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Eric Cabarlo
Amira Akl
ENGL 1010-011
Bullies in the Cyber Playground
Who is this punk? Look at his face, he looks like a train wreck. This guy is a total loser
and should not even exist. All these negative comments that are pure examples of cyberbullying
on social networks. Cyberbullying is the newest trend of bullying. It works more effectively than
traditional bullying; it takes less effort to bully some online than on school grounds; and
cyberbullies can bully other users on social networks while remaining as an anonymous user.
This makes tracking down cyberbullies harder because no one knows who the cyberbully is.
When compared to traditional bullying, it is a primitive way of asserting power over the weak
and powerless. It first starts off as negative comments and insults to other students, then quickly
escalates into fights on school grounds. Fortunately, bullying on school grounds can be easily
resolved; however cyberbullying is harder to stop because we do not know who the real
cyberbully is or where he or she is remotely bullying someone. With all the controversies about
cyberbullies, the internet has become a dangerous place to be, because students who were bullied
online end up committing suicide. In order to prevent teens from committing suicide and to
prevent cyberbullies from appearing on social networks is to teach internet safety. If we can do
that, the internet will be a safer place.
Matt Keller, Heather Inagaki, and Nobuya Crandall created a ProQuest entry about
identifying and preventing cyberbullying among adolescents. The word adolescent comes from
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the Latin adolescere, which literally translates to, grow up. This is exactly what adolescents are
trying to do, and part of that growing and maturing is the formation of a personal identity. As
children develop this personal identity, they begin to understand how they fit in with their peer
groups. This is the formation of a social identity. During the formation of that social identity is
the time when children discover what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behavior. Social
Judgment Theory, then begins when these children begin to rank in their minds where a certain
message falls on the scale between acceptable and unacceptable. Muzafer Sherif (Griffin, 2009)
broke these down into three mental categories called latitudes. Acceptable messages fall into the
latitude of acceptance. The latitude of rejection is where unacceptable, dissatisfactory, or
objectionable behavior fall. Finally, people place messages and stimuli that are neither
acceptable nor rejectable in the latitude of noncommitment. When a child realizes he or she holds
more of this social power over a peer based on what he or she deems acceptable, or which
latitude the stimuli falls, the choice becomes more difficult to interrupt the actions of a bully as a
bystander. Therefore, it is important to teach children at an early age, when these behaviors are
being learned, that bullying in any form is unacceptable and must not fall in any other latitude.
The information provided to teachers is a step in that direction. The intent is for teachers to take
this information and deliver it to a wide range of ages, but specifically to those who are most at
risk to become cyberbullies. With this in mind however, Li (2007) conducted a study that
suggests that many of the factors that come into the creation of a typical bully also come into
play for a cyberbully. Lis stated factors include, bullying, gender, culture, use of technology,
knowledge of cyber safety and academic achievement (p. 439). Of these stated factors, use of
technology, and knowledge of cyber safety would not be determinants in the profile of a
traditional bully. Thus the project is informed through this research by making it based in
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technology and available online. It is also delivering cyber safety knowledge to minimize these
particular factors in an attempt to correlate cyberbullying with traditional bullying, which is often
seen as unacceptable by adolescents.
Lindsay McIntosh composed a news article, in The Times (London, England), about how
children are facing bullies who not only exist as schools, but also on online social media
networks such as Facebook and Twitter. McIntosh continues in her article and that charities
quoted that children felt there was no escape from this form of bullying, since online
tormentors can reach their victims at home. McIntosh also mentions a quote from Alison Todd
saying that Cyberbullying is a relatively new form of bullying that is growing in prevalence. It
can spread rapidly and uncontrollably and can feel inescapable to those who experience it.
Cyberbullying can reach children at home, which is normally a place where they find respite
from bullying. "Cyberbullying therefore represents a uniquely difficult challenge for children
and adults alike to tackle. As with all forms of bullying, [it] has to be taken seriously by schools
as it can have a devastating impact on a child. It is important that parents and teachers educate
themselves about mobile technology and online communities, so they are aware of the risks
facing young people and to ensure they are using technology in a responsible way." Shane
Gallagher, a child psychologist, said that because the bullying often happened outside the
classroom or playground, it could be harder for schools to deal with. And he warned that it was
self-perpetuating, with victims of cyberbullying more likely to do the same to others in the
future. So whether our kids are at school or at home using their computer, the bullies at school
can find our children at home online.
Ian Quillen composed a brief article about a study that was conducted by the University
of British Columbia. The study was about the difference between traditional bullying to
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cyberbullying. According to the study, cyberbullying is likely to be under-reported by students
because they incorrectly believe the activity to be less harmful than physical bullying. While
"traditional" bullying usually brings with it a power (size or popularity) difference between
bullies and victims, proactive targeting by the bully, and continued bullying over a period of
time, cyberbullying often possesses none of those three traits, the report contends. The absence
of those traits may be linked to the flexibility of online media, which can lead students to play
the roles of bullies, victims, and witnesses interchangeably. Ian Quillen is a writer for Education
Week and Education Week Digital Directios as well as web producer of the latter. He also
contributes to the blog Digital Education. Ian Quillen covers educational technology and the
states of Georgia, North Carolina, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Although parents are beginning to understand more about cyberbullying, it would seem
that they have yet to give ground rules for communicating online. Parents need to talk with their
children regarding the rules of technology, including the safety and forbidden uses of that
technology. Parents need to take a more active role in supervising their children in the online
world and communicate with their children that it is not acceptable to harass, spread gossip, or
make mean comments towards others. They need to educate themselves about cyberbullying and
the legal ramifications of it. Although it is challenging to parents in this new technological
world, it is a requirement to be a vigilant parent today. Many Web sites exist that provide great
learning tools for parents and have excellent guidelines on supervising children on the Internet:,,, and Parents need to help their
children understand what to do if they are cyberbullied or a witness to cyberbullying. There are
many preventive steps that educators can take to address cyberbullying on or off school campus.
First, an effective bullying prevention program is needed to assess the problem in each individual
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school. Students can complete an anonymous questionnaire about bullying and cyberbullying
behavior at school. This will help educators gain insight about what is occurring among their
students, how common cyberbullying is, and if it is occurring during the school day.
Incorporating cyberbullying training as a regular part of staff training is one way that schools can
educate their faculty on this important topic. Training should include prevention as well as how
to intervene when it occurs. Parents should be offered the same level of training provided to
educators and given any school policies and procedures that were developed to protect all staff
and students against cyberbullying. This will put educators and parents on the same helpful page.
Even though cyberbullying is a relatively new phenomenon, researchers have been
studying, and parents and schools have been dealing with these behaviors for over a decade.
While most cyberbullying does not occur or originate in school, ultimately these behaviors do
significantly affect what is going on at school (Hinduja & Patchin, 2012a). Although no formal
evaluations of cyberbullying prevention programs and strategies have yet to occur, there are
promising approaches and specific steps educators can take to minimize the amount and
seriousness of cyberbullying incidents. First, teachers have an obligation to educate the school
community about responsible internet use. Students need to know that all forms of bullying are
wrong and that those who engage in harassing or threatening behaviors will be subject to
discipline (Willard, 2007a, 2007c). It is therefore important to discuss issues related to the
appropriate use of online communications technology in various areas of the general curriculum
(Hinduja & Patchin, 2012a). These messages should be especially reinforced in classes that
regularly utilize technology. Signs should also be posted in the computer lab or at each computer
workstation to remind students of the rules of acceptable use. Second, school district personnel
should review their harassment and bullying policies to see if they allow for the discipline of
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students who engage in cyberbullying. Depending on the language in the policy, cyberbullying
incidents that occur at school--or that originate off campus but ultimately result in a substantial
disruption of the learning environment--are well within a school's legal authority to address
(Hinduja & Patchin, 2011; Willard, 2007a, 2010). The school then needs to make it clear to
students, parents, and all staff that these behaviors are subject to discipline. In some cases,
simply discussing the incident with the bully's parents will result in the behavior ending.
Education and policy development are important first steps, but if schools really want to prevent
cyberbullying (and other student misbehaviors), holistic efforts must be taken to foster and
maintain a positive climate at school.
A brief article from the Family Practice News explains that cyberbullying triples suicide
risk in teens. Suicide attempts that required treatment were more than three times as likely in
teenagers who reported being bullied online, compared with youths who were not bullied, an
analysis of federal data on more than 15,000 adolescents found. Girls faced twice as much
electronic bullying as boys. Cyberbullying was reported by 22% of girls and 11% of boys,
according to the study of data on teens aged 13-18 years from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention's 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the first of its kind to ask questions about
cyberbullying. Other data suggest that 80% of U.S. teens use social networking sites, Dr. Kristi
M. Kindrick said at a press briefing at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric
Association. Among 13- to 17-year-olds, an estimated 12% have suicidal ideation, 4% plan
suicide, and 4% attempt suicide, rates that now are similar to those in adults, she noted. The
effects of online harassment on risk may be one reason that suicide is now the third leading cause
of death in adolescents, behind accidents and homicides. Dr. Kindrick and her associates found
that one in six teens reported being electronically bullied, compared with one in five who said
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they had been bullied on school grounds. Almost 6% of high school students said they had
missed school because of fears for their safety. The rate of conventional off-line bullying, such
as harassment in the schoolyard, was 22% for girls (the same rate as online bullying) and 18%
for boys (higher than the 11% rate for cyberbullying), reported Dr. Kindrick, a fourth-year
resident in psychiatry at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, who was
moved to do the study after a young patient killed herself following cyberbullying. Offline
bullying, however, only doubled the risk for suicide, compared with the tripling in risk seen with
cyberbullying, she said. Rates for the most serious cases--suicide attempts that required
treatment--were 1.5% for youths who had not been bullied, 2.3% for those who reported being
bullied at school, 5.4% among those who had been cyberbullied, and 6% if they had been bullied
both offline and online. The Family Practice News is an independent newspaper that provides the
family physician with timely and relevant news and commentary about clinical developments in
the field and about the impact of health care policy on the specialty and the physician's practice.
A brief article from Education Week covers a story about a girl who committed suicide.
Felony charges were filed last week against two girls in Florida accused of harassing a classmate
so much that she jumped to her death. Authorities in Polk County arrested 12- and 14-year-old
girls before the investigation was completed, after the older girl continued to post abusive
messages about the victim on a social-media site. Rebecca Ann Sedwick, 12, had been targeted
for about 10 months by the girls, who told her that she was "ugly" and "should go kill herself" on
numerous occasions online, according to arrest records. Rebecca jumped off a silo at an
abandoned cement plant last month.
Due to the fact the cyberbullying is such a big issue, famous people, such as Shinedown,
have decided to help raise awareness in cyberbullying. The lead single from Shinedown's fourth
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studio album, Amaryllis, was the first new music to be heard from the Florida-based hard rockers
since all six singles from 2008's The Sound Of Madness topped the rock radio chart. The song
was released on January 3, 2012. According to our dictionary, "Amaryllis" is a bulbous plant,
which is also known as the "belladonna lily" or "naked lady." It takes its name from a
shepherdess in Virgil's pastoral Eclogues. Shinedown drummer Barry Kerch explained to why the band named the album after the flower: "Really it becomes what the
band is all about - a beautiful flower that comes out of a desolate area," he said. "There's an
overall sense on this record of overcoming and rising up and being a strong person, and that's
exactly what this band is. We've risen up; we're the strongest we've ever been at this point. It's
really all-encompassing for where we are right now in our career." Amaryllis sees Shinedown
linking up again with producer Rob Cavallo (My Chemical Romance, Green Day), who
previously collaborated with the band on The Sound Of Madness. The album was recorded at
Cavallo's Lightning Sound studios outside of Los Angeles as well as both Ocean Way Recording
and Capitol Studios in Hollywood. This song is an anthem that addresses bullying. It sends a
message of strength to those who are victims, reassuring them that they're not alone and there are
many who have made it through. "We don't have to take this back against the wall, we don't have
to take this we can end it all," sings frontman Brent Smith. Kerch told that there
wasn't any specific event that prompted to write a song about bullying. "I think we've all
witnessed it in our lives," he said. "It's definitely more in the news; it's a hot ticket item right
now. But I think that also exists because of the social media outlets Facebook and Twitter,
things like that. Really the song wasn't about one specific occasion, just bullying in general. You
can't let yourself get bullied in life; you have to stand up for yourself and have a sense of pride in
yourself and don't take it anymore. It's for anybody of any age group, whether you're a kid being
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bullied around, or even in your work place being bullied by your boss; it's universal, it's for
everyone." Shinedown guitarist Zach Myers told the story of the song. He said: "I
had the riff, and I wasn't even playing it thinking, 'Hey, let's use this for our song.' We were just
chatting about what we were going to try to achieve that day. And we were saying, 'Do you want
to go in and work on a new song or do we want to go in and keep working on another song?'
And, bullying was sort of in the forefront of the news that in that couple weeks that we were
working on that part of the album. There was a kid that very sadly had taken his own life because
of his bullying situation, which is awful. I think it was one of those things where we didn't say,
'Let's write a song about bullying,' but we're proud of it, and we're glad that it's helping people. A
lot of kids have been telling us that 'Bully' is helping them deal with being bullied, and that
means a lot." The song features vocals by the West Los Angeles children's choir.
State lawmakers have taken notice of the troubling trends and statistics and as a
preventive effort have begun to pass legislation prescribing some form of internet safety
education in schools, with some adding language that specifically identifies the need to address
cyberbullying. One such state is Virginia, which passed a bill in 2006 that compels districts to
incorporate internet safety instruction into their entire curriculum, and requires that the effort to
curb cyberbullying must be written into schools' acceptable use policies. Tammy McGraw,
director of the Office of Educational Technology for the Virginia Department of Education,
urges educators to exploit teachable moments for addressing online safety. "People are very
aware of how important this [effort] is," says McGraw, who is working with the Pokemon
Learning League ( to develop content covering cyberbullying
for its series of web-based, animated lessons that supplement classroom instruction. "One thing
we have tried to do is get people to understand that cyberbullying is not something that is
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sufficiently covered by a one-day assembly." Suzanne Hochenauer, educational technology
specialist for the Texas Education Agency, has taken on the task of developing a website
( that complies with the state's mandate to make
available to school districts a list of resources concerning internet safety. The website includes a
special section that addresses cyberbullying in detail. Hochenauer stresses it's critical for districts
to inform teachers of the risks that kids face online. "Teachers don't know about this," she says.
She adds that teachers' fear of technology keeps them unaware of the associated dangers;
meanwhile, students' fearlessness toward technology is what places them at risk. In the end, says
Hochenauer, it's really about educating everyone involved. While the states are responding to
cyberbullying by adopting legislation that mixes prevention with punishment, for school districts
the issue quickly turns from educating the community about the threat of cyberbullying to
crafting a response when an incident actually occurs. Districts are realizing that integrating
internet safety education into curriculum isn't enough. They must also address cyberbullying in
their conduct and discipline codes. In 2006, under the direction of Associate Superintendent
Prentiss Lea, Community High School District 128 in northeastern Illinois rewrote its athletic,
activity, and fine arts codes of conduct to encompass online activity occurring beyond the school
network as well as within it. According to Lea, a committee of stakeholders that included
parents, teachers, and district leaders worked closely to develop a policy that created specific
expectations for students' online behavior. Students participating in extracurricular activities
must sign the policy, which states that proof of illegal or inappropriate online behavior--on or off
campus--is grounds for disciplinary action. Students may face anything from a meeting with the
principal or detention to, if the district has evidence a law has been broken, criminal charges.
Lynch explains that all the new digital technologies and the emergence of social networking sites
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offer bullies an abundance of opportunities to make trouble. MySpace, Facebook, and Bebo pose
the greatest risk to students, since they pose the easiest access for would-be cyberbullies. But
Lynch adds that all of the new Web 2.0 tools pose a threat. "Kids text-message to bully each
other, send e-mails," he says. "I had a female student post another female student's cell phone
number on a prostitution website, and she was flooded with calls from men across the country. I
tell kids, especially girls, you're going to go through more best friends than you can shake a stick
at in high school. Don't give out your passwords to anyone."
Some people believe that cyberbullying is just a joke. They think that everybody is
overreacting and that the student and bully are just horsing around. Some people also think that
everyone needs to toughen up and have a thicker skin. All the people believe that cyberbullying
is nothing more than childs play. An example of this scenario is if a child was playing an online
game with another player. The child loses and gets mad over the fact that he lost a game. He then
sends hate messages to the other player.
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Works Cited

"Bully." By Shinedown Songfacts. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.
Choucalas, Vida Zoe, and Terry Mcdaniel. "Cyberbullying and How It Impacts Schools." Thesis.
Indiana State University, n.d. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (2013): 178. ProQuest
Dissertations & Theses Full Text. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.
Ercu, Engl ShB. "Cyberbullying Triples Suicide Risk in Teens." Family Practice News 1 June
2013: 6. Health Reference Center Academic. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.
"Harasssment Charges Filed in Cyberbullying Suicide." Education Week 30 Oct. 2013: 5.
Academic OneFile. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.
Keller, Matt, and Heather Inagaki, Nobuya Crandall. "Identifying and Preventing Cyberbullying
among Adolescents." Thesis. Gonzaga University, n.d. ProQuest Dissertations and
Theses (2012): 57. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.
McIntosh, Lindsay "Children Facing New Torment as Bullies Move from the Playground to
Cyberspace." The Times [London, England] 26 Jan. 2011: 13. Infotrac Newsstand. Web.
27 Mar. 2014.
Patchin, Justin W., and Sameer Hinduja. "School-based Efforts to Prevent Cyberbullying." The
Prevention Researcher 19.3 (2012): 7. Health Reference Center Academic. Web. 27 Mar.
Quillen, Ian. "Study: Cyberbullying Different From Physical Bullying." Digital Directions 13
June 2012: 8. Academic OneFile. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.
Riedel, Chris. "The Fight against Cyberbullying: As Tales of Online Cruelty Mount, Districts
Are Trying a Mix of Prevention and Punishment, Incorporating Internet Safety into
Curriculum and Tightening Student Conduct Codes."T H E Journal [Technological
Horizons In Education] May 2008: 20. Academic OneFile. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.