Bullying, cyber bullying

It has been ongoing for generations. Bullying occurs not only in schools, but on school buses, in the community and even at home. Incidents of violent juvenile crimes is increasing as well.

Most bullying occurs when adults aren’t looking. Even students who know it is wrong, hesitate to intervene or get involved in any way. Older students who see their younger siblings bullied say that hurts more than begin bullied themselves. 

Eica Estep, former education reporter for WATE delved into the problem last February and talked with University of Tennessee professor and author Dr. David Dupper who said he was a victim of bullying. Estep reported, “Dupper said the problem is getting worse, sometimes more violent, and bullies can have a more damaging effect on their victims than ever before.

“‘I think with the cyber bullying, the viciousness, the cruelty, that’s what I think is really getting people’s attention,” added Dupper. Some victims are afraid to tell, but through new school and community programs, counselors are getting children to open up.

“We read surveys circulated through one school district by non-profit, Safe Space. The stunning results, scrawled in a child’s hand over and over, were words like, ‘I’m being bullied. I’m sad. I’m scared.’ One survey from a 4th grade student stood out. It read, ‘I wish I was dead!’

Estep continued, “‘It’s hard to say that bullying in and of itself is going to lead to a suicide attempt,’ explained Dupper, ‘but if a kid is already having difficulty with family issues, or some mental health issues, bullying could really be the thing that pushes them over.’

Tennessee schools are required to have a policy to address bullying on school grounds and cyber bullying.

‘”It’s a step in the right direction.’ says Dupper, ‘but we must also take bullying seriously, get rid of stereotypes about what a bully looks like, and the mind set that we as adults must witness bullying to stop it, the report continued.

“‘Just like we don’t tolerate child abuse, we don’t tolerate domestic violence, we’re not going to tolerate bullying,’ is the message we should be sending to our kids,’ said Dupper.”

Cyber bullying statistics refers to Internet bullying. Cyber bullying is a form of teen violence that can do lasting harm to young people. Bullying statistics show that cyber bullying is a serious problem among teens. By being more aware of cyber bullying, teens and adults can help to fight it.

Cyber bullying affects many adolescents and teens on a daily basis. Cyber bullying involves using technology, like cell phones and the Internet, to bully or harass another person. Cyber bullying can take many forms:

• Sending mean messages or threats to a person’s email account or cell phone

• Spreading rumors online or through texts

• Posting hurtful or threatening messages on social networking sites or web pages

• Stealing a person’s account information to break into their account and send damaging messages

• Pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person

• Taking unflattering pictures of a person and spreading them through cell phones or the Internet

• Sexting, or circulating sexually suggestive pictures or messages about a person

Cyber bullying can be very damaging to adolescents and teens. It can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide. Also, once things are circulated on the Internet, they may never disappear, resurfacing at later times to renew the pain of cyber bullying.

Many cyber bullies think that bullying others online is funny. Cyber bullies may not realize the consequences for themselves of cyberbullying. The things teens post online now may reflect badly on them later when they apply for college or a job. Cyber bullies can lose their cell phone or online accounts for cyber bullying. Also, cyber bullies and their parents may face legal charges for cyber bullying, and if the cyber bullying was sexual in nature or involved sexting, the results can include being registered as a sex offender. Teens may think that if they use a fake name they won’t get caught, but there are many ways to track some one who is cyber bullying.

Despite the potential damage of cyber bullying, it is alarmingly common among adolescents and teens. According to Cyber bullying statistics from the i-SAFE foundation:

• Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.

• More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyberthreats online.

• Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.

• Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.

In looking at comments, blogs, and interviewing individuals about bullying, one thing is evident. There is more bullying than school administrators want to admit. There are policies in place. A lot is said and little is done to curb bullying.

Next week we continue our probe into bullying. Anyone with comments or a story about bullying, contact this reporter at (865) 862-0716 or email w.hall@theknoxvillejournal.com.



© 2009 Bullying Statistics – Stop Bullying, Harrassment, and Violence

By Wes Hall

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