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Common facts and themes.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 4010
J.Bruce Morton

Common facts and themes  Bullying begins in elementary school, peaks in middle school and begins to dissipate throughout high school. Cyberbullying, however, begins and peaks in middle school and then remains constant throughout high school. (Li 2008, Englander 2012, Slovak & Singer 2011).  “A study of 21,000 Massachusetts schoolchildren between October 2010 and February 2011 found that about one fourth of middle- and high-schoolers reported being physically bullied, and more than double that number reported being taunted or called a name.” (Englander, 2012).  Cyberbullying is defined as: the use of electronic devices, computers, cell phones etc., with the intention to bully or cause harm to others. (Li 2008, Haymann & Schnackenberg 2011, Slovak & Singer 2011).  Other terms for cyberbullying include “online bullying,” “online harassment,” and “electronic bullying.” It can include online fighting, harassment, stalking, impersonation, outing, trickery, exclusion, and more. (Slovak & Singer, 2011).  Bullying is a repeated negative action towards someone with the intention to harm them in some way. There is usually a power imbalance between the perpetrator and victim. (Li 2008, Englander 2012).  There are many links between the victim and offender of cyberbullying. It is suggested that both are more likely to have mental health issues, anxiety, depression, low self- esteem, social problems, fear, stress and psychological issues (Haymann & Schnackenberg 2011, Slovak & Singer (2011).  The most common ways people were cyberbullied were e-mail, chat-rooms, cell phones etc and often multiple sources were used (Haymann & Schnackenberg 2011, Li 2008)  Males are more likely to be cyberbullies than females and females are more likely to be victims (Haymann & Schnackenberg 2011, Slovak & Singer 2011).  However, girls report a significantly higher rate of lifetime victimization and perpetration of cyberbullying (Slovak & Singer 2011).  Very few victims of cyberbullying actually report cyberbullying to a teacher or person of authority (Haymann & Schnackenberg 2011, Li 2008)  Cyberbullying is becoming an increasing issue; especially in our increasingly technological age (Englander 2012, Slovak & Singer 2011, Li 2008).  “Cyber immersion refers to the utilization of cyber technology and the Internet as a central, rather than as an adjunct, element of daily life….. cyber immersion (using the Internet as a primary or central method of communication, commerce, relationships, and recreation)” pg 44 (Englander 2012).  Cyberbullying is an opportunistic crime, is often anonymous, can occur anytime and anywhere and often occurs outside of school (Englander 2012, Slovak & Singer 2011, Li 2008). Inconsistencies  The literature is inconsistent in reporting the prevalence of cyberbullying among students. One source reports approximately 32% of adolescents who use the internet have been cyberbullied (Englander 2012), another reports 45% of kids at Robert J Mitchell junior/senior high school were victims (Haymann & Schnackenberg 2011), another reports 29% of youth (Slovak & Singer 2011) and the last reports that the literature shows that 15-25% of adolescents have been a victim of cyberbullying except that their study at a school reported the prevalence in Canadian students to be 25% (Li 2008).  The number of self-admitted cyberbullies was reported as 20% (Englander 2012), whereas another study said the literature shows 5-10% admit to engaging in cyberbullying but their study shown that 15% of Canadian students admit to it (Li 2008)  One study reported that 73% students had witnessed cyberbullying (Englander 2012), another study reported that 54% students had heard someone cyberbullying someone else (Li 2008). Theme: What is currently wrong in the school system in regards to cyberbullying  Mediation is often used in many US schools to reduce conflict among students. However, mediation assumes children are equal whereas bullying often involves power imbalances. Bullies are often good at charming during mediation too. Pg 48 (Englander 2012)  Often victims will not fully participate in mediation due to fear of retribution. Pg 49 (Englander 2012).  Teachers are over-worked, too busy, to get deeply involved in cyberbullying or even bullying cases and do not have the capacity or time to understand what to do in cyberbullying cases (Englander 2012).  There are no clear cut rules on how to deal with cyberbullying cases, who should be punished and what the punishment should be (Haymann & Schnackenberg 2011).  There are restrictions based on privacy policies and free speech especially if the cyberbullying occurs outside of school, where it most often does. Pg 7 (Slovak & Singer 2011)  School Social Workers responses. Of those schools that had a cyberbullying policy (35%) only 68% of SSW’s said it was effective. Pg 9 About half said cyberbullying was an issue at their school, 40% says it occurs outside of school, only 44% said they feel able to deal with cyberbullying issues, half said it was not being addressed at their school and that believed it did not happen as much as traditional bullying. Pg 10 (Slovak & Singer 2011)  93% said that they thought cyberbullying was an issue that School Social Worker’s should deal with but weren’t sure about their ability to deal with it. Pg 12 (Slovak & Singer 2011)  Most School Social Worker’s weren’t aware that students were posting things about teachers and staff and were not aware of certain websites such as pro-suicide websites. Pg 12 (Slovak & Singer 2011)  Most SSW’s said they were unsure of how to respond to cyberbullying and that school policies were not helpful in dealing with cyberbullying cases. Pg 13 (Slovak & Singer 2011)  “In Western societies teachers and students may have relatively informal relationships, and teachers are often concerned to empower students and promote students’ independence.” In China they have almost parental relationships with teachers and teachers have more authoritative power over students. Pg 231 (Li 2008) Theme: What should be done to improve cyberbullying rates in schools  Current study suggests training and clear practical guidelines for SSW’s and all members of the school to follow pg 13 (Slovak & Singer 2011)  Steps to be taken in cyberbully
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