With the advent of technology, it has become easier to do various activities. However, technology has come with certain forms of negative effects. New forms of crime have come up with criminals getting new ways of doing things. One of the negative aspects that can be associated with technology and scientific innovations is cyberbullying. This paper will discuss cyberbullying in terms of scientific and religious (catholic) approaches, the types of cyberbullying and those who are the victims of cyberbullying and its examples. Lastly, the paper will identify a point of view for cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying can be defined as the use of technology for purposes of threatening, harassing, embarrassing or targeting another person or other people. It occurs mostly among young people. When it occurs among adults, it is then categorized as cyber-stalking or cyber-harassment. This is considered to be a crime that leads to legal consequences for those who are found guilty of the crime. Cyberbullying is easy to identify, for instance, a case when a young person reveals a message, tweet, status update, or a response to a status update on Facebook that are cruel, demeaning, or harsh. It could also impersonate a person online, posting personal information, videos or photos that are meant to embarrass or hurt the other person. Cyberbullying can also occur accidentally or unintentionally because another person may post a joke that is considered as a hurtful insult to the other person (Welch, 2010).
From a scientific perspective, cyberbullying happens when new technology is introduced such as mobile phones and computers which are the tools for bullying or harassing other people. Here, cyberbullying is an aspect of scientific innovations as opposed to the issues of ethics or morality. The perpetrators of cybercrime use different platforms, such as SMS, chat rooms, Facebook, twitter, and other social sites to send their messages of whatever context they are that can embarrass, demean or hurt the person they intend to hurt. Many examples one can find in relation to cyberbullying, one of which occurred through Facebook and involved a girl named Stina Johansson. There was a group called ‘Vi Som Hatar Stina Johansson, which meant ‘those of us who hate Stina Johansson.’ Therefore, in the scientific approach, cyberbullying occurs as an effect of scientific innovations. Just as people learn to use new technologies for various positive functions, negative consequences such as cyberbullying occur. This means that technological innovations should take the blame for cyberbullying. Researchers, parents, teachers, local, regional and national authorities in consultation with mobile phone companies, social site providers and Internet providers have tried to solve the issue of cyberbullying with little success (“Cyberbullying: A Growing Problem,” 2010).
In terms of religious (catholic) approach, technology including Internet functions are to be used for common good and are supposed to help people develop positively but not to hurt them. However, when technology is used to hurt other people, it defeats the purpose for why it is developed and used in the first place. Technology is to make life easier, but not to cause problems. For the catholic religious institution, the use of technology should indicate certain ethical codes. The use of technology in social communication represents an important aspect in reshaping the elements that people understand in the world around them. Cyberbullying is a bad use of the Internet and represents an unethical behavior among young people, which should not be tolerated. Cyberbullying is an unethical and an immoral behavior because people use it to hurt and embarrass others, which is something that is not good for social existence of the human population. The catholic religious institution considered cyberbullying as an aspect of bad behavior that should not be let to continue, as it does not serve the purpose for which technology, specifically the Internet, is developed to serve (Shariff, 2010).
Different types of cyberbullying exist. The first type of cyberbullying is cyber stalking that occurs when an individual sends messages that are threatening repeatedly through the Internet or mobile phones. Stalking can move from online platforms to physical ones. The second type of cyberbullying is flaming that involves correspondence by the use of electronic communication media such as email, Facebook, messenger and chat rooms. Flaming involves arguments that are combined with images and harsh language to drive a certain point. The third type is exclusion, which happens when an individual is intentionally singled out of a group that, in its turn, taunts the image of the person using mobile phones or the Internet. The fourth type is outing which happens when a person shares private information with the help of a mobile phone or online media, but then the person is excluded when his or her information is publicly shared. The other type of cyberbullying is masquerading. This is a sophisticated kind of cyberbullying where a person creates a false identity and uses it to harass other people while pretending to be the person that they are not. It includes an attempt to steal log-in information and use that information to harass another person by threatening to share it publicly (Jimerson, Swearer, & Espelage, 2009).
The most common victims of cyberbullying are teenagers especially at the adolescent age. Those who are at the age of teenagers are the people who suffer being victims of cyberbullying. They can be either males or females. Examples of cyberbullying include a student being attacked by anonymous threatening and embarrassing emails or messages at home, whereas there could be no direct harassment in school. Another example can be posting the school bulletin with posts that have demeaning and embarrassing names directly to a particular individual. Another one can be a created profile on a social site with the name of a certain student, who starts getting emails or phone messages from strangers who think that the profile is real (Jimerson, Swearer, & Espelage, 2009).
In conclusion, cyberbullying is an aspect of scientific and technological innovations that are used to hurt and embarrass other people. Cyberbullying is a bad behavior and should not only be discouraged among people, but also punished.