Topical Issues on Cyberbullying Prevention

Topical Issues on Cyberbullying Prevention

Gilberto Marzano (Rezekne Academy of Technologies, Latvia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICST.2020010103

Abstract

Cyberbullying represents an actual risk, especially for the online generation which is continuously connected and socialize through the internet. This article presents and comments on some cyberbullying issues (e.g. relative anonymity of perpetrators and repetition of bullying acts) and is devoted to educators engaged in cyberbullying prevention. The first step for cyberbullying prevention is the knowledge acquisition of what cyberbullying is and how it occurs within a specific context. This is not an easy task since cyberbullying is a complex and creep new phenomenon, so much that researchers' opinion is often divided on its definition and there isn't agreement on many aspects concerning it.
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Introduction

The internet has changed our lives, but the human nature has remained the same. Accordingly, the spread of the new technologies has multiplied the risks and threats for the internet users since the cyberspace is not forbidden to cheaters, perpetrators, and individuals that like to harm, harass, and victimize other people especially they who are weak and vulnerable.

Cyberbullying is an alarming phenomenon closely connected with the relational changes introduced by the digital technologies and the online communication. Indeed, a large number of young people are continuously connected with their peers and use social networks to communicate with them sharing all sort of experiences, emotions, and secrets. For this reason, the most part of victims of cyberbullying are children and adolescents and the recent statistics show this bleak situation (Lessne & Yanez, 2016): 25 percent of teenagers report that they have experienced repeated bullying by phone calls and texting or on the internet;

  • 52 percent of young people report being cyberbullied.

  • 11 percent of adolescents and teens report that embarrassing or damaging photos of them have been taken and posted on the internet without their knowledge or consent.

  • 10 percent of middle school and high school students have received threatening, offensive or of hate messages.

  • 55 percent of all teens that use social media have witnessed outright bullying online.

How can we contrast the evil phenomenon of cyberbullying? Some years ago, Hinduja and Patchin (2009) presented the top ten tips for educators aimed to prevent cyberbullying. These tips can be reduced to three main suggestions:

  • Improve contextualized knowledge.

  • Develop continuing educational programs.

  • Organize technical support services.

Develop continuing educational programs includes five of the ten preventing tips, this way showing the importance that education occupies in promoting appropriate solution strategies. In the following paragraphs, the current strategies for cyberbullying prevention, the Hinduja and Patching’s tips (Marzano, 2015), are analyzed and commented upon. However, before dealing with cyberbullying prevention, the issue of what cyberbullying is should be tackled. Indeed, many forms of cyberbullying correspond to traditional harmful and aggressive behaviors (teasing, name calling, spread rumors, threatening, and ransoming). Nevertheless, the internet gives to perpetrators new and powerful means to harass their victims. The appropriation of these new means by bullies is only one aspect of cyberbullying since the technology extended the opportunity to harm people without a physical contact increasing the range of stalkers and harassers.

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