end of the academic year and suspended Hope for a week. When the girl came back to school, a counselor has noticed cuts on her legs and made Hope sign a paper that she would never harm herself. The next day Hope Witsell was found dead in her room.
- Phoebe Prince is an Irish immigrant, who has also become a victim of cyber bullying. She was cyber bullied via the internet, using different social networks. She has died two days before the winter cotillion dance at her school. The point is that her date for that evening was a senior football player. And even after her death, some pupils from her school leave vicious messages on her pages in social networks.
Transition: Even though, cyber bullying has become a great and, unfortunately, still unsolved problem of modern society, the facts and cases mentioned above prove that this problem is not so tiny and everyone used to think about. This problem cannot be called tiny and unimportant, because it is being solved by the psychologists, who have developed special classification.
II. A person may be cyber bullied via cell phone, internet, through using blogs or social networks, via e-mail or via text messages. Besides, there are different types of cyber bullying, which have been defined by the scientists:
- Harassment. When a person receives rude messages;
- Denigration is spreading untrue information about a person that is being bullied, posting it on a web site or in a social network, or sending this information to others via e-mail or text messages;
- Flaming is a quarrel in the internet using dirty vulgar language;
- Impersonation is a kind of cyber bullying when the account is broken annd different untrue information is posted from the account of a person being bullied;
- Outing and trickery means to share someone’s secrets or posting them in social networks, or on some web pages. Or tricking someone to make him or her tell secrets;
- Cyber stalking is a kind of cyber bullying when a person being bullied receives threatening messages, or those which may make a person worry for his or her own safety.
Transition: Modern technologies have become one of the most popular tools of cyber bullying. It is shown above that children have invented different types of cyber bullying, which makes it impossible for a cyber bullied person to hide from it. Teachers are also worried about such situation in the middle school, that is why there are several tips for teachers developed by psychologists which help teachers understand what person is cyber bullied and how to help him or hr.
III. It is very important for every teacher to understand that a child is cyber bullied, or cyber bullies someone. That is why psychologists have developed some tips for teachers how to understand a cyber bullied child and to help him or her:
- “signs of emotional distress during, or after using the Internet or the phone;
- being very protective or secretive of their digital life;
- withdrawal from friends and activities;
- avoidance of school or group gatherings;
- slipping grades and "acting out" in anger at home;
- changes in mood, behavior, sleep, or appetite” (n.d.).
Once a teacher has noticed one of these signs, he or she should do everything possible in order to help a child. There are several methods of how to help the bullied person:
- “Block the bully”. Most devices have settings that allow one to electronically block emails, IMs, or text messages from specific people;
- Limit access to technology. Although, it is hurtful, many kids who are bullied cannot resist the temptation to check websites or phones to see if there are new messages. Keep the computer in a public place in the house; for example, decline the time of using computers and reject child’s desire to have one in his or her bedroom; limit the use of cell phones and games. Some companies allow you to turn off text messaging services during certain hours. Most websites and phones provide the option for parental controls, which provide parents with access to their children’s messages and online life;
- Know your kids' online world. Check their postings and the sites kids visit, and be aware of how they spend their time online. Talk to them about the importance of privacy and why it is a bad idea to share personal information online, even with friends. Encourage them to safeguard passwords. Write up cell phone and social media contracts that you are willing to enforce;
- Look to the web for resource and support information about cyber bullying. “If one’s son or daughter agrees, one may also arrange for mediation with a therapist or counselor at school who can work with child and/or the bully” (n.d.).
Conclusion: It is seen that most of those who are cyber bullied in the middle schools cannot live with such feeling anymore and commit suicide. Cyber bullying has become a problem that should be solved, that is why children listen to lectures about cyber bullying and teachers try to do everything possible to help those who are cyber bullied with the following psychologists’ instructions.
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