Sunday, December 2, 2012

Future Direction of Bullying

       Bullying has become an issue that has reached critical levels in the past decade; thus, demanding national attention. In the last few years there have been teen suicides that have received full media coverage bringing the severity of the problem to light, something that we hadn’t experienced before. There are programs such as the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP), which has been in place since the early 1980s and has been proven to work in Norway as well as in other countries holding a nationalized curriculum for elementary and secondary schools, unlike the United States (Limber, 2011). In 2007, in an attempt to bring the OBPP method to the United States, there was a small-scale study which involved three elementary schools in southern California. After implementing the program for three years the evaluation showed promising results of having reduced the initial victimization and bullying instances (Limber, 2011). However, there has been criticism on bullying research methods overall.
Most definitions share the following four components: intentionality, repetition, imbalance of power, and diversity of manifestation, but they differ on the actions that comprise of the act of bullying (Schoen and Schoen, 2010). According to Nan Stein, author of the article What a Difference a Discipline Makes (2001), she states that under the various definitions of bullying that have been postulated by experts on the field “almost anything has the potential to be called bullying [ranging] from giving “the evil eye” … to [any] verbal expression of preference towards particular people over others” (p. 2). In addition, offensive behavior is sometimes vaguely put under the bullying umbrella “when in fact they constitute of criminal hazing and sexual/gender harassment,” which are against the law (Stein, 2001, p.2). Bullying does not constitute of a law violation, but the definition is so ambiguous that creates a grey area and many actions that are intolerable by law are soften and labeled as bullying. This may happen due to the lack of recognition between legal and illegal conduct, and the confusion left over the elasticity of the terms.  
Furthermore, the results obtained from the schools in southern California on the OBPP study in 2007 were self-reported surveys taken throughout the research. Even thought self-report methods are of great value, some researchers have suggested that “bullies may underestimate their involvement in bullying and victims may not wish to recall incidents of victimization that may be upsetting for them” (Leff, 2007, p.408). Therefore, this could have caused the decrease in victimization and bullying throughout the study instead of the strategies used. Moreover, when people know something is being done to solve the problem, they tend to become more subtle to forgive and forget about past incidents as long as a greater good is being pursuit. In addition, staff and students often perceive bullies as being quite popular as well as being feared; something that is not often taken into account when trying to correct the bullying behavior (Leff, 2007). Hence, making intervention methods challenging to strategize because not only do the researchers have to address the social payoff the child obtains from the continued bullying behavior, but also the cultural differences and society’s concerns.
Although the studies might have been flawed, there are many anti-bullying organizations developing as I have mentioned on previous posts. These organizations started to develop from the constant exposure of the severity of the bullying behavior making it reach critical levels. Unfortunately, it took the loss of the lives of young individuals for people to realize how severe the children can be affected by bullying. The increase of national awareness has been made possible due to the parents and loved ones who have lost someone or know a victim of this revolving issue; People that are willing to stand up and speak out about how bullying has destroyed their life and the life of the life of their beloved ones. Everybody deserves a chance to feel comfortable and safe on their day to day environment.
However, as awareness is being raised to stop bullying, there is another uncontrollable factor that is slowing down the process of accomplishing a bully-free society, named technology. The continuous technological advances of the cyber world have made it possible for traditional bullying to reach a deeper level because of the capability to bully someone anonymously (cyberbullying). But as we know, technology is not stopping this movement of reaching a society free of bullying. In fact, thanks to technology we have been able to share the information across nations and have sped up the raise of awareness on this matter. It is not only the increase of awareness and the desire to stop bullying which provides a promising future to decrease it theoretically across nations, but the willingness of people to achieve this goal; and in order to accomplish it, it is necessary that further research is implemented to obtain the actual depth of the problem in terms of numbers and issues that need to be address through reliable methods. The research requires taking into account the complexity of the issue and all of its components that need to be factored in the strategies used to combat the problem. Also the definition of bullying needs to be narrowed down to specific terms as well as self-explanatory to avoid confusion or elasticity over the terms. But, in order for programs to give positive results and function adequately everybody especially parents need to get involved in their child’s growth and education, so the problem can be targeted and prevented at a young age. If we all keep investing our efforts for a bully-free society, rates will reduce dramatically within generations.   

Leff, S. S. (2007). Bullying and Peer Victimization at School: Considerations and Future Directions. School Psychology Review, 36(3), 406-412.
Limber, S. P. (2011). Development, Evaluation, and Future Directions of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. Journal Of School Violence, 10(1), 71-87. doi:10.1080/15388220.2010.519375
Schoen, S., & Schoen, A. (2010). Bullying and Harassment in the United States. Clearing House, 83(2), 68-72. doi:10.1080/00098650903386444
Stein, N. (2001). Introduction—What a Difference a Discipline Makes: Bullying Research and Future Directions. Journal Of Emotional Abuse, 2(2/3), 1-5. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Origins of Bullying

The desire to survive is an instinct that was developed since the beginning of life, which is the competition for resources against other species. “This survival instinct, along with a competitive atmosphere, has remained the same as the human race has evolved” (Donegan, 2012). The constant drive to surpass others and surmount obstacles has become an ideology “where bullying is unintentionally instilled as a survival tactic from a very young age” (Donegan, 2012). Students quickly learn unethical ways to outshine everybody in the highly competitive educational and social environments that school conveys. However, Richard Donegan in his article Bullying and Cyberbullying: History, Statistics, Law, Prevention and Analysis (2012) states that, “these tactics are dangerous because once a student realizes their effectiveness, he or she may construct a life style from them.” These bullying tactics may include spreading social rumors, pressuring others to obtain the right answers to get good grades, intimidating others, name-calling, stealing belongings, and even hitting or threating another student if they tell on the bully. When a person exerts power and intimidation over weaker students, they have the advantage to control any situation that may arise.

In addition, when a bully successfully maintains control over the other students, he or she can manipulate them to do homework for them, and can use them to achieve higher educational goals and ultimately better job opportunities. On the other hand, most students are not properly taught to deal with peer pressure and bullying at schools, which may lead to depression, terror, loneliness, anger, anxiety, pain, low-self-esteem, physical, emotional and psychological damage, and lastly suicide. A few decades ago parents would teach children to stand up for themselves, or teach them ways to handle the pressure from being bullied, survival tactics. Also, if any of the bullying methods were happening to you, you went and told your parents so they could go to the school and help you deal with it. However, now a day there is a growing strain in communication between parents and kids. Children are not communicating with their parents about any issues, and part of this is the due to the ample amount of free information that is easily accessible online; but what kids don’t realize is that, yes, they might get information on the issue, but it doesn’t really teach them how to put everything into context and act on it. Survival tactics are not being passed on from generation to generation anymore. Parents figure that kids will develop their own tactics and that they will come to them if they cannot find a solution, but this is not the case anymore.

Furthermore, it is only in recent years that bullying has been recognized and recorded as a separate and distinct offence, but there have been well documented cases that have been recorded over the centuries. This could be happening because the technology is providing a new method of bullying, cyber bullying, which can be anonymous. Also, the deterioration in communication between parents and children can be another factor which accounts for the lack of survival tactics on recent younger generations. Survival tactics are not necessarily malicious; they can be learning how to outsmart the bullies and not letting the bullying interfere with school or their emotions. In addition, children can learn what to do to stop it on time, so it doesn’t develop into a severe problem. In an effort to raise consciousness in parents and children, in October 2006, the PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center initiated the awareness week; this “event has evolved into a month’s worth of events and activities to raise awareness and provide the latest resources to those who need it” (Temkin & Holmquist, 2012). Programs like this one can help guide children, parents, and teachers on how to deal properly with traditional or cyber bullying.  Next, to help put bullying in a historical content, a timeline with a short description of each event will be illustrated.

The following timeline was taken from the website article Amanda Todd Suicide Reminds Us of Bullying Problem, by K. Gilmour.

v    1838    First Use Of Bullying In Literary Work – In literary works; children have been singled out and harassed since the beginning of time. Written by Charles Dickens and published in 1838, Oliver Twist was one of the first novels in the English language to focus on the bullying and criminal mistreatment of a child protagonist.

v    1862    First Report Of Bullying – First report of a bullying victim turning violent and shooting his tormenter was also a soldier. The story of John Flood was detailed in an article in The Times (London) in August of 1862. Flood had been the victim of “long, malignant and systematic bullying”. Flood was convicted and sentenced to death but because he was known to be a man of kindly disposition by everyone he came in contact with his sentence was overturned by the Queen.

v    1897    First Characterizing Of Bullying Behavior - Bullying behavior was first characterized as part of the experience of children in an 1897 article entitled “Teasing and Bullying” published by Burk in the Pedagogical Seminary. The article sought to expose behaviors of tormenters and victims, and provided strikingly horrific examples of victimization among children. The examples involved all of the four Ps- power, pain, persistence, and premeditation. Power was involved because all of the examples were of an older tormenter and a younger victim; both physical and psychological pain were clearly explained for the victim; persistence was evident because the bullies continued the behavior (becoming increasingly more delighted) until their victims cried or ran away; premeditation was involved because the tormentors always had a plan and intentional targets.

v    1970    First Bullying Research - In the early 1970s, Dr. Dan Olweus initiated the world's first systematic bullying research. The results of his studies were published in a Swedish book in 1973 and in the United States in 1978 under the title Aggression in the Schools: Bullies and Whipping Boys.

v    1981    First Proposition Of Anti-Bullying Law - Dr. Dan Olweus has long seen school safety as a fundamental human right.1 As early as 1981, he proposed enacting a law against bullying in schools so students could be spared the repeated humiliation implied in bullying. By the mid-1990s, these arguments led to legislation against bullying by the Swedish and Norwegian parliaments.

v    1993    Olweus Published Book On School Bullying - In 1993, Olweus wrote Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do, and is now widely considered to be the world's leading authority on bullying behavior. Olweus's groundbreaking research and intervention programs have played a significant role in increasing awareness that bullying is a growing social problem, one that must be taken seriously by researchers, educators, lawmakers, parents, students, and society in general.

v    1999    Columbine - On April 20th 1999, two teenage boys who had been relentlessly bullied brought 50 bombs to school, and then went on a shooting spree wounding twenty-three, fatally shooting thirteen, and taking their own lives. Children, parents and school officials around the country were shocked, and no one could deny the need for more pro-social and accepting school environments and a way to combat bullying among students.

v    2000    Cyber Bullying - With the increase of access to the internet and cell phone us cyber bullying has become an epidemic among teenagers in school. Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. By definition, it occurs among young people.

v    2001    Statistic On Bullying (2001) - In 2001, The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that more than 160,000 students skip school every day because they are anxious and fearful of being bullied by other students. School is supposed to be a safe haven where learning takes place not where a student has to defend themselves from peers because of differences.

v    2002    School Shooting Statistics - In 2002, a report released by the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Education concluded that bullying played a significant role in many school shootings. In fact, one key finding was that in 37 incidents involving 41 school shooters, many of the attackers felt bullied, persecuted, or injured by others prior to the attack.

v    2003    Cyber Bullying Leads To Teen’s Suicide - Ryan Halligan was bullied so relentlessly at school, he finally learned kickboxing to defend himself from the physical assaults. But when the attacks moved online, he had no way to fight back, and no refuge. October 2003, Ryan hanged himself in his family's bathroom. He was 13 years old. Now, Ryan's father travels to schools around the country to share the events that led up to his son's suicide and to warn educators and students about the dangers of cyberbullying.

v    2004    Cyber Bullying Statistics (2004) - Cyber Bullying Statistics

• 42% of kids have been bullied while online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once.

• 35% of kids have been threatened online. Nearly 1 in 5 have had it happen more than once.

• 21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mail or other messages.

• 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 out of 10 say it has happened more than once.

• 53% of kids admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online. More than 1 in 3 have done it more than once.

• 58% have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.

*        Based on 2004 i-SAFE survey of 1,500 students grades 4-8.

v    2006    Federal Las Passed Against Cyber Bullying - In January 2006, the US Congress passed a law making it a federal crime to “annoy, abuse, threaten or harass” another person over the internet.

v    2007    Top 5 Bullying States - School bullying statistics and cyber bullying statistics in 2007 the five top worst states to live in to avoid bullies in K – 12 were: 1. California, 2. New York, 3. Illinois, 4. Pennsylvania, 5, Washington.

v    2008    Cyber Bullying Law Passed - One of the first cyberbullying laws is passed in California; Assembly Bill 86 2008 gives school administrators the authority to discipline students for bullying others offline or online.

v    2009    Megan’s Law Proposed – Introduced. Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act - Amends the federal criminal code to impose criminal penalties on anyone who transmits in interstate or foreign commerce a communication intended to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to another person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior. This prevention act came to be because of a 13 year old girl who committed suicide after being a target of cyberbullying. Megan developed a relationship on MySpace with an individual who she thought was a new boy in the area, but turned out to be a group of other individuals from the neighborhood, including adults. The group created an elaborate hoax to make Megan believe that she had a flourishing relationship with the boy. When the plot was revealed for all to see, Megan was unable to deal with the humiliation and took her own life.

v    2011    Bully Prevention Conference - The President and First Lady Michelle Obama discuss how we can all work together to end bullying as an accepted practice and create a safer environment for our kids to grow up in. March 10, 2011.

v    2012    National Day Of Action Against Bullying And Violence - On Friday 16 March 2012 schools throughout Australia will join together to celebrate the annual National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. The focus of the 2012 day will be on parents and families taking a stand together with school communities and recognizing the important role everyone plays.

To sum up, bullying incidents have been happening for centuries, but it is recently that the brutality of few events has brought this issue to surface making it one of the most talked about issues worldwide. For example, the death of Matthew Shepard a 21-year-old (1998) who was tied to a fence, tortured and murdered because of how the perpetrators felt about LGBT (Shepard, 2010), Columbine High School Massacre (1999) (Gilmour, 2012), the suicide of Ryan Halligan, a 13-year-old (2003) victim of cyberbullying (Littler, 2011), the suicide of Megan Meier another 13-year-old (2006) victim of cyberbullying with a fake MySpace profile (Littler, 2011), suicide of Tyler Clementi an 18-year-old (2010)   victim of cyberbullying to LGBT youth (Unknown, 2011). Due to violent events like these ones, law and new school policies have been passed here in the United States to cease bullying by making everyone aware that this issue must be tackled because of the physical and psychological damage it involves with either the victim or the offender. Parents as well as educators need to engage with the children while at an early age, so a trust bond can be developed and kids feel free to talk about what they are experiencing in school and on social environments whether they are real or virtual. In this new age and era is time for us to stop bullying once and for all, and use innovative methods so everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.  



Donegan, R. (2012, April). Bullying and cyberbullying: History, statistics, law, prevention and analysis. Retrieved from web/academics/communications/research/vol3no1/04DoneganEJSpring12

Gilmour, K. (2012, October 29). Newsoxy. Retrieved from

Littler, C. (2011, February 07). Kold cast tv. Retrieved from

Shepard, J. (2010). Matthew shepard foundation. Retrieved from

Temkin, D., & Holmquist, J. (2012, October 02). A history of bullying prevention month. Retrieved from

Unknown. (2011, November 15). Wikipedia. Retrieved from

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Reducing School Bullying Can Reduce Criminal Offending

In recent years, longitudinal researches have been developed to investigate if there is a correlation between bullying at schools and anti-social behavior in adulthood. School bullying is a specific persistent form of aggression that includes an imbalance of power between the perpetrator and the victim; and it has gradually become a topic of great public concern. School bullying can be used as a predictor for future manifestations of anti-social behavior such as drug use, delinquency, violence, aggression, and related detrimental life styles. Longitudinal studies have shown that adults with violent criminal records frequently have school records of bullying or other aggressive behavior (Ttofi, Farrington, Lösel, 2012, 406). Therefore, if the correlation is assertive, then intervention programs should be placed in schools to reduce future anti-social behavior and crime.
            In the research article Bullying at School as a Predictor of Delinquency, Violence and Other Anti-Social Behavior in Adulthood by Doris Bender and Friedrich Lösel, contains a study which was carried out for a period of nearly 10 years long which studied the relationship between school bullying and anti-social behaviors in young adults. The study concluded that “bullying at school was a strong predictor of later delinquency, violence, impulsivity, and aggression; … and most relationships remained significant even after controlling for individual and family risk factors” (Bender and Lösel, 2011, 104). The research also found that in the long term victims suffer from anxiety, depression, and social withdrawal, but victims were not significantly related to any anti-social behaviors (Bender et al., 2011, 102). The typical characteristics for victims serve a protective function against the development of anti-social behaviors.  
            On another longitudinal case study, in the article School Bullying and Later Criminal Offending it was found that “in Washington State, USA, researchers tracked over 900 children and reported that bullying at age 10-11 predicted anti-social outcomes at age 21 even after controlling for the early risk factors” (Farrington, Ttofi and Lösel, 2011, 78). When children constantly engage in anti-social behavior in school and are not held accountable for their actions, then there is a high probability that they will continue to follow an anti-social behavioral path. For example, in another case study, in the article School Bullying as a Predictor of Violence Later in Life the authors employed “a representative study of 15,686 American students in grades 6-10 in public and private schools [and] found that … perpetrators … had a higher probability of weapon carrying compared with non-involved children, not just in school, but also away from school” (Ttofi et al., 2012, 407). In addition, research showed that bullies at an early age tended, at age 32, to have children who were also bullies (Ttofi et al., 2012, 406). For these reason, if we implement intervention and prevention programs to reduce the anti-social behavior in children at risk, future criminal offending will be reduced. If school bullies can be rehabilitated into becoming sympathetic people, then when they grow up, they will have morally responsible kids.
Funding programs that effectively interrupt school bullying can be correspondingly beneficial in preventing violence and criminal offending in adult life. Current anti-bullying programs if effected efficiently can be seen as an indirect method of both crime and violence prevention (Ttofi et al., 2012, 406). Hence, it is essential that school aggressive behavior is targeted with early intervention before it unfolds into a serious form of aggression and violence carried out later in life. For example, the Target Bullying Intervention Program (T-BIP) “was developed as a mechanism for school counselors and school psychologists to work directly with students who bully others to help them change their bullying behaviors and develop more pro-social behaviors” (Swearer, 2012). It is beneficial to invest our resources on programs that eradicate bullying at schools such as the T-BIP, which focus on the deterioration of the child’s anti-social behavior and encouragement of pro-social behavior because reducing school bullying can significantly decrease violence and crime.

Bender, D., & Lösel, F. (2011). Bullying at school as a predictor of delinquency, violence and other anti-social behaviour in adulthood. Criminal Behaviour & Mental Health, 21(2), 99-106. doi:10.1002/cbm.799.
Farrington, D. P., Ttofi, M. M., & Lösel, F. (2011). School bullying and later criminal offending. Criminal Behaviour & Mental Health, 21(2), 77-79. doi:10.1002/cbm.807.
Swearer, S. (2012). The target bullying intervention program . Retrieved from
Ttofi, M. , Farrington, D. , & Lösel, F. (2012). School bullying as a predictor of violence later in life: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective longitudinal studies. Aggression & Violent Behavior, 17(5), 405-418.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


         In today’s society the  face-to-face communication has dramatically deceased since the existence of cell phones, Internet, and social networks which allow for non-physical communication. The constant advances in technology have unlocked endless access to the digital world, which has changed the way people interact and go about their daily routines. While some people use the Internet and the cell phones to communicate with their loved ones and to access unlimited amounts of information, others use it as a method to harass, bully, or infringe the virtual space of others by posting bogus information online. According to the article Cyberbullying: Prevention and Intervention to Protect Our Children and Youth, the authors define cyberbullying as “the use of electronic forms of communication by an individual or group to engage repeatedly in sending or posting content about an individual or group that a reasonable person would deem cruel, vulgar, threatening, embarrassing, harassing, frightening, or harmful” (Snakenborg, Van Acker, and Gable, 2011, 90). As young people are introduced to social networks, instant-messaging, and cell phones, they are unaware that everything they post is permanent and is difficulty to erase. According to the web page,  “over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyberbullying” (Hirsch, 2010).  Moreover, the latest cell phones are connected to the web making it easier to turn a text message into a blog, or posting a picture online and sharing it with a larger group in a matter of seconds. For these reasons, it is important to educate young people about cyberbullying and its consequences to ultimately improve current preventative methods.

            Before punishing a child for their actions, it is essential to inform and give them examples about what is considered cyberbullying. In the article Digital Aggression: Cyberworld Meets School Bullies, Mickie Wong-Lo and Lyndal M. Bullock (2011), the authors state the “several components of cyberbullying [which] include (a) anonymity, (b) unlimited audience, (c) prevalent sexual and homophobic harassment, (d) permanence of expression, and (e) online social communication tools… the consequences of cyberbullying can affect learning in the school environment and can be psychologically devastating for victims and socially detrimental for all students” (p.67). Cyberbullying can create an array of social and academic problems that range from “withdrawal from school activities, school absence, and school failure, to eating disorders, substance abuse, depression, and even suicide” (Snakenborg, et al., 2011, 94). The accessibility to cyberspace allows for the rapid distribution of information be it good or destructive, leaving the opportunity to “alter an individual’s psychological and social well-being within a split second” (Wong-Lo et al., 2011, 67). In addition, the authors identify two types of cyberbullying: “(a) Direct cyber bullying, which refers to messages transmitted directly from the bully to the victim; and (b) Cyber bullying by proxy, which refers to using others to participate in the bullying act toward others to participate in the bullying act toward the victim” (Wong-Lo et al., 2011, 66). For example, cyberbullying by proxy can occur when the perpetrator hacks into the victim’s Facebook account and post hurtful statements in the wall of the profiles of the victim’s friends. The following table was taken from the article Cyberbullying: Prevention and Intervention to Protect Our Children and Youth (Snakenborg et al., 2011, p.91) to exemplify the severity of how technological advances such as the e-mails can be misused.
              As illustrated above, commonly used devices can be used to threaten, hurt, or diminish a person in a matter of seconds, and yet the anonymity makes it hard to track the perpetrators. Thus, it is vital to teach the students that they have a limited expectation of privacy at schools or in community buildings, so they must always remember to log out when they are done using the computer to minimize the opportunities for account hacking incidents.   

Additionally, the popularity of social networks has increased the cyber-world usage among young people. The reason countless parents allow their children to use the Internet is because “online experiences allow children and adolescents to participate in social networks and develop social competency by being afforded the chance to express thoughts, feelings, and ideas” (Snakenborg et al., 2011, 88). However, there are no educators in place to teach the children how to navigate online, and what they can and cannot do. Parents need to get involved, monitor, and teach their children how to network and use social networks to keep in contact with their friends, not to ostracize others.  It is necessary to emphasize in children that the photos they choose to include in their profile coupled with the capacity to represent and associate themselves with others, “make up a virtual picture that can be controlled, shaped, and edited across time” (Snakenborg et al., 2011, 89), and some youngsters will use it to create a fantasy virtual profile to hurt others. In the article done by Wong-Lo and Bullock (2011), the authors stated that “the majority of perpetrators in cases of cyber violence are men and the majority of the victims are women” (67). Consequently, the children must be taught to speak out when they see any signs of cyberbullying taking place within their profile or their friends’ profiles. If cyberbullying is happening through phones or emails, blocking the individual can be a simple solution.

Furthermore, intervention and prevention programs have been developed in some states such as North Carolina, which enacted the “Protect Our Kids/Cyberbullying legislation (S.L. 2009-551) making it a misdemeanor to engage in cyberbullying, … [or] Ohio and Virginia, [which] have amended existing legislation to address cyberbullying” (Snakenborg et al., 2011, 90). Preventative measures can include: “(a) laws, rules, and policies to regulate the use of media and to establish controls related to cyberbullying and other forms of abuse; (b) curricular programs designed to educate children and youth about safe Internet and electronic media use and … [address] the consequences; [and] (c) technological approaches to prevent or minimize the potential for cyberbullying” (Snakenborg et al., 2011, 90). For example, The Cyber Bullying: Prevention Curriculum, is a program which consists of eight sessions designed to help students understand “the concept of cyberbullying, the consequences of participating in this behavior and ways to resist or intervene in cyberbullying” (Snakenborg et al., 2011, 92). Most of the programs that have been developed include videos, websites, lesson plans, and activities that can be used as references in cyberbullying discussions and prevention plans. Activists groups like the Anti-Defamation League have developed workshops for educators, school administrators and parents, which include the Trickery, Trolling, and Threats: Understanding and Addressing Cyberbullying; and Youth and Cyberbullying: What Families Don’t Know Will Hurt Them (Snakenborg et al., 2011, 92). However, if as a parent it becomes difficult to obtain programs that can facilitate teaching children about cyberbullying, there is a four step process mentioned in the article Cyberbullying: Prevention and Intervention to Protect Our Children and Youth, which is easy to remember and will help the children properly address cyberbullying; the four steps are STOP, SAVE, BLOCK, and TELL. These four steps are used to teach students to abstain from responding to the bully, to save or print the incident, to block further instances of communication, and to reported to an adult whom they trust (Snakenborg et al., 2011, 93). It is essential for parents to take initiative in the psychological well-being of their children by getting together with school officials to instill educational programs and develop guidelines to be enforced if a student decides to partake in cyberbullying.

The reason why cyberbullying is a difficult issue to tackle is due to a large “disagreement among parents and schools as to who is responsible for monitoring and preventing children and young people from bullying their peers online” (Wong-Lo et al., 2011, 66). Thus, teachers have always been hesitant of knowing how and when to take disciplinary action in cyberbullying occasions due to the possibility of facing civil actions from the parents. In the article Cyberbullying: A Review of the Legal Issues Facing Educators, the authors encapsulate the Supreme Court cases that have outlined the instances when the educators have the responsibility to take disciplinary action against cyber-bullies and was summarized as follows: “Educators have the authority to restrict expression and discipline students for inappropriate speech or behavior that occurs at school if that speech causes a substantial disruption at school, interference with the rights of students (Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District 1969), or is contrary to the school’s education mission (Bethel School District v. Fraser 1986 and Morse v. Frederick 2007), and if the speech has created a hostile environment for a student (Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education 1999)” (Hinduja and Parchin, 2011, 73). Despite the effort to stop cyberbullying, Wong-Lo and Bullock state in their article that some “researchers have noted that students, civil liberties advocates, and some parents defend student rights to free expression in cyber space, whereas educators, teachers’ unions, other parents and government officials want to restrict them” (Wong-Lo et al., 2011, 66). Advocates of free-speech and of anti-monitoring of devices, oppose school officials’ need to monitor student’s devices such as the cell phone to verify the accuracy of cyberbullying claims.

            Regardless of whether there is disagreement on what the school officials need to do to stop cyberbullying or if parents feel that educators are infringing the rights of their children, students should be held responsible for their actions. For these reasons, the importance of educating young people about cyberbullying and its consequences to ultimately improve current preventative methods cannot be over-stressed. By teaching the children to respond appropriately and having them recognize the severity of the consequences associated with such behavior, including expulsion (school discipline), litigation, and criminal prosecution in some states, cyberbullying will be reduced (Snakenborg et al., 2011, 94). The children also need to understand there is always going to be a limited expectation of privacy when it comes to the cyberworld, especially if it is creating a hostile environment for children at school. Cyberbullying can be stopped with parents’ involvement and school enforcement through codes of conduct and legislation; previous court cases have set the framework that dictates when educators have to act on the behalf of the other students that are being harassed. The best method to tackle this issue is to have parents as well as educators well informed about what is happening in and outside school, and how is affecting other students as well as creating a penalty system that deals accordingly to the severity of the student’s involvement with cyberbullying.


Adam Hirsch. (2010, April 16). Retrieved from

Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2011). Cyberbullying: A Review of the Legal Issues Facing Educators. Preventing School Failure, 55(2), 71-78. doi:10.1080/1045988X.2011.539433

Snakenborg, J., Van Acker, R., & Gable, R. A. (2011). Cyberbullying: Prevention and Intervention to Protect Our Children and Youth. Preventing School Failure, 55(2), 88-95. doi:10.1080/1045988X.2011.539454

Wong-Lo, M., & Bullock, L. M. (2011). Digital Aggression: Cyberworld Meets School Bullies. Preventing School Failure, 55(2), 64-70. doi:10.1080/1045988X.2011.539429

Monday, September 17, 2012

Social Problem Statment

In the past decades bullying has become a growing social problem, and the youths increasing use of technology by the youth population has caused this issue to escalate. According to the Youth Ambassadors for Kids Club Bullying Statistics (2012), every seven minutes a child is bullied in the United States. Most people have been bullied or bullied someone else at least once in their life time either by talking behind someone’s back, spreading rumors, teasing, intimidating, physically attacking, and even by excluding someone. People don’t realize how much they are hurting a person until that person breaks down and decides to take desperate measures to end the problem such as committing suicide, or killing/hurting their aggressor(s). Bullying consists of “a repeated oppression, psychological or physical, of a less powerful person by a more powerful person or group of persons” (Van Der Zande). Bullying has become a globalized social problem that needs to be addressed because it is hurting thousands of individuals daily and nobody is benefiting from this problem. We can all contribute to prevent bullying from increasing violence in our communities.
In this case in particular, schools are known as a commonplace for bullying; and it often occurs when a student constantly picks on another student who most likely has different values and comes from another culture. Furthermore, it was researched that “more youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school, and 77% of students are bullied mentally, verbally, and physically” (“Bullying Statistics,” 2012). Many of the bullies are or have been victims themselves, but because they don’t know how to put their emotions into words or are not being allowed to express their frustrations in a friendly manner, they resort to violence to boost their self-esteem. However, being violent towards a person only increases their self-esteem instantaneously, and it doesn’t fulfill the bully’s emotional and psychological needs to live a healthy life-style. According to National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center,  Facts for Teens: Bulling (2002) article, it states that bullying “ can involve direct attacks (such as hitting, threatening or intimidating, maliciously teasing and taunting, name-calling, making sexual remarks, and stealing or damaging belongings) or more subtle, indirect attacks (such as spreading rumors or encouraging others to reject or exclude someone).” People can become part of a bullying cycle towards a person without knowing it. For example, when a group decides to ostracize an individual based on religion, sex, culture, race, or values, a person might unconsciously adopt the group’s ideals without knowing the reasons behind it. We are inclined to adopt unethical values when trying to fit in with a special group. We want to avoid being the next victim or we are being peer pressured, or simply because we are afraid that they will take a stand against us too if we defend the victim.
Unfortunately, bullying exists because bullies experience an emotional imbalance caused by another bully. Kate Cohen-Posey author of the book How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies (1995), emphasizes that “you can always find a Big Bully behind a Bully” (p 10). Big bullies can be parents, siblings, guardians or other family members who tease the individual regularly; and they are the main contributors to this problem. Therefore, bullies instead of verbally expressing their feelings and indifferences towards others, they pray on individuals who are vulnerable and unlikely to fight back. In this never ending cycle nobody is the winner, only more victims of abuse. In fact, bullying creates more issues because you are not only dealing with an individual who doesn’t know how to express their feelings and is using other methods to do so, but you are dealing with a victim who has been emotionally or even physically hurt as well. We cannot put a price tag on destroying someone’s self-esteem. The lives of young adults have been consumed in an effort to put an end to this problem, a price nobody should ever have to pay. Imagine how much terror, loneliness, anger, anxiety, and pain a person must have to go through to think that taking away their life is easier than to cope with all those feeling that bullies remind them of everyday. Indeed, it is estimated that “every day 160,000 children miss school for fear of attacks or intimidation by other bullies” (“Bullying Statistics,” 2012). How do we expect kids to learn if they are terrified every time they go to school? We need to get involved in our children’s lives at an early stage to prevent bullying from spreading further.
Parent’s involvement in education can lead them to become aware of social issues that their children are being faced with; thus, enabling them to prevent the issues from escalating. In addition, children need to be thought to love and embrace the different human characteristics instead of hating them, teaching them to live in a healthy environment free of discrimination. In the same way, learning how to love and respect other’s differences can create a safe learning environment where the kids are allowed to express themselves without being afraid that somebody will harass them. Kids will also learn to verbalize their feelings without having to resort to violence or intimidation. Showing kids that they can all feel and hurt just like anybody else, can increase the children’s awareness when they dislike something about the other person.  Besides, creating a place where children feel accepted will excite them about going and staying in school. Therefore, if we don’t fix this problem or find an integral solution where it can be prevented, the consequences can intensify and ultimately increase violence.
At present, the Department of Justice along parents, students and the community, are building programs to help stop hatred and bullying among people. Some examples are the: “Let’s Be Friends” – Early Childhood Bullying Prevention Program, “There’s No Excuse for Peer Abuse” – Elementary School Program, and “Bullying. Ignorance is No Defense” – High School and Collegiate Program just to mention a few. Several of these social networks and local-help programs currently in place help communities and schools which are experiencing bullying; these programs are dedicated on becoming a hatred-free society in the future.  The California Safe Place to Learn Act ensures that “local educational agencies continue to work to reduce discrimination, harassment, violence, intimidation, and bullying” (Moltzen, 2012). There are also California Education Codes such as the code 32261-32262, 32265, 32270, 35294.2, and 48900 ("California anti-bullying laws"), which emphasize and define what is bullying and the actions that should be taken if a case presents. Simultaneously, groups globally and throughout the United States such as the “International Bullying Prevention Association,” are committed towards eradicating the social issue of bullying.


Bullying statistics. (2012). Retrieved from
California anti-bullying laws & policies. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Cohen-Posey, K. (1995). How to handle bullies, teasers and other meanies. Highland City, FL: Rainbow Books, Inc.
Facts for teens: Bullying. (2002). Retrieved from
Moltzen, R. (2012, February 1). Everyday law: new bullying laws in california. . Retrieved from
Van Der Zande, I. (n.d.). What is bullying?. Retrieved from