Bullying has been an childhood problem for many and has been recognized as a serious issue. Campbell (2005) quotes Peterson (2001) stating that bullying is “the abusive treatment of a person by means of force or coercion” (qtd. in Campbell, 2005). Bullying is hurtful and can happen for no reason. It is a quick fix to make the bully feel satisfied and assert power (Campbell 2005). Cyber bullying is just one form of bullying and involves many different methods of harassing an individual. Use of the Internet via websites such as Facebook and Twitter along with both instant messaging on computers and text messaging on cell phones, allows a bully to target a victim with the use of anonymity. The anonymity of cyber bullying permits the use of technology to attack a victim without having to be in the same location as the victim and many times without the victim ever discovering whom their attacker is (Nuccitelli, 2012, p. 20).
Cell phone usage and ownership along with technology has advanced over the last decade. According to Miah and Omar (2013), cyber bullying has become so common “with over half of adolescents and teens having been victims of online bullying, and about the same number having engaged in cyber bullying”. Newspapers often report that in school violence events many times the perpetrator was a victim of bullying – a potential risk factor.
Bullying has been correlated with mental health via research studies most specifically through the form of cyber bullying. Research has shown that children who are bullied develop psychological distress from being isolated, threatened, and/or physically attacked (Arseneault, Bowes, & Shakoor, 2010). Middle school is an awkward time for young people as they are in-between phases of being a child and a teenager. With the constant physical, emotional, and environmental changes going on, the risk of cyberbullying amongst middle school students increases (Kowalski and Limber, 2007). Looking at research, it is evident that there is a lack of research on cyber bullying and the multiple effects on mental health with Tarrant County middle school-aged children. In order to assist middle school-aged youth in the prevention of cyber bullying and protection of mental health, key informers who work with the middle school-aged population must be better informed on the correlation between the two.
This observational study intends to measure the hypothesis that middle school students who experience cyber bullying are more prone to experience suicide ideation and depression in comparison to other middle school students. The study will seek to answer questions such as: (1) what are the statistics of victims of cyber bullying who experience suicide ideation and/or depression amongst the middle schools of Tarrant County? (2) what are the mental health consequences of cyber bullying for both victims and bullies? and (3) do victims of cyber bullying identify with both variables – suicide ideation and...