Category Archives: FaceBook

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.”

Girls’ bullying can be almost secret

© Craig Dingle, iStockphoto

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.