Bullying occurs on a regular basis in today’s society. A bully is defined as, “a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people (Slonje, R., & Smith, P. (2008)).” Bullying is a form of aggression of intentional behavior that is carried out by individuals, or sometimes groups of people towards an individual who is seen as weaker in comparison to the bully.
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Bullying is a systematic abuse of power. It does not matter what age a person is, bullying does not discriminate against anyone. Some types of bullying are obvious to spot while others can be harder to see. It is easy to see physical bullying because it can include hitting or kicking another person. Opposed to cyber bullying where it is far more difficult to spot, because it is done by using technology such as smart phones or on computers. Smart phone usage has increased and will continue to, causing cyberbullying to become more prevalent if it is not addressed.
Although it might be hard to believe, cyberbullying can be just as harmful to someone as physical bullying. It has the potential of hurting one’s self-image, and in extreme cases it can lead to suicide. (Wang, J., Iannotti, R. J., & Nansel, T. R. (2009)). Cyberbullying is mainly done on social media. Facebook prevails as the most frequently used social media platform on a weekly basis, but Instagram and Snapchat are slowly increasing in popularity (Cyberbullying Research Center. (2017, September 15)).
Cyber bullying has become more present in today’s society. Because of the fast-growing technology industry, it has become harder to monitor and prevent. A survey of 84 students was conducted from two high schools in the United States. The students were between the ages of thirteen to eighteen years old. Over the last school year; 49% of the 84 students reported being electronically bullied victims. In addition, 21% reported being electronic bullies (Slonje, R., & Smith, P. (2008).
Cyberbullying can happen in multiple ways. There are many different types of cyberbullying behaviors such as, “flaming, harassment, outing and trickery, exclusion, impersonation, cyberstalking, and sexting (Giumetti, G. W., & Kowalski, R. M. (n.d.)).” Because there are many different types of behaviors, this leads to multiple risk factors that are caused by bullying. For example, bullying can increase the risk for suicide. Cyberbullying is considered relentless, which increases the likelihood of anxiety and depression. Some states have chosen to prosecute citizens who bully for criminal harassment, which includes encouraging someone to kill themselves or commit suicide (StopBullying.gov. (n.d.). By being more aware of the rising issue, it can be easier to prevent future cyberbullying.
For the purpose of this study, I will use a mixed methods approach. By combining both quantitative and qualitative methods it will allow the data to be strengthened by using both approaches. For example, the quantitative results will provide an over-all attitude of participants towards their knowledge of cyber bullying, while the qualitative results will allow the participants to provide their personal input on how cyberbullying as effected them or someone they know.
A survey of ten questions that should take no more than 30 minutes to complete will be made available to the willing participants. Each survey question will be designed on a scale ranging from “Strongly Disagree” at 1, to “Strongly Agree” at 5. Then there will be qualitative questions followed with a box below each question for participants to write their answers. The age demographic will be left open-ended so that participants could enter their age, rather than select from a category grouping. For example, instead of selected a category grouping of 18-25 years, the participant will simply enter their age in numbers.
The questions on the quantitative study will be (1) Do you feel cyberbullying is an issue in your school/life? (2) Have you ever felt cyberbullied? (3) Have you ever cyberbullied anyone? (4) If you see someone being cyberbullied do you feel the need to stop it? (5) Do you feel social media applications (Facebook, Snapchat, ETC.) are harmful to people’s self-esteem? (6) Do you feel well informed about what to do if you see someone being cyberbullied online? (7) Have you ever been peer pressured into anything by someone? (8) Do you know who you could report to if you see someone being cyberbullied? (9) Do you feel comfortable reporting to at least one person about cyberbullying? (10) If you see someone being cyberbullied would do you feel the need to report it?
On the qualitative portion of the study I will ask (1) What would you define cyberbullying as? (2) If you have seen cyberbullying what did you do/not do in the situation? (3) If you didn’t report it, and were cyberbullied, why didn’t you report it? (4) How often do you think cyberbullying happens? (5) What would you do if you noticed someone being bullied in school or online?
From the results from the different methods, we would be able to see how much cyberbullying is present in the students’ lives. Because of the fast-growing technology in our society, cyberbullying is considered a “newer” type of bullying. Because it is new, there is not as much research done on the topic. By having more research done, officials might be able to prevent the event from escalating and raise awareness of this in schools.
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