Bullying as a form of harassment

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Bullying is a deliberate and offensive behavior directed at another person. Bullying usually occurs when there is a disparity in intensity or power between the victim and the perpetrator. Bullying is generally repeated and happens over a long period. Bullying comes in a range of sizes and shapes.
Amanda Todd’s story revolves around a young girl named Amanda who meets a guy on Facebook who persuades her to take naked photos of herself and send them to him via Facebook. Amanda is convinced that the person she is chatting with online is a fifteen-year-old boy. When she eventually decides to take the pictures, the dilemma starts. The online predator starts blackmailing and intimidating Amanda to take sessions of sexy video of her, or else he will send her nude photo to her friends, parents and school. Amanda declines that offer, but that does not stop the guy from blackmailing her. After several attempts to convince Amanda to send a sex video of her without any success, the guy finally decides to send Amanda’s nude photo to her Facebook friends, parents and school. He even posts the photo on a porn website. Amanda goes through a period of psychological stress and social isolation. She changes schools to avoid shame and judgment. However, the online predator does not stop to blackmail her. He claims to know her new school and friends and again threatens to continue spreading the nude photo. In her new school Amanda hooks up with an older guy, she thinks the guy likes her, but she later realizes he has a girlfriend. She is confronted by a group of people, including the guy’s girlfriend and gets physically assaulted. Amanda moves to a different city to escape the shame once again, but the online predator seems not to stop his online intimidation. Amanda becomes emotionally overwhelmed and eventually decides to take her own life.

In Amanda Todd’s story, Amanda encounters different forms of Bullying. The first form of bullying is cyber bullying. This type of bullying takes place when bullies express their bullying behaviors utilizing digital technologies such as Smartphone, computers, websites, instant text messages among other online platforms (Sticca & Perren, 2013). Cyber bullying comes in different forms like abusive messages, gossip or intimidation like in Amanda’s case.

The second form of bullying experienced by Amanda is social bullying. Social bullying is meant to spoils someone’s reputation or humiliates the victim. In Amanda Todd’s story, the bully destroys Amanda’s reputation and humiliates hers by sending her compromising images to her parents and friends. Amanda also goes through another form of bullying called physical bullying where she is confronted and physically assaulted by a girlfriend to a guy she had met at her new school.

Amanda suffered different consequences because of the bullying. She underwent social isolation, suffered humiliation, lost her friends and suffered from depression. In an attempt to deal with the bullying, Amanda moves to another school to escape the shame and the judgment in her old school. She even tries to hook up with an older guy, but the move turns tragic. At last, she opts to end her misery by taking her life.

I believe that Amanda’s teachers, parents and the authorities should have taken some urgent measures to stop the bullying and eventual suicide. Amanda’s parents, in particular, should have monitored their daughter’s online behavior. For instance, they should have restrained her from using the internet for a time and sought the services of a counselor to help her recover. Teachers should also have offered her counseling and protection from intimidation and abuses at school. The police, on the other hand, should have investigated the issue and brought the culprit to book for his actions (Sticca & Perren, 2013).

During my time in high school, two cases of bullying happened. One was verbal bullying, and the other was physical bullying. The two cases were similar because they involved a situation where the bully who was strong and powerful and a victim who was weak and timid. However, they were also different in some aspect. While verbal bullying included name calling, teasing, insult and racist remarks physical bullying involved pushing, kicking and hitting the victim. The bullying was caused by the need the bullies to feel in control (Bauman et al. 2013). The need for power drove the bullies, and they achieved it by subduing others. The bullying was also caused by the need for bullies to gain popularity and attention. We have bullying prevention programs like enforcing schools rules, issuing punishment on bullies, and enhancing monitoring in bullying hotspots. Increasing surveillance in bullying hotspots intimidates bullies and reduces cases of bullying. Setting and enforcing strict rules on bullying helps people in school to refrain from bullying behaviors (Bauman et al. 2013).

It is critical for institutions to change their attitudes towards bullying, to reduce it. Schools should help students who are bullied through programs like counseling. This requires the coordination of everyone in the school environment like instructors, counselors, school administrators, drivers and even medical staff. Parents should also monitor their kid’s online behavior and restrain them from internet use if the need arises.

References

Bauman, S., Toomey, R. B., & Walker, J. L. (2013). Associations among bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide in high school students. Journal of adolescence, 36(2), 341-350.

Sticca, F., & Perren, S. (2013). Is cyberbullying worse than traditional bullying? Examining the differential roles of medium, publicity, and anonymity for the perceived severity of bullying. Journal of youth and adolescence, 42(5), 739-750.

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