Cyberbullying And E Safety: What Educators And Other Professionals Need To Know

2088 words - 8 pages

Cyberbullying has become an increasingly common trend but individual interpretation has made understanding its definition sometimes confusing and unclear. Cyberbullying is defined as torment, harassment, intimidation or pressure that is applied to an individual that takes place by using new media. “We use the term new media to describe a media ecology where more traditional media, such as books, television, and radio are converging with digital media, specifically interactive media and media for social communication” (Ito et al., 2009). Common equipment used by offenders can be devices such as computers, cell phones, tablets; any technology that allows for communication. New Media has influenced cyberbullying to become an increasing and dangerous problem. Prevention and education are necessary in order to effectively respond and address the issue.
Stopbullying.gov (n.d.) explains cyberbullying further: “Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles”. The occurrence of cyberbullying is at an all-time high because of the increased use of new media. The constant connected nature of technology allows cyberbullying acts to happen at any time. These new medias make it easy to take on the cyberbullying role. The convenience itself enables any curious individual to participate because of the effortless ability. “What makes cyberbullying so dangerous…is that anyone can practice it without having to confront the victim. You don’t have to be strong or fast, simply equipped with a cell phone or computer and a willingness to terrorize” (Kowalski, Limber & Agatston, 2006). An additional element to defining and understanding cyberbullying is that incidences must occur between minors. When an adult becomes involved, the behavior is then labeled as cyber harassment or cyber stalking.
Cyberbullying can take on various shapes and forms. Mimicking typical bullying, cyberbullying can be contact specifically between two individuals described as direct attacks as well as attacks with assistance through an accomplice referred to as cyberbullying by proxy. Both are just as dangerous to the vulnerability of the potential victims. Direct attacks and cyberbullying by proxy occur within numerous medias and participatory cultures. Henry Jenkins in Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century (2006) explained participatory cultures as “a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations…one in which members believe their contributions matter and feel some degree of social connection with one another”. These include but are not limited to instant messaging, text messaging, blogs, websites, e-mail, interactive gaming, and impersonation within social networks and hacking into personal accounts via web. The...

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