New technology benefits society in many ways, but also creates problems and ethical issues, namely those pertaining to cyber bullying. Merriam Webster defines cyber bullying as, “the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (as a student) often done anonymously.” The development and increased usage of communication and information technology has led cyber bullying to gain traction in society. Legislation and organizations are arising to deal with cyber bullying, a major issue that victims struggle with every day.
Cyber bullies’ rhetoric includes, but is not limited to, physical threats, sexual remarks, hate speech, rumors, and slander. Cyber bullies ...view middle of the document...
5% take pictures with their cell phones, 50.1% have Facebook profiles, 37.7% have MySpace profiles, and 6.5% have Twitter accounts. The study also concluded that 20.8% of the subjects were cyber bully victims, 17% were victimized in the past thirty days, 13.3% were victimized by rumors spread online, and 7.2% were threatened online. Furthermore, a study from the Pew Research Center concluded that 39% of social media users experience cyber bullying, which compounds the problem since social media plays a central role in society today. Further studies concluded that this bullying goes largely unreported. The London School of Economics and Political Science conducted a study with 25,000 children from the UK between the ages of nine of sixteen. The study determined that 25% of cyber bully victims did not report the offense to anyone. Additionally, the study determined that children as young as six years old send hostile messages to their peers online.
Psychologists cite many possible motivations for the destructive behavior of cyber bullies and bullies in general. Many experts contend that cyber bullying confers the perpetrator a sense of power and dominance over the victim that the bully enjoys. Offenders also may consider cyber bullying as a conduit to becoming more popular, securing their own social status, fitting in with their peers, and boosting their own self-esteem. Furthermore, the National Council on Crime Prevention concluded that 81% of cyber bullies attacked victims for entertainment value, as these bullies thought their actions were funny.
Cyber bullying attracts many perpetrators since it allows the offender a greater degree of anonymity than traditional bullying and therefore there exists a relatively low fear of repercussion and responsibility. Cyber bullies often do not reveal their identity, which increases the difficulty of administering a punishment to them. Additionally, there exists a greater distance between the bully and the bullied online as opposed to offline. Cyber bullies cannot see their victims’ immediate reactions. Therefore, cyber bullies empathize less with their victims, do not understand the consequences of their actions, and consider their offensive behavior more lightly.
The effects of cyber bullying are both short term and long term. Many victims become subjects of intense ridicule offline as well, especially in school settings. Therefore, victims often find attending school difficult, since they must now publicly face the mockery and derision that has been occurring while they were at home. This may stultify the victims’ growth in school on an academic and social level, since school becomes a hostile environment. According to the Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, almost all victims report feelings of lower self-esteem, distrust, and loneliness. These feelings push victims to avoid friendships and social activities, further stunting the victims’ social development. More extreme consequences...