Online bullying, or cyberbullying, didn’t exist before technology took a hold of younger generations. With over two-thirds of teenagers active on social networking websites on the Internet, it’s no surprise that some kids are using technology (computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices) to send hurtful, rude, or mean messages; spread rumors or lies; or even create websites, videos, or social media profiles that humiliate, make fun of, or embarrass others.
According to a recent Washington Post article, although a Pew Internet and American Life Project study claims that teens feel as though their peers are kind on social networks, 15 percent have said that they have been the target of mean or cruel behavior and 88 percent say they have been witness to such hurtful behavior targeting others.
The study was based on a telephone survey of 799 teens and parents from April 19, 2011 to July 14. Another result of the study found that one-fifth of teenagers who use social networking claim to have personally participated in online bullying, and four-fifths have defended another who was a victim of bullying.
Overall, about 12 percent of all teens say they encountered bullying over the period of the last 12 months, either in person, on the Internet, or by text message or phone call.
What is troubling about these statistics is that online bullying has many platforms, giving it an unlimited reach to affect the well being of teenagers at a vulnerable age where they are easily influenced and susceptible to further bullying if the matter is not properly handled.
Considering that research on cyberbullying has established that students involved are more prone to develop health problems, develop lower self-esteem, get poor grades, or be unwilling to go to school, it is important for society to take this type of bullying seriously. Online bullying is especially detrimental because it can be done anonymously, in front of a vast audience, and can happen at any time of the day, week, and year. Although one possible solution to online bullying is setting privacy controls on social networks, ultimately, increasing awareness of this ever-growing problem and implementing appropriate prevention methods for teens, parents, and teachers to adopt is key.
For more information on possible solutions to resolve bullying and prevent it from happening, please visit http://www.stopbullying.gov/. If you have any questions about a particular bullying incident that has resulted in emotional trauma or physical injury, the personal injury lawyers in California at Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley are here to help. Call 213-514-8332 today for a free consultation.