Cyberbullying in School

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Freshman (College 1st year) ・English ・APA ・3 Sources

Bullying in schools has a detrimental impact on students' academic performance, relationships, and psychological wellbeing, and these consequences may last into adulthood in some cases. Owing to the increased penetration and usage of different communication technologies by young people, cyberbullying has become increasingly prevalent in school systems in the information age. Owing to the detrimental impact on the mental and, in certain cases, physical well-being of victimized students, school districts should understand the negative effects of cyberbullying, including their frequency and intensity. The increased use of technology in schools has given educators, mentors, and school administrators new roles in today's society. It is the high time that schools implement strategic measures to fight cyberbullying and combat the adverse effects of cyberbullying which present with distinct differences in personality, form, and response.

The incidence of cyberbullying has increased exponentially affecting students from diverse age groups in demographic characteristics. A study conducted by Li (2010) on grade 7 and 9 students from nine schools determined that more than two-thirds of students in these schools have experienced one or more instances of cyberbullying and a larger portion reported witnessing an incidence of cyberbullying in their schools. Similar surveys in other regions and especially in developed countries where children have access to information technology at a tender age illustrated similar results. The increase in cyberbullying is attributed to a lack of adequate intervention programs from both the educators and the school administrators. The initiative calls for action against cyberbullying in the school environment where children from all backgrounds should be accorded a safe learning environment and protected from both external and internal threats. Li (2010) concluded that the limitations in preventing cyberbullying were also partially related to the anonymity associated with the widely used tools that range from e-mails, pager and phone text messages, instant messaging through social media platforms, and defamatory personal websites. Schools and administrators lack the necessary capacity to combat such effects especially due to the legal limitations that seek to protect the internet and information technology privacy.

Cyberbullying in schools has become a potentially harmful dynamic with significant health effects on victims subjected to the destructive social relationships. According to Nixon (2014), cyberbullying is a stressor which results in increased incidences of traumatization among school going children and young adults. The emotional distress associated with the practice has been deemed more stressful than physical bullying since victims can be subjected to digital psychological torture for longer durations without eliciting concerns from their parents and teachers. In typical cases, the bully is often the strongest among peers who uses his influence and skills to undermine the social status of others at the same time improving their self-esteem while lowering that of their victims (Cantone et al., 2015). The victims who are mostly of lower social status than their aggressors are further isolated socially due to their incapability to defend themselves and the humiliation associated with cyberbullying which contributes to psychological health effects. According to various personality theories, words have a significant impact on a person’s identity, social relation, and well-being which when exploited further can lead to higher incidences of suicide and loss of empathy.

It is imperative that schools implement appropriate cyberbullying prevention strategies that foster academic success and contribute to retained good health among students in all learning institutions. Schools should establish a coalition involving all stakeholders such as the district education board, the administrators, teacher, parents, and students. According to Notar, Padgett, and Roden (2013), cyberbullying can occur from the home or school contexts, and the school administrators are reluctant to get involved when such activities occur outside the school environment. In this essence, schools administrators can collaborate with parents in dealing with incidences that originate from the use of home computers and other home-based communication channels. Administrators and educators have to instigate responses to the prevalence of cyberbullying in the school by creating a culture that encourages reporting both anonymously when one witnesses an incidence of bullying and directly from the victims. The culture of collaboration between the school and the students would ensure that everyone feels safe to report such incidents without possibilities of retaliation from other students. The partnerships with relevant district education authorities would provide the framework necessary for dealing with the issues from a legal standpoint especially when dealing with incidences of threats and intimidation and cases that prompt further investigation along the lines of information privacy. Notar et al. (2013) stated that school officials need to justify any legal interventions illustrating that the behavior under consideration can or has materially or substantially disrupted the learning process, threatened other students, or interfered with the school’s discipline and objectives.

Cyberbullying among school-aged children and young adults is a major concern in the contemporary society with significant implications for the overall health and learning capabilities of the victimized. Bullying prevalence has risen exponentially in the last decade with the growth in information communication technology and the increasing use in both school and home environments. Anonymity and geographical limitations are some of the challenges that authorities in the learning sector have to contend with in the formulation and implementation of appropriate interventions. Time has come where such measures are required promptly to address the detrimental physical, psychological, social, and academic harms linked with the occurrence of cyberbullying in the school environment. Evidence indicates that effective measures should involve all stakeholders from the district education authorities to the parents in dealing with cyberbullying effectively. Collaborative efforts would include raising awareness, encouraging reporting, and taking action against bullies both at home and in schools.

References

Cantone, E., Piras, A., Vellante, M., Preti, A., Daníelsdottir, S., D’Aloja, E., … Bhugra, D. (2015). Interventions on Bullying and Cyberbullying in Schools: A Systematic Review. Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health : CP & EMH, 11(1), 58-76.

Li, Q. (2010). Cyberbullying in High Schools: A Study of Students' Behaviors and Beliefs about This New Phenomenon. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 19(4). 372-392.

Nixon, C. L. (2014). Current perspectives: the impact of cyberbullying on adolescent health. Adolescent Health, Medicine, and Therapeutics, 5, 143–158.

Notar, C., Padgett, S., & Roden, J. (2013). Cyberbullying: Resources for intervention and prevention. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 1(3), 133-145.

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