The focus of this report is on the dynamics of bullying in relation to current beliefs regarding the causes of this form of aggression followed by an in depth study on one specific form of bullying: cyber bullying. Over the last several decades, the focus on the causes of aggressive behavior has shifted from the inborn human condition to external environment reasons. In particular, parenting styles play an important role in curbing or exasperating the bully/victim problem. The findings compiled during the development of this report indicate that bullying is a global concern and European as well as American studies parallel each other in their findings on this subject.
Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory indicates that children learn through role modeling which can lead to healthy social adjustment or to antisocial behavior. Authoritarian parenting style often leads to antisocial behavior due to lack of warmth and emotional support combined with a ridged set of rules and violent (verbal or physical) consequences if rules are not adhered to. Antisocial behavior associated with bullying and with victims is more likely to enhance the development of emotionally unhealthy children with low self-esteem, lack of self-efficacy and lack of resiliency skills that may lead to aggressive or cowering behavior. Parents’ with an Internal Locus of Control often use authoritative parenting styles which are more likely to enhance the development of emotionally healthy children with good self-esteem, self-efficacy, and Resiliency skills. Dan Olweus (1°393) detained four categories in the dynamics of the bully/victim scenario: (1) bullies, (2) passive bullies. (3) passive/submissive victims, and (4)provocative victims. Each category tells the story of how authoritarian parenting as w’ell as other possibly traumatic childhood conditions can result in varying stealthy coping mechanisms manifested in the form of childhood aggression or submission. I lie four most common forms of bullying: verbal, social, physical, and cyber bullying clarify various techniques bullies use to antagonize their victims.
Cyber bullying is simply an evolutionary version of bullying. It has shown to have tragic consequences. Because of the potential size and scope of cyber bullying the amount of damage that can be done is far greater than anything we’ve known regarding bullying. The anonymity not only makes it harder to prosecute the perpetrators, it emboldens them to believe they can escape with no penalty.
Most states have begun to enact laws that will hopefully make the perpetrators think twice before they make any potentially fatal mistakes. Ongoing training has begun for students, parents, and educators, but it ls just a beginning. There should be Public Service Announcements on television. much as there has been about littering, cigarette smoking, and drunk driving. Programs such as Facebook and MySpace need to take responsibility for what their members do. Their programs should be written in such a way that potential perpetrators will be caught. When they are thought to be negligent in their design and vigilance they should be held legally responsible. These ideas are all just beginnings, but we have to start somewhere before cyber bullying grows to such a degree that Columbine and Virginia Polytechnic University become such common events that they are passe.