Cyber Woolly Bully
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This article is for all the nerds – all the geeks, all the dorks, and all the goobers! We've been tormented at school, in the mall, and at the movies. They've given us noogies, wedgies, and purple nurples. I'm talking, of course, about bullies. We could deal with it then because there was always the possibility of retreat, and for the most part it was to the computer. But with “cyber-bullying,” they've struck where it hurts the most, the computer screen. This is a call to those who've had enough, to those ready to fight back. Nerds of the world unite!
Cyber-bullying has gotten so bad that those who were once the victims are now the bullies. Because of the protective veil of anonymity that the cyber world provides, the realm of bullying has been opened up beyond anything any previous generation has seen before. Just about every kid above the age of 12 has a cell phone, at a vulnerable time in their lives when their psyches are most fragile. Researchers have estimated that between nine and 34 percent of kids are victims of cyber-bullies, while one in five have done some kind of electronic bullying themselves.
The Journal of Adolescent Health did a report outlining the data obtained from a special research panel convened by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) back in September of 2006. The main question that needed to be answered coming into the research experiment was: is the attention being paid to this problem justified and if so, is there a need for a focused effort to combat it? Judging by the fact that it is a growing problem, a 50 percent increase from 2000 to 2005, I'd say it is.
The study found that over two-thirds of victims say that cyber-bullying is the only form of harassment they ever experience. This then leads to more students with psychological problems and emotional distress. And even though most cyber-bullying is done outside of school, it's logical to assume most student victims are being assaulted by classmates, since school is where they spend most of their time. Most bullying, cyber or otherwise, is going to happen between people who know each other, although the electronic means allows cyber-bullies to have that veil.
The expansion in media technology also allows for more ways to meet people you never could meet otherwise. Communication venues, like MySpace and Facebook, that enable chatting and social networking are especially popular among youth and allow them to make friends they will never have to meet in person, opening up the door to harassment even further.
The next section will give a more thorough definition of cyber-bullying, so please keep reading if this brief introduction has piqued your interest.
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