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Cyberbullying, is a series of hostile behaviors that attack the victims “repeatedly and intentionally via internet tools”. A substantial amount of US high school students are under this latent danger, meanwhile, the scale of victimization is found to amplify.
To alleviate the problem, parental supervision on teenagers’ internet usage, timely suspension of suspicious posts by social networking platform and formation of online supporting groups to cyberbullying victims are potentially applicable.
Cyberbullying is a significant threat towards US high school students, specific forms of which including calling insulting names, sending unexpected images and messages, spreading fake rumors and physical threatening.
According to the latest survey conducted by Pew Research Center, over half of US teenagers have encountered cyberbullying to various extent. It also demonstrates that it is believed by the vast majority of interviewees that cyberbullying has been a prominent problem among their peers.
Cyberbullying has been made effortless and costless compared to traditional bullying due to the prevalence of social networking tools and platforms. An alarming increase in life cyberbullying victimization rate from 18. 8% in 2007 to 33. 8% in 2016 coordinates to the flourishment of social networking tools and platforms.
Compared to a traditional bullying case, fewer witnesses of a cyberbullying case may stand out to defend the victims, because their perception of the situation is so vague to stimulate protective behaviors. As is pointed out by Thornberg (2012), reactions towards a school bully cases largely depend on three factors: their anticipation of potential harm to the victim, their moral evaluating and emotional instinct. It is relatively more difficult for bystanders to make clear moral evaluation online than witnessing physical bullies, hence the possibility of defense and protection decreases.
Victims of cyberbullying, who are prone to feel isolated and self-abased, are under higher risk of depression, which may lead to suicidal thought and even attempt. According to the research of John (2018), young victims of cyberbullying are twice more likely to commit suicide and self-harm. Moreover, bullying behaviors connected with depression or suicidality in high school tend to yield even more serious results compared to mere depression.
Parental supervision on teenagers’ internet activities is vital to discover the cyberbullying problem timely.
Strengths: This method helps detect cyberbullying problem in a primary period. Study also shows limited time spending to social network yields benefits to prevent cyberbullying.
Weaknesses: Special attention should be paid to respecting students’ privacy in order to eliminate the disharmony between parents and children. Also, the protective outcomes vary from parenting styles.
Suspicious posts that may be related to bullying are ought to be temporarily suspended unless further investigation proves its blamelessness.
Strengths: This method serves as an applicable way to prevent rumors or humiliating posts from spreading further, which lessens the immense pressure on the victims and the sense of disgrace.
Weaknesses: There are possibilities that the platforms delete some posts mistakenly, which discourage the free flow of speech on the internet.
Some online supporting groups could be formed for those who suffer from cyberbullying to communicate anonymously and cope with the difficulties of adjustment or further recovery.
Strengths: While victims of cyberbullying have a relatively high rate of “self-disclosure”, the anonymous term of interaction is an effective method to gain empathy with personal encounters sharing.
Weaknesses: In severe situations, professional assistance from therapists is still irreplaceable, because online supporting groups may not be qualified to give proper medical treatment.
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