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Bullying Issues: Cyber bullying vs. Traditional Bulllying

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Are you a victim of cyber bullying? Or were you the bully? Many people participate in cyber bullying or are victims of it and don’t even notice it. In fact, cyber bullying is becoming a big issue and is put above traditional bullying, yet traditional bullying is still occurring. Currently, there has been a big debate over which type of bullying has lasting or bigger impact. Yalda T.Uhls (2012) states her argument in “Cyber Bullying Has a Broader Impact than Traditional Bullying” and Susan M. Swearer (2012) makes her case in “Traditional Forms of Bullying Remains a More Prevalent and Serious Problem”. In spite of their similarities, they both have two different perspectives of cyber bullying and traditional bullying, because of their location.

First, clarify the meaning of cyber bullying and traditional bullying. Cyber bullying can be in many different forms. The main form is the spread of harmful or embarrassing information about another person in use of electronic communication devices, such as the internet or cellphones. However, it could be in the form of threats, sexual remarks, or a repetition of emails. Bullying that is physical or verbal in face- to-face contact is traditional bullying. Likewise, both cyber and traditional bullying are both forms of bullying in general. They both cause harm to other people whether it’s in a text or face-to-face. Another thing they have in common is that it has some type effect on the victim. The article, In Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection (2010), says that victims of this usually suffer loneliness and a great deal of depression. Also, suicide is an away for victims(Cyberbullying, 2010). Swearer (2012) has her remarks on the effects of bullying: “ Researchers have found that bullies who are bullied themselves have Bullying Issues 3 higher rates of depression, anxiety, anger and low self-esteem than kids who are only bullies, only victims or who are not involved in bullying at all” ( para. 10).

Unfortunately, Uhls and Swearer don’t agree on everything. Uhls argument is based on what makes cyber bullying more serve than traditional bullying; but Swearer points out the complete opposite. Swearer believes that traditional bullying is still happening and is a much bigger problem than cyber bulling. Traditional bullying mainly happens on school grounds. While victims of traditional bullying are safe at home, victims of cyber bullying are never safe. Cyber bullying happens any and everywhere, nowhere is safe. All the new enhancements in technology just make is easier for bullies to contact people. Children getting threats or called names are not just on the school grounds anymore. This is what makes cyber bullying so difficult to escape (Uhls, 2012). In fact, many victims took the suicide route to escape from cyber bulling and Uhls points out the individuals here:

The suicide of a young girl named Phoebe Prince in January of 2010 received a great deal of media attention. Phoebe was the victim of bullying, manifested online by classmates who posted disparaging remarks about her on Facebook. A few months ago, digital bullying was again in the news when Tyler Clementi, an 18-year old college student, threw himself off a bridge [on September 22, 2010] after his roommate and a friend posted a webcam video of Tyler’s sexual liaison with another man. Both of these deaths were featured in cover stories of People magazine, the second top consumer magazine in the United States (Uhls, 2012, para. 3).

On the other hand, Swearer states that traditional bullying more prevalent than cyber bullying. However, Swearer did acknowledge that cyber bullying is happening and it will Bullying Issues 4 increase over the next couple of year, but it’s not the most prevalent. Uhls (2012) said earlier that traditional bullying only happens on school grounds, but Swearer said that’s not the only location: Most think of bullying as a schoolyard problem, bullying can also occur in the workplace. More than 400 workers in the United States completed an online survey about negative workplace behaviors. They were told that bullying occurs when an individual experiences “at least two negative acts, weekly or more often, for six or more months in situations where targets find it difficult to defend against and stop abuse. The workers reported verbal abuse (threatening, intimidating, critical and humiliating comments), physical abuse (throwing a paperweight, shoving, pushing, slapping) and sexual abuse (unwanted sexual advances and sexual assault) (Swearer, 2012, para.13).

Naturally, where there are similarities there are some differences. One of the biggest differences between cyber and traditional bullying is the: audience. The numbers of views online are extremely higher than the views anyone will get at school or even at a work setting being bullied. Why is this? The Internet is filled with billions of people all over the world with unknown faces. “The Internet also allows anonymity, and a bully can target a victim while shielded behind a computer screen or mobile phone. Finally, the asynchronous nature of electronically mediated communication allows for actions to be separated from consequences” stated Uhls (2012, para. 6). In simpler terms means that bullies, on the computer, may not know or really understand how their behavior affects the victim (Swearer, 2012). Uhls (2012) agreed with Swearer (2012) when she said that the internet creates anonymity to bullies; however, she points out that cyber bullies only motive is to receive status. It’s normal for teenagers to try to fit in; by being popular that limits their possibility of being bullied. They may even become a bully, just to be popular or as teenagers would say, “cool”.

Of course, Uhls and Swearer both know that bullying, overall, is a problem. Instead of just saying it is an issue and not solving it, both of them have their own strategies of preventions. Uhls (2012) says, that the “Protecting Children in 21st Century Act” has many ways to prevent bullying. “The strategies ranged from curtailing an offender’s access to computers both at home and school, to an offender doing a presentation about cyber bullying, to taking away the offender’s extracurricular activities” claimed Uhls (2012, para. 11) However, Swearer (2012) says the no program can actually end bullying totally.

But most importantly, “When awareness of bullying becomes as much a part of school culture as reverence for athletics or glee club, we’ll have a shot at finally stopping it” (Swearer, 2012, para. 20). An example of awareness will be making assemblies in school to get the students more aware of bullying. Uhls (2012) also stated that having access to social networks and taking away kids cell phones could reduce the risk of being cyber bullying, but let’s not forget both strategies needs the parents’ commitment to work. Like Uhls, Swearer (2012) stated that parents need to get involved, whether it deals with, paying closer attention to their children or making stricter discipline rules. “Although Swearer (2012) and Uhls (2012) have their own different views on prevention strategies; they both agree that parents need to be involved to help. Cyber bullying is often shrugged off by teens and ignored as if it isn’t a huge issue; but it is (In Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, (2010)). Studies in the US in 2005 about children Bullying Issues6

showed that 13% of children are being cyber bullied 4-6 times in the past year. Traditional bullying is still going on, that’s a fact, but as years pass cyber bullying is going to increase Uhls(2012). Swearer (2012) still says that traditional bullying is a bigger problem. Yes, cyber bullying is happening, but it’s not happening as much or more severe than traditional bullying. Swearer (2012) strongly stated “Unfortunately, high-profile cyber bullying cases distract from more prevalent, traditional forms of bullying. In truth, as many as 25 percent of American school children continue to be bullied in traditional ways (para. 2)


Cyberbullying. (2010). In Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Gale,
Cengage Learning. Retrieved from http://ic.galegroup.com.bakerezproxy.palnet.info/ic/ovic/ Swearer, S. M. (2012). Traditional Forms of Bullying Remain a More Prevalent and Serious Problem. In L. I. Gerdes (Ed.), At Issue. Cyberbullying. Detroit: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from Five Myths About Bullying, Washington Post, 2010) Retrieved from http://ic.galegroup.com.bakerezproxy.palnet.info/ic/ovic Uhls, Y. T. (2012). Cyberbullying Has a Broader Impact than Traditional Bullying. In L. I. Gerdes (Ed.), At Issue. Cyberbullying. Detroit: Greenhaven Press. (Reprinted from Is Bullying Going Digital? Cyber Bullying Facts, PsychologyinAction.org, 2010) Retrieved from http://ic.galegroup.com.bakerezproxy.palnet.info/ic/ovic

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