Monday, April 20, 2015

Cyberbully: Cyberbullying

This is a movie made for television, and it talks about a very current topic, cyberbullying. Because cyberbullying involves humiliation, swearing, and desperation, this scene is more suitable for adults or older teens, since there are some curse words and the main character is drawn to a desperate outcome. In fact, total despair and disappointment with life are some of the extreme outcomes of cyberbullying. However, it is important to discuss this issue, and the movie and scene have a very positive message. So, please, mind your audience when you choose this topic and scene. My students loved it, and it was a great conversation starter.

Cyber bullying is bullying through email, instant messaging (IMing), chat room exchanges, Web site posts, or digital messages or images send to a cellular phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) (Kowalski et al. 2008). Cyber bullying, like traditional bullying, involves an imbalance of power, aggression, and a negative action that is often repeated.

I. Here are some characteristics of cyberbullying, which is different from traditional bullying. Read them and decide how the main character of the movie segment dealt with them.

As bad as the "bully" on the playground may be, he or she can be readily identified and potentially avoided. On the other hand, the child who cyber bullies is often anonymous. The victim is left wondering who the cyber "bully" is, which can cause a great deal of stress.
Most children who use traditional ways of bullying terrorize their victim at school, on the bus, or walking to or from school. Although bullying can happen elsewhere in the community, there is usually a standard period of time during which these children have access to their victims. Children who cyber bully can wreak havoc any time of the day or night.
Punitive Fears
Victims of cyber bullying often do not report it because of: (1) fear of retribution from their tormentors, and (2) fear that their computer or phone privileges will be taken away. Often, adults' responses to cyber bullying are to remove the technology from a victim - which in their eyes can be seen as punishment.
Most traditional bullying episodes occur in the presence of other people who assume the role of bystanders or witnesses. The phenomenon of being a bystander in the cyber world is different in that they may receive and forward emails, view web pages, forward images sent to cell phones, etc. The number of bystanders in the cyber world can reach into the millions.

The anonymity afforded by the Internet can lead children to engage in behaviors that they might not do face-to-face. Ironically, it is their very anonymity that allows some individuals to bully at all.

II. Watch the movie segment and answer question I.

III. Here are some kinds of cyberbullying. Which ones did she suffer?

Harassment: Repeatedly sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages

Denigration: Distributing information about another that is derogatory and untrue through posting it on a Web page, sending it to others through email or instant messaging, or posting or sending digitally altered photos of someone

Flaming: Online "fighting" using electronic messages with angry, vulgar language

Impersonation: Breaking into an email or social networking account and using that person's online identity to send or post vicious or embarrassing material to/about others.

Outing and Trickery: Sharing someone's secrets or embarrassing information, or tricking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information and forwarding it to others

Cyber Stalking: Repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm or are highly intimidating, or engaging in other online activities that make a person afraid for his or her safety (depending on the content of the message, it may be illegal)

IV. Work in pairs:

1. What were the consequences of cyberbullying in the movie segment case?

2. Why did her friend decide to do it?
3. What should happen to her friend - the cyberbully? Should she be punished? How?
4. Was there anything that could have been done to prevent the situation from happening? Explain it.
5. Do you know anyone who has gone through such an experience? What happened?


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