Hiding Behind the Screen

080747_Cyber_BullyingBullies have been around for as long as we can remember. But now with technology, bullies now have a new way to target and attack their victims. In Alone Together one girl, Marcia explained, “that it’s easy for her to be mean to people online because she does not have to see their face, and see their reaction. She also explained it’s easier because she is talking to a computer screen, so she does not have to see how she is hurting them.” [3] We all know the term “sticks and stones, may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”, but cyber bullying can have some major effects emotionally on the victims.

Cyber bullying mostly goes on between young people. Cyber bullying is defined as bullying that takes places with the use of electronic technology. The technology can range from phones, computers, online chats, and even though social media gives us a way to connect with our family and friends cyber bullying can occur here as well. The bullies can spread rumors on social media, or can send mean texts or emails. Some bullies will even create a fake account to spread rumors about their victim and harass them. Cyber bulling can take place 24 hours a day in contrast to the bullying that happens at school. The victims can have anxiety, depression, and other stress-related disorders. Some victims have even turned to suicide. [1]

A friend of mine told me a story of a girl she knew that was cyber bullied on a social media site called Tumblr. Other Tumblr users bullied her and she did not even know them. They constantly told her that no one cared about her, she wasn’t important, and she should just kill herself. My friend also told me that the girl posted a video of herself explaining that she tried to commit suicide by over dosing on pills, but her friends found her in time to take her to the hospital. [2]

Turkle explains that technology can cause anxiety and I agree with her, and I believe with cyber bullying it can cause even more anxiety. Teens are constantly checking their phones, they feel like if they don’t they are missing out on information, or missing something important. Teens who are cyber bullied experience checking their phones even more. They constantly are checking to see if the bully posted a new rumor about them, or to see the if other people have added comments to what the bully has said. In Alone Together, the teens explained that, “Facebook has taken over their life. And she is unable to log off.” [3] The victim of cyber bullying could also be getting notifications to their phone about the comments that are being said about them.

People who cyber bully are usually the popular kids or the teens that are trying to fit into a certain social group. The bully wants to look and stay popular, bullying gives them power, or they have low-self esteem so putting others down makes them feel better about themselves. Cyber bullying allows them to hide behind the screen, or they can even bully anonymously. I agree with Turkle’s argument that technology can pull us apart, and I believe using different technology to cyber bully is another example of her argument.

Footnotes

1. http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/

2. Interview with Brenea Gordon on 2/16/15

3. Sherry Turkle. Alone Together

4. Photo from http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/24423

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