Cyber bullying in Colleges
Bullying in schools has always been a cause for concern, but technology seems to have taken it a notch higher. Cyber bullying is the new technology aided form of bullying, whose effects are as harsh, if not worse, than physical bullying. It is defined as the willful and repeated act to inflict harm on a person using computers, cell phones and any other electronic device (Hinduja and Patchin 6. This type of bullying is primarily carried out through social media sites, emails, text messages, instant messages and chat rooms. Cyber bullying can take on many forms such as repeated sending of nasty and insulting messages, demeaning gossip, exposing someone’s embarrassing secrets, exclusion, impersonating someone and using their identity to send damaging messages and stalking (Hinduja and Patchin 6-8). A review of cyberbullying statistics proves that cyberbullying is as real a problem in colleges as in middle and high schools and it should be given due attention.
Until recently, cyber bullying was thought of as a middle school and high school problem. However, as researchers have recently noted, it does not stop after high school. It continues on to college, and is as much a problem in the University of Winscosin-Stout (UW-Stout) community as it is in other colleges and campuses. According to a study conducted by professors at Indiana State University, 22% of college undergraduates have been victims of cyber bullying, 42% knew of someone who had been a victim and 8% admit to having used the internet to bully someone. Of the college students that had been cyber bullied, 25% were bullied through social networking sites, 21% through text messages, 16% through email and 13% through instant messaging services (ISU Communications and Marketing Staff.). In a study conducted in the UW-Stout community by Aune, a graduate student, 14.2% of the participants indicated they had been victims of cyberbullying while 10% of the study participants admitted to having bullied someone using their phone (Aune 35).
Lack of immaturity has been cited as the most common cause of cyber bullying in UW-Stout community and other colleges. While it is usually expected that bullies will outgrow this type of behavior, they often do not, and take it with them to college campuses. According to Lorena Carmona, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student, cyber bullying is easier on the internet. Bullies do not have to face their victims, and people become totally different when on the internet. A while back, low self-esteem was thought to be a causative factor for bullying. However, psychologists have found that it occurs even in people with high self-esteem, who derive fun out of harassing and mistreating other people. This sadistic behavior infers immaturity of character. Cyber bullying at a college level and into adulthood has been termed by psychologists as “online incivility” (Valentino-Devries). Other reasons for cyber bullying include envy, prejudice,...