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Cyberbullying By Sriparna Mukherjee

Bullying is a form of purposeful aggression characterised by a disparity in strength or power. It is typically repeated over time. Bullying has historically included behaviours like beating or punching (physical bullying), making fun of someone or calling them names (verbal bullying), or intimidating someone through gestures or social exclusion. Technology has recently provided children and young people new ways to bully one another.

Cyberbullying is defined as "an aggressive, purposeful act carried Out by a group or someone, using electronic means of interaction, frequently and over time against a Victim who cannot easily defend him or herself." It is also known as online social cruelty or electronic bullying.

Cyberbullying may include:
• Sending offensive, mean, or threatening text or images.
• Lying about another person and disclosing sensitive information about them;
• Posing as someone else to harm that person's reputation;
• Intentionally excluding someone from an online group.

Young people can cyberbully one another by:
• Social networking sites
• instant messaging
• text or digital image communications transmitted on mobile devices
• web pages
•  blogs
• chat rooms or discussion groups
• other cyber technologies

How widespread is online bullying?
Cyberbullying rates can vary. Depending on how cyberbullying is defined, the types of children surveyed, their ages and features, and the length of the incident,
• The frequency of cyberbullying was a question that 13 to 18-year-olds were asked about in a Cox Communications survey from 2009.
- 15% reported having experienced online cyberbullying; 10% reported having experienced cyberbullying via a cell phone; 7% reported having engaged in cyberbullying themselves.

-Online, 5% of those who cyberbullied someone else used a cell phone.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids conducted a study (2006) examined the frequency of cyberbullying towards kids (ages 6 to 11) and teenagers (ages 12 to 17) in the previous year. One-third of teenagers and one-sixth of kids say that someone has made threatening or embarrassing online remarks about them.

• In a survey of middle school students, Hinduja and Patchin (2009) discovered that 9% of the students had experienced cyberbullying in the previous 30 days and 17% had experienced it in their lifetime; 8% of the students had also perpetrated cyberbullying on others in the previous 30 days and 18% had done so in their lifetime.

In a research conducted by Kowalski and Limber in 2007 with students in grades 6 through 8, 18% reported having experienced cyberbullying at least once in the previous few months. And 6% reported that it had occurred twice or more. In the past two months, 11% of people have cyberbullied someone at least once, and 2% reported doing it twice or more.
Belsey (2004) stated that "cyberbullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to enable intentional, persistent, and aggressive behaviour by an Individual or group that is designed to damage others". The National Crime Prevention Council and Harris Interactive collaborated in 2006 to produce a study on cyberbullying. According to the report, 43% of the 824 middle school and high school students polled in the US had experienced cyberbullying in the previous year. One in three teenagers have experienced online harassment, according to a 2006 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project on cyberbullying.

Making private material public, such as emails, text messages, and images, was also discovered by Pew to be the most common form of cyberbullying. The Pew study's findings also suggested that girls are more likely than boys to participate in cyberbullying. With 41% of those surveyed reporting that they have engaged in some sort of cyberbullying, older females, between the ages of 15 and 17, are the most likely to be affected.

Because the Internet can offer anonymity, cyberbullying differs from traditional bullying. Because of the anonymity, cyberbullies do not have to take responsibility for their behaviour. Additionally, because cyberbullying frequently occurs outside of the school, it frequently escapes the legal purview of schools and school boards. Willard asserts that there are various types of cyberbullying. Flaming, harassment, defamation, impersonation, outing, deceit, exclusion, cyberstalking, and cyberthreats are some of these types.

Compared to other types of bullying, cyberbullying is more likely to go undetected to parents and administrators. The reason for this is that victims believe they must learn how to handle it on their own and are frightened their internet rights will be restricted or removed if they tell their parents. According to the Juvonen and Gross survey, 90% of respondents stated that they did not inform adults about cases of cyberbullying because of these reasons.

Cyberbullying victims may experience stress, a low sense of self-worth, and depression. It has been discovered that cyberbullying can potentially have severe consequences including violence and suicide. Bullycide is the term used to describe suicide caused by bullying.

Sriparna Mukherjee
Amity University, Kolkata


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