November 11, 2011
Text Messaging Becomes the Latest Factor in Bullying
As if kids needed more outlets to tease and torment one another, the same service that currently keeps younger generation’s connected, has become the same one that is turning them against one another: text messaging.
Bullying used to primarily take place at the bus stop, at recess on the playground or in the school hallways; however, adding easily accessible mobile devices into the equation provides more chances to directly target kids through platforms like social media and text messaging.
A recent Pew (News - Alert) study claims that nearly nine out of ten (88 percent) American teens between the ages of 12 and 17 indicated that they have seen someone act cruelly toward another student on a social networking site. Around 12 percent said this happens “frequently,” 29 percent said it happens “sometimes,” while another 47 percent said they saw cruel behavior occur “once in a while.”
However, teens in the U.S. are not the only ones participating into this new form of Interactive bullying. According to another recent report, text bullying has become an even more serious issue in remote communities across the world. A survey taken by people living in remote Northern Territory communities claim that 50 percent of the 1,300 people polled see negative text messages sent by young users as a problem that needs to be addressed.
Nadia Albert, Territory manager of NAPCAN's "Growing Respect" program in Australia says young people have a role to play in finding a solution to the problem.
"I think there is a lot of adult concern about the way young people are using technology," Albert said. "And we are hearing quite a lot from young people that at times they feel really powerless against the technology, but that it plays a really important role in their lives.”
"Communities all across Australia are struggling with issues around bullying and respectful relationships and family violence,” she added.
Unfortunately, as with any instance of bullying, there is not much authorities can do when the harassment takes place off their watch, let alone through the use of personal devices. For now, parents and educators must play their part in monitoring teens to minimize interactive bullying and address the issue when they can.
Stefanie Mosca is a Managing Editor for TMCnet, with a particular focus in wireless technologies as well as mobile and IP communications. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University and a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of New Haven. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page or follow her on Twitter (News - Alert) @stefaniemosca.
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