Essay Example on Cyberbullying in High Schools: Devastating Effects and Prevention

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Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1773 Words
Date:  2023-08-31


Cyberbullying has become prevalent among the youth, especially those in high school, due to the extensive use of the internet in recent years. Great attention is being paid to the youth by educators, parents, and the media due to the high prevalence of cyberbullying in high school. Cyberbullying can be devastating for the victim and their family. It is connected to adverse psychological effects such as low self-esteem, anxiety, anger, school failure, violence, and, in extreme cases, suicide (Eristi & Akbulut, 2019). Also, it has been purported that the damage incurred from cyberbullying is more significant than bullying since there is no chance for victims to escape. It is also quite easy to preserve harmful material and spread it to a wide range. It is also necessary to note that high school students who cannot harass others face-to-face might opt to cyberbully since they believe that they can hide or there is nothing wrong in engaging in such a form of conduct virtually (Li, 2010).

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Research has shown that high school students participate in cyberbullying due to various reasons. They have been classified as internal and external motivations for engaging in cyberbullying. The inner motivations were observed to be linked with the emotional states of the culprits as the external were obtained from elements explicit to the target or condition (Zhou et al., 2013). As such, the comprehension of these details is crucial to adults who may be working with the perpetrators in the development of preventive interventions to sort the internal needs and emotional state of the cyberbully and further concentrate on external motivators.

An exploration of the external and internal motivations is essential before an analysis of the results of the study is conducted. One of the factors of internal motivations is to redirect feelings. It describes a motivation that entails previous hurtful experiences (Udris, 2014). As such, the cyberbully may have either been bullied or even hurt in the past and then responds by bullying an innocent individual online. It is a motivation for them to release their feelings to another person who is not the perpetrator (Aoyama et al., 2011). There is also the aspect of revenge. In this case, the students usually go after the individual who wronged them to feel better instead of targeting one random person. Another point of internal motivations of cyberbullying among high school students is boredom (Varjas et al., 2010). The cyberbully may have been motivated to victimize other students to either create entertainment or pass time.

Moreover, protection is another element of motivation for high school students to partake in cyberbullying. They may be motivated to engage in the exercise to appear as the most robust individual and thus avoid being teased by others (Mishna et al., 2016). There is also the element of seeking approval, where high school students participate in cyberbullying to gain endorsement or attention. Students have reported that cyberbullies usually crave attention, which is why they typically argue over something little and petty (Beringer, 2011). Also, some of the high school students typically want to try out a new persona. They thus want to represent themselves differently in the cyberspace as compared to the way they are generally perceived in school (Compton et al., 2014). Besides, there is the disinhibition or anonymity effect. The capability to be anonymous has a direct impact on the feelings of disinhibition (Huang & Chou, 2010). Concerning anonymity, the cyberbully may not be aware of their online victim, or even the perpetrator may not have revealed their identity to the cyber victim. The disinhibition impact further demonstrates a case where the cyberbully feels that they can say or even engage in activities that may not be able to partake in face to face (Mishna et al., 2016).

One of the external motivations that lead high school students to engage in cyberbullying is the issue of no consequences where the perpetrator feels like that they cannot face any impact or any form of retaliation from the victim. These students also feel that they cannot face any permanent consequence or observe meaningful feedback from the casualty (Gradinger et al., 2012).

Research has been conducted to demonstrate the link between high school students' high phone usage and engagement in cyberbullying. In Vietnam, it was found that high school students are less likely to utilize the phone compared to those in the West. Also, when using the phone, it usually has no access to the internet. As a result, they have a lower incidence of cyberbullying as compared to other countries in the West (Tran & Shukri, 2018). Moreover, the research revealed that one student out of 5,200 engages in physical violence (Tran & Shukri, 2018). Violence does not also end in real life since some learners utilize electronic devices to record the violence then spread it on popular social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, which are all used worldwide. By doing this, it affects the status and honor of other learners (Tran & Shukri, 2018).

High school students with psychological distress have further been observed to engage in cyberbullying more than those without this distress. Furthermore, boys with different mental states have higher levels of electronic violence than girls. The results of the same study further revealed similar results in that males and females who participated in violence and even envisaged suicide were more likely to be victims than their peers in the same group (Tran & Shukri, 2018).

Certain risk factors exist for cyberbullying among high school students. One of the prominent elements is the intensive use of the internet. Another relevant risk factor is involvement in bullying and school violence. High school students who were physically victimized at school were more prospective to be culprits of internet provocation. However, this finding was not supported by the fact that traditional victims were not more prospective to bully others electronically but relatively be victimized electronically (Mishna et al., 2012).

On the other hand, research was conducted on the issues facing students who engage in cyberbullying in schools. It was found that high school students who were cyber victims were more likely to have psychosomatic difficulties such as abdominal pain, sleeping problems, and headaches. They were also expected to have high intensities of apparent complications, emotional and peer problems, and also tend to feel insecure at school and not cared for by teachers (Myers & Cowie, 2019). Furthermore, the results demonstrated that the high school students who are cyberbullies had a high level of conduct difficulties, engaged in recurrent smoking and drunkenness, were hyperactive and had a low prosocial conduct (Sourander et al., 2010). Therefore, there was a relationship between cyberbullying among high school students and behavioral difficulties.

Teachers' Response to Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying has been noted to be an increasing issue that is posing challenged to teachers. A study was conducted and revealed that teachers are quite concerned about the issue of cyberbullying. They also demonstrated to lack confidence in managing problems brought by cyberbullying (Eden et al., 2013). In another study, it was found that teachers are aware and concerned about the impact of cyberbullying on students. However, they do not believe it is a problem in schools. The high level of awareness among teachers on cyberbullying is encouraging despite the study revealing that they were not sure how to detect and even manage the issue. In the research, 22% of the teachers were confident in detecting cyberbullying, and only one depicted that they were confident in its management (Espelage & Hong, 2017).

On the other hand, the teachers in the survey noted that they believed schools should cultivate strategies and programs to assist in dealing with cyberbullying. The response was above the expectation of researchers who predicted that 75% would consider the school counselors and administrators to organize activities to handle cyberbullying, and only 25% would indicate that teachers should be responsible for the organization of activities (Beringer, 2011). Moreover, teachers suggested that schools should provide learners and their families resources to assist in handling cyberbullying. It was also the agreement of every teacher that schools should discuss cyberbullying with families and connect learners to community resources to handle cyberbullying (Gimenez-Gualdo et al., 2018). Therefore, these results revealed that teachers believed schools should assist in providing learners and their families with the right resources to deal with cyberbullying.

An exploration of how high schools respond to cyberbullying has further shown that they are not entirely sufficient. There is a lapse in applying preventative intervention to create and further maintain awareness as well as safety for students (Notar et al., 2013). Before responding to cyberbullying, it is relevant for teachers to be aware of its occurrence. However, studies have revealed that most teachers may not be aware of the act until it occurs at a more severe level, creating the insight that it is a critical problem (Steinmetz, 2013).

Restorative Justice. Restorative justice views the aspect of crime as being more than breaking the law. It sees it as an aspect that harms individuals, associations, and even society. As such, it seeks to apply an objective response to address these destructions. It may further be depicted that restorative justice stresses on repairing the harm that has occurred as a result of criminal behavior (Clamp, 2016). According to restorative justice, the people who have been most affected by crime should be allowed to participate in its resolution (Wachtel, 2016). Therefore, restorative justice does not concentrate on punishing offenders but repairing the detriment they have caused.

The contemporary concept of restorative justice was designed in the 1970s in North America (Fronius et al., 2019). It was when the paramount restorative justice programs had appeared. Two probation workers brought victims and offenders of a vandalism case in 1974 (Tauri, 2016). They were gathered to handle the crime directly and debate techniques of repairing the destruction. As such, the act was successful, leading to the formation of the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP). It provided the inspiration that resulted in other innovations in North America and other places (Chiste, 2013). The program then advanced in the following decades and created a new model for thinking about the crime that was later referred to as restorative justice (Gade, 2018).

As restorative justice was being developed in North America, there were other analogous advances in Europe. One of the representatives of the abolitionist movement in Northern Europe, Nils Christie, stated his criticism that the notion of crime was a generalization that should be comprehended as encounters between real individuals. Additionally, individuals should have territorial rights to their conflicts. Christie further demonstrated that conventional criminal justice does not satisfy the needs of offenders, victims, and even the society. Instead, people with a particular stake should be endowed to take possession of their encounters and fulfill their desires in a better way (Kohli et al., 2019).

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