Electronic aggression (cyber-bullying) (Week 3)

April 23, 2015


This week, this writer will continue addressing the serious issue of electronic aggression. Electronic aggression (a/k/a cyber-bullying) is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat rooms, and websites. Stopbullying.gov reports the staggering frequency of cyber-bullying: • The 2010-2011 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics) indicates that 9 percent of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyber-bullying. • The 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey finds that 15 percent of high school students (grades 9-12) were electronically bullied in the past year. • Research on cyber-bullying is growing. However, because kids’ technology use changes rapidly, it is difficult to design surveys that accurately capture trends. Cell phones and computers themselves are not to blame for cyber-bullying. Social media sites can be used for positive activities, like connecting kids with friends and family, helping students with school, and for entertainment. But these tools can also be used to hurt other people. Whether done in person or through technology, the effects of bullying are similar, however. Kids who are cyber-bullied are more likely to: • Use alcohol and drugs • Skip school • Experience in-person bullying • Be unwilling to attend school • Receive poor grades • Have lower self-esteem • Have more health problems What can you do? The Centers for Disease Control recommends that parents and caregivers educate themselves with regard to electronic aggression and recognize warning signs. Stay informed about the new devices and websites your child is using. Technology changes rapidly, and many developers offer information to keep people aware of advances. Continually talk with your child about “where they are going” online and explore the technology yourself. Technology is not going away, and forbidding young people to access electronic media may not be a good long-term solution. Together, parents and children can come up with ways to maximize the benefits of technology and decrease its risks. Next Week: Electronic Aggression (Cyber-Bullying) – Conclusion The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.