Week 4 Reflection:
This week was all about cyberbullying. We began by learning the differences between cyberbullying and traditional bullying or “schoolyard bullying”. One of the things that stuck with me was that cyberbullying seems so much more nefarious than traditional face to face bullying. The anonymous nature of a digital environment creates a scenario that allows people (children and adults) to hide behind the safety of a screen as they carry out their harmful acts and distribute their hurtful words. In the book, Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and responding to Cyberbullying, Hinduja & Patchin discuss the nature of cyberbullying at length. Basically, like in so many other circumstances, cyberbullying is an attractive means of harm due to the ease and convenience that technology provides (Hinduja & Patchin, 2015). I guess you could say it all boils down to a lazy, cowardly form of torment. Although the anonymity aspect of cyberbullying had already occurred to me, there were some elements of cyberbullying mentioned that I had not previously considered. Two of the most interesting named were deindividuation and lack of supervision. I had never even heard of deindividuation which refers to the idea that when people, in this case, teens, come together in an online space they sort of lose their own identity to the identity of the group. They essentially forget or lose grip with their true self and fall prey to the idea that they are beyond getting caught. This leads them to commit behaviors and actions that they would never do in person. Another idea mentioned in the same chapter, made me think about the internet as the digital “wild west”. There is no real supervision in cyberspace and I can see how attractive this might be to teens that long for the day when they will no longer be under their parent’s and school’s control. There is a reason that it is not a good idea for teens to venture out into the world too early. They are not mature enough to make informed decisions and have a difficult time seeing the results of their actions before it is too late, which is precisely why they should also be monitored online.
Something that I would like to reflect on is the very strange choice of material chosen for this week's reading, especially the research. As I was reading over many of the research studies, I was struck by the dated nature of some of them. I was even uncomfortable citing some of the results due to what seems to be really old data, especially where technology is concerned. I did end up going ‘rogue’ and found some more recent studies, but I always feel as though I will be punished for not using the resources provided. One of the resources that I found most useful was the report from the Pew Research Center on Internet and Technology. The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis, and other empirical social science research. The information was very current and the facts and visuals were very informative. I was able to gain some pretty interesting facts from this report and I think it would make an excellent source for this weeks coursework. Another favorite that I found was the website Stopbullying.gov, which had an entire section dedicated to cyberbullying.
Overall this week was so much better than last week. I really enjoyed learning about the effects of cyberbullying and the psychology behind both the victims and the perpetrators. I am saddened by how lacking my district is in cyberbullying prevention and education as well as all other aspects of digital citizenship. I worry that it will take a tragedy to convince the powers that be of the importance of preparing our teachers and students of the dangers and trappings that come with the knowledge and convenience of interacting in a digital world.
Week 4 reflection references:
Anderson, M. (2018). A Majority of Teens Have Experienced Some Form of Cyberbullying. Retrieved from
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2015). Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and responding to
cyberbullying (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Prevent Cyberbullying. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/prevention/index.html
Week 4 Resources:
Brewer, G., & Kerslake, J. (2015). Cyberbullying, self-esteem, empathy and loneliness. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 255-260.Brewer_Cyberbullying_Self-esteem_Empathy_Loneliness.pdf
Essex, N. L. (2016). School law and the public school: A practical guide for educational leaders. (6th ed.) (pp. 107-110). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. Essex_Bullying.pdf
Essex, N. L. (2016). School law and the public school: A practical guide for educational leaders. (6th ed.) (pp.111-114). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. Essex_Cyberbullying.pdf
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2015). Bullying beyond the schoolyard: Preventing and responding to cyberbullying (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN 978-1-4833-4993-0
Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J.W. (2015). Developing a positive school climate: Top ten tips to prevent bullying and cyberbullying. Cyberbullying Research Center.Hinduja_Patchin_School-Climate-Top-Ten-Tips-To-Prevent-Cyberbullying.pdf
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2015). Cyberbullying legislation and case law: Implications for school policy and practice. Cyberbullying Research Center.Cyberbullying Legislation and Case Law.pdf
Mitchell, K. J., Finkelhor, D., Jones, L. M., & Wolak, J. (2012). Prevalence and characteristics of youth sexting: A national study. Pedatrics, 129, 13-20.Mitchell_Prevalence_&_Characteristics_of_Youth_Sexting_2012.pdf
Siegle, D.(2010). Cyberbullying and sexting: Technology abuses of the 21st century. Gifted Child Today, 32(2), 14-16, 65.Siegle_Cyberbullying_and_Sexting.pdf
A Thin Line website: http://www.athinline.org/
Cyberbullying Research Center website: http://cyberbullying.org/
Embrace Civility in the Digital Age website: http://www.embracecivility.org/
NoBullying Website: http://nobullying.com/
Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center Website: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/stats.asp