Bullying and Cyber-Bullying:
Awareness, Consequences and Prevention
On May 1, The Manhasset Rotary Club and CASA hosted a presentation on Bullying and Cyber-bullying at the Manhasset Library. This topic continues to be challenging in our nation's schools and communities, so the information and conversation shared between Officer Thomas Brock from the Nassau County Police Department and parents were invaluable.
Officer Brock began with the reminder that bullying and cyber-bullying are much more dangerous than in the past because technology and the internet are intertwined in students' lives. Two decades ago, students could get a break from bullying when they left school and returned to the safety of their homes. Now, with the barrage of emails, SMS, texts and social media including Facebook, Instagram, twitter, SnapChat, MySpace and others, contact with the online world and bullying/cyber-bullying is brutal and relentless.
School bullying involves any form of physical, verbal or emotional harassment and can include peer-to-peer bullying, bullying of younger students by older ones, or bullying where teachers can be either victims or offenders. Based on statistics from The Cyberbullying Research Center, which collected data from over 15,000 middle and high school students through twelve formal surveys:
- 73% of students reported that they have been bullied at school in their lifetime
- 88% said they were called mean names or were made fun of in a hurtful way
- 77% said they were excluded from groups or left out of things
- 1 out of 5 students reported they have been threatened with a weapon at school
There is also a significant connection between school bullying and cyber-bullying. Statistics show that 83% of the students who have been cyber-bullied in the past 30 days, have also been bullied at school recently. Check out all of the statistics here.
With cyber-bullying, there are many different forms of harassment that are important to recognize:
- Flaming: Online fights with angry and vulgar language sent to one person, in public group settings so others can see
- Cyber stalking: Messages that include threats of harm that make a person feel intimidated and afraid for their own safety
- Denigration: "Dissing someone" by posting cruel gossip or rumors that damages a reputation or friendships
- Impersonation: Pretending to be someone else and posting hurtful material as that person that makes them look bad or gets them in trouble
- Outing and trickery: Sharing someone's secret or embarrassing information on line or tricking the person into revealing private
Sadly, national statistics on cyber-bullying are as sobering as school bullying. According to DoSomething.org, a global movement of 6 million young people making positive change, online and off!:
- Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online with one or more forms of bullying. 1 in 4 has had it happen more than once
- 68% of teens agree that cyber-bullying is a serious problem
- Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse
- Bullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide
As we work to combat the issues of school bullying and cyber-bullying, it is important that everyone plays a role to help solve the problem. Parents, school officials, students, clergy, law enforcement and community members all need to come together to have honest conversations about what is happening, why it's happening, discuss the challenges and explore what can be done.
For more information, check out this great resource guide from Tulane University's School of Social Work that discusses the problems in detail and effective steps to keep students safe. Please share your ideas for helping our own community.