With children as young as elementary school age using a variety of social media, cyber bullying has become an increasingly difficult issue to deal with in recent years. Cyber bullying is bullying that is done through technology and social media using emails, twitter, and text messaging to intimidate, threaten, or harass another individual. While both boys and girls are involved in this type of behaviour, some have questioned whether this problem is more common among girls. The following information discusses the rise in cyber bullying, the different bullying techniques used by both boys and girls, and how we can all work to prevent cyber bullying girls.
The Rise in Cyber Bullying Girls
According to recent statistics put out by the Bureau of Justice, the number of teenagers who reported being bullied at school was 37 percent. The number who claimed to have been the victims of cyber bulling was a staggering 52 percent. Cyber bullying is tormenting, humiliating, or harassing another individual using the Internet, cell phones, or other types of social media. This type of bullying is not an isolated incident but ongoing threats and harassment.
How Cyber Bullying Girls Differ From Boys
According to dosomething.org girls are almost twice as likely as boys to be both victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying. There are many reasons behind this, most of them due to the innate differences between boys and girls. Girl bullying often differs from that of boys because girls in general have different ways of interacting with one another. Boys tend to be more aggressive than girls and are often more involved in physical bullying. In general, boys tend to bully in physical ways while girls use emotional tactics. Girls tend to be sneakier and more covert in their bullying tactics, which may be why hiding behind a computer screen or a cell phone seems so appealing.
Cyber Bullying Girls Often Not Recognized
According to research conducted at the University of Miami, girls use methods of bullying that are in general different from those that boys use. Girls will often subtly exclude other individuals, indirectly ostracise victims, and spread vicious rumours about them. Since bullying techniques by girls usually don’t involve physical violence, adults are sometimes slower to respond or take seriously bullying done by girls. If there are physical fights, threats, or the stealing of property, most adults take immediate action, in or out of a school environment. Since most people accept the forming of groups and cliques as a normal part of socialization, adults may not understand how specific exclusion from these groups can be a form of bullying. While it is normal for both girls and boys to form close bonds and even groups with certain individuals, it is not normal to purposely make others feel that they aren’t good enough to be part of certain groups.
How Cyber Bullying Girls Bully
While boys will openly bully others, girls are often more secretive about bullying. Girls may send intimidating emails from a fake account. Girls often bully in packs or groups. In doing this they will incite others in the group to bully. Girls will sometimes spread rumours about their victims and encourage others to spread them as well. They will purposely whisper in from of the victim in an effort to intimidate.
Solutions to Cyber Bullying Girls
The first step in dealing with cyber bullies is to make sure all adults who need to be informed about the bullying are told. This includes parents, teachers, and school officials. Of course this means that those being cyber bullied need to feel that they can tell the adults in their lives that the bullying is taking place. Perhaps the only thing more disconcerting than the fact that 52 percent of teenagers reported being cyber bullied is that the same percentage reported not telling their parents when the bullying occurred. Some speculate that this is because the teenagers fear that they will lose access to social media if they tell anyone. Losing cell phone privileges or access to the Internet can be devastating to many children.
Children should always be encouraged to have at least one trusted adult he or she can confide in. Organizing anti-bullying committees in schools is one way to stop cyber bullying. By having students as well as teachers on the committee, adults may be more likely to find out about bullying issues that are occurring among the students. Schools, as well as parents, can use a variety of blocking or filtering software in their computers. Finally, a system needs to be in place in every school and home that sets up clear boundaries regarding cyber bullying, ways to report the bullying when it takes place, and then immediate plans to respond to each case.