Category Archives: Cyberbullying

West Bloomfield teen fights bullying with compliments

National Anti-Bullying Month is October

Several groups are rallying around October as a time to raise awareness about anti-bullying efforts.

A key component of modern bullying and a key emphasis of “The New Bullying” is cyberbullying, and that has played a role in two current cases.

* In Canada, 15-year-old Amanda Todd made a video detailing the ways she was bullied. Her story, reported by the Associated Press and others, includes videos, sexting, emails, Facebook bullying and physical violence. She took her life Oct. 10, a day that had been designated for people to wear pink in support of bullying victims.

* In Maryland, a 15-year-old boy was charged with assault for bullying a high school student who was about to be interviewed by a television news crew on Oct. 8 about years of bullying he had suffered. The bullying was caught on camera.

* Early in October, Wisconsin news anchor Jennifer Livingston read an email on air that a viewer had written, telling her that she was obese and socially irresponsible for appearing that way. She made an issue of the bullying and spoke about the issue on national TV.

— Joe Grimm

Online bullying course helps teachers

In July, California State University-Fullerton will offer an online course for K-12 educators, “Understanding and Addressing Bullying.” It is another sign that bullying has changed.

The five-week onine course will include faculty from women and gender studies, psychology and education.

A university release describes Karyl E. Ketchum as a driving force behind development of the course and quotes her as saying that her daughter was cyberbullied in high school.

In the release, Ketchum sys, “Bullying is a significant problem in schools locally and nationwide. There’s a mistaken notion that things have gotten better, but schools are unsure of how to respond to bullying and receive little to no training on this issue. The goal of this course is to give educators an effective set of tools to address this problem.”

For information on the bullying course.


School transitions can be a time of trouble

Hallways, stairwells are bullying hot spots

Teachers say that training must support laws

Cartoon Network takes a stand

By Devyne Lloyd
Staff writer

Children’s television channel Cartoon Network realized how important bullying is and decided to take a stand. It started with a definition. According to the Cartoon Network website, bullying is “when someone repeatedly hurts or threatens another person on purpose. Bullying comes in many forms. And it can happen in person, in writing, online, on cell phones, in school, on the bus, at home, anywhere.” The last part of the definition is the most important: “Wherever it happens, it’s NOT acceptable.”

During the fall of 2011, Cartoon Network created and marketed a campaign to promote anti-bullying. It started with a few commercials starring Ali, Jackson and CJ from the show “Dude, What Would Happen.” They present a situation where a newcomer is bullied by another child, and an innocent bystander runs to an adult for help. At the end, they say bullying is wrong and if you see something, say something.

A few months later, more and more anti-bullying commercials began airing on the network. The commercials feature cartoon characters, actors from various shows and celebrities who have been bullied, all joining together for the Stop Bullying, Speak Up initiative. Programming suddenly switched from the Dude commercial to a huge variety: there was an anti-bullying advertisement being played almost every commercial break.

Facebook fights bullying

By Dustin Petty
Staff writer

Katie Springer has just joined the social networking website Facebook.  She was 11 years old, two years younger than the site’s required age to gain membership.

“Most of my friends were already on,” she said, “so it wasn’t a big deal.”

Katie’s mother, Karen Springer, agreed to allow her to sign-up for an account as long as Karen were given the password and allowed to regularly check on her activity.

It wasn’t more than a few months until Katie started receiving taunts on Facebook from girls her age and in her neighborhood.  One night, her classmates were so cruel that Karen was forced into action.

“The girls were at a slumber party or something and they just wouldn’t leave her alone,” she said.  “So I went and kind of screamed at the parents of the one girl about what they were doing.  Her defense was that kids will be kids.”

Second look at Bully, the video game

by Dmitri Barvinok
Staff writer

Bully, a video game produced by Rockstar Games, was first greeted by panic and protest by many organizations. Jack Thompson, an infamous anti-video game activist, went as far as to compare the game to Columbine. Bully made both the Yahoo! list of Top 10 controversial games, and PlayStation Magazine’s Top 10 Games of 2006. Lawsuits were filed in order to prevent the sale of the game.

Two years after the original game went on sale, an extended version titled Bully: Scholarship Edition was released, and this time around, it was greeted with praise, not subpoenas.

The game follows the story of Jimmy Hopkins, a boy from a family with a re-marrying mother and an absent father, who ends up at Bullworth Academy, a no-nonsense private school teeming with bullies in every corner.

Daniel Moon picked the game up after it went on sale. He doesn’t believe it warranted the controversial press that accompanied its release. You are not required to be a bully in the game, he said, it’s a choice for the player to make.

“[However], the content in the game does require violence,” he added, “because, well, it’s a Rockstar game.”

Boys are the more physical bullies

By Sam Schmitt
Staff writer

The behaviors of boys and girls that bully can be similar, but spotting bullying among boys is much easier than it is with girls.

David P. Farrington, professor of psychological criminology at Cambridge University, says that boys that bully are more physical than girls.

Psychiatrist Ann Ruth Turkel says boys are more physical because of they way they are raised. Boys are encouraged to kick their negative feelings away, while girls are taught to avoid direct confrontation.

She also says that boys usually bully strangers or acquaintances, while girls bully within their group of friends.

Alex Schmitt, a college freshman at Michigan Tech University, talked to me about his experiences with bullying during high school.

Teens’ online world can be mean

By Joe Grimm
Staff writer

In November 2011, a report on teens’ impressions of social media gave a glimpse of what it feels like to be young and online.

“Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites,” was written by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

The study asked teens about their online experiences and how they respond when they see mean or unkind behavior. The targets of cyber aggression report that it affects their whole lives, making them anxious about going to school or leading to physical fights. Although some teens pile on and others turn to each other for help, most just don’t get involved when they see it,

The study was based on telephone interviews with a representative sample of 799 U.S. teens aged 12 to 17 years old and their parents.

While most teens report positive online experiences, according to Pew, “some are caught in an online feedback loop of meanness and negative experiences.”

Twenty percent flatly responded that their peers are mostly unkind, and an additional 11% responded “it depends.”

Girls aged 12-13 active on social media were considerably more likely than other teens to say that people seemed to be mostly unkind. Thirty-three percent of them reported this to be their experience.

More than a quarter of all girls at this age said that they felt anxious about going to school the day after a bad online experience. Teens in other group reported anxieties, too.

While bullying continues to happen mostly in person, Pew reported that a substantial number of teens said they are bullied with technology. The study showed that 9 percent of teens aged 12-17 said they had been bullied by text, another 8 percent reported bullying by email, a social network site or instant messaging, and 7 percent said they have been bullied by phone.

A large majority of teens said they see digital bullying, even though they may not be its target. Eighty-eight percent told Pew they have seen peers being mean or cruel to others online. Twelve percent said this happens frequently. The report said teens who were not aware of much online cruelty are the ones who do not use social media very much.

About 55 percent of all teens said that the most frequent response of their peers to mean behavior online is to ignore it. Almost equal numbers — about 20 percent in each camp — said the responses they see to cruel behavior are to either tell someone to stop being mean or to join in the harassment.

The Pew report said teens might ignore mean behavior because it can be difficult to know what the aggression is all about and that some teens might ignore meanness to discourage it. It might also be that teens are intervening in private ways, such as direct messages

Girls’ bullying can be almost secret

By Samantha Schmitt
Staff writer

Bullying is becoming more prevalent in conversations and within schools, the media and government.

David P. Farrington, professor of psychological criminology at Cambridge University, and other researchers seem to have come to a consensus that females mostly bully each other verbally and psychologically. While this may have always been true, the introduction of the Internet and the use of it by children of younger and younger ages seems to have increased the aggressiveness of the attacks.

Even with more harm being caused, it is still not always as easy to recognize bullying when it occurs among girls.

“Cyberbullying”, a 2007 report by Amanda Lenhart for the Pew Internet and American Life Project, says that girls are more likely than boys to gossip online, making them more subject to being the topic of online rumors.

In “Teenage Girls’ Perceptions of the Functions of Relationally Aggressive Behaviors”, Bridget Reynolds and Rena Repetti wrote that girls are also more likely to be relationally aggressive with other girls than boys are to be with each other. Relational aggression is a subtle and indirect tactic used to attack relationships between friends and hurting self-esteem. It can include rumors, denying friendships, ignoring or social exclusion from a group of friends.

In “Bullying: What are the Differences between Boys and Girls?” Tanya Beran, professor of school psychology, wrote in an article that the secretive nature of this bullying may mean the attacker does not get caught. The attacks are then likely to become longer and more severe.

This kind of bullying is hard for adults to detect because indirectness allows the bully to avoid face-to-face confrontation. Since it is usually hidden from adults, there is no physical behavior to see.

Bullying between girls often happens within a group of friends, making it extremely difficult to not just see it as a typical conflict between teenage girl friends.

Korea suspects online gaming, bullying link

The South Korean government is considering further restrictions against online gaming because of a belief that gaming encourages bullying.

MSNBC reports that the “Cooling Off” law would shut down games played by people under 16 after two hours of play.

Gamers would be able to log in one more time during that 24-hour period, but only after 10 minutes of rest.

This proposed law, and a law passed in November that forbids online gaming by children under 16 from midnight to 6 a.m., are “to prevent school bullying and suicides,” MSNBC reports.