Cantone et al. (2015) note that bullying is a wide spread phenomenon in schools and involves aggressive behaviour and repeated and intentional “harm doing”. The widespread use of smart phones and the internet access has resulted in cyberbullying. Cantone et al. characterise cyberbullying as the use of electronic forms of contact that allow the perpetrator to remain anonymous (Slonje and Smith, 2008 as cited in Cantone at al.) and that intensify feelings of discomfort in the victim (Dooley, Pyzalski and Cross, 2014 as cited in Cantone at al.). The Victorian State Government Education and Training website (http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/bullystoppers/Pages/cyberbullying.aspx) defines cyberbullying as bullying carried out on the internet or using a mobile phone. Arseneault, Bowes and Shakoor (2010 as cited in Cantone at al.) found that being the victim of bullying contributes to mental health problems and Ttofi, Farrington and Risk (2011 as cited in Cantone at al.) found that the persistence of cyberbullying may cause low self-esteem and long-term depressive symptoms. The malevolency involved in some cyberbullying cases is reflected in media attention. The nobullying.com article, https://nobullying.com/six-unforgettable-cyber-bullying-cases/ links cyberbullying cases to several suicides and cites the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to highlight that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young Americans with approximately 4,400 deaths per year.
Cantone at al. (2015) note that cyberbullying can take the following forms: flaming (online fights using inflammatory and vulgar language, harassment, cyberstalking, denigration, impersonation, outing (sharing a person’s secrets), trickery and exclusion (intentionally and cruelly excluding someone from an online group). The Victorian State Government website also includes sharing and forwarding private or compromising images without permission, communicating sexually explicit messages and images including pornography and social exclusion campaigns. The Victorian State Government website includes a range of information and advice for students and parents including advising children to talk to trusts adults abut cyberbullying and keep evidence.
Cantone et al. (2015) found that the more effective anti-bullying programs involve whole of class interventions often accompanied by individual actions or family involvement. The interventions involve lessons, role playing and other strategies. Anti-bullying programs targeting behaviour change of the bully or victim without affecting the social context also showed a moderate positive effect on bullying behaviour.
Cyberbullying is a problem at my school in China. It was until recently ignored but two young teachers have attempted to tackle the problem with mixed success.
Cantone, Elisa., Piras, A,. Vellante, M., Preti, A., Danielsdottir, S., D’Aloja, E., Lesinkiene, S., Angermeyer, M., Carta, M., & Bhugra, D. (2015) Interventions on Bullying and Cyberbullying in Schools: A Systematic Review. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health: CP & EMH, 11(Suppl 1 M4), 58-76. Retrieved January 20th, 2017 from CSU Library