This paper is a review into the various effects that have been brought about by the increased number of communication avenues, especially through social media platforms that are now widespread, as well as instant messaging applications boosted by the 3G and 4G networks. The author seeks to look at the differences between the negative interactions that happen via these platforms so as to find out if the different motivations and processes involved in the whole process have any kind of determinants on the result of the interaction. This paper is thus a reflection on the article by seeing its implication in society, the hypothesis being tested and finally the methods that have been used to come to the given results.
The article beings with presenting the loophole as it were within the cyber bullying scenario. Indeed this is an area that has received a lot of public attention and is now a matter of public concern. This is especially the case where there have been instances of excess cyber bullying which has led to subsequent victim suicides (Leung & Bascaramurty, 2012). However, the academic aspects of the motivators are not as adequately covered in needing to understand what the motivations behind these actions are. As a result, people are inclined to think that online conflicts are similar to offline ones, which presents the first common mistake concerning this. The online platform presents a place where victimization can extend even when schools have changed, or even cities. It is also virtually unstoppable because even when one is not physically present, their online personalities can get attacked, and end up in a similar case to that of Amanda Todd. As a result, this paper becomes an investigation into the root causes of online victimization and bullying, rather than the focus on the issue itself as is the case in many other papers.
One of the reasons that the author gives for this behavior is as a result of reactions to provocations. This is seen when there is a possible threat to the person, in whatever aspect, and a response to this provocation. This is typically the reaction that is seen in boys, where anger and rage are usually the most common reactions (Hubbard, Dodge, Ramsden, Parker, Flanagan, & Dearing, 2002). In the online situation, it is easier to interpret something as hostile because of the different structural settings of the environment. This is especially because of the dependence on text-only communication, which opens the recipient of the message to whatever interpretation that they will take, including hostile ones. The hostile schema thus becomes the authors first point of reference when reasoning on the motivations of the online aggressions. It is simply a reaction to text-only cues that are experienced when one loses control of their emotions and responds according to the perceived hostility (Law, Shapka, Domene, & Gagne, 2012). The event of bullying itself cannot be ascertained as there is a lot of ambiguity when it comes to social media identity of the users. Thus, it is not possible to determine if there is a relationship existing between the bully and his victims so that it can qualify as bullying. As a result, this can only be referred to as victimization and aggression.
In this first instance, the reaction was based on a system of lack of self-control. However, there have been instances where negative emotions have been seen to simmer until an explosion point where the person finally reacts. People can decide to get over an ancient provocation online or rectifying some grievance that the user had. This is closely related to what has been discussed above. Where the user feels that a series of activities have happened that constitute a wrongful act against them, they may control their reaction until such a point that they deem the series of acts to have pushed them over the cliff and they react. Studies have been used by the author to describe this process, building on the work of other authors. In this instance, some may choose to dissipate their anger while others let it remain as an urge to have revenge. The latter form the part that causes the reactions on their online personalities which result in victimization of the person of their interest. The fact that the information that one has trashed concerning the victim online and its ability to stay there permanently offers some sense of satisfaction to the aggressor in a way that they feel that their debt has been paid (Hinduja & Partin, 2008).
The above reasons seem to stem as a reaction to negative emotions such as anger and rage. On the other hand, motivators that stem from reward that would arise from the victimization. A study proved that youth with pro-active aggression problems are more likely to feel rewarded for their wrongful acts online as opposed to youth without those problems (Dodge, Lochman, Harnish, Bates, & Petit, 1997). The users justify themselves as worthy of doing something simply because it is socially acceptable in some situations. This is especially the case where there are blunt criticisms of each other online or appearing not to listen to someone. The effect of this kind of approach is not to be empathetic to the victims issues and eventually get to them y hurting them. The case study of Amanda Todd is an example of such aggression, where her aggressors were non-empathetic to her singing skills as well as her looks.
The final reason why youth have this behavior is because of their need to have their thrill and excitement aroused. This is the major motivation behind many criminal and youthful offenders (Putnin, 2010). This is because among adolescents and the youth, high risk activities are seen as equally highly rewarding. This explains why adolescents are likely to engage in activities such as substance abuse and criminal activity. The social networking platform provides an ample audience for them to find the reward that they need after engaging in their wild activities something that continues to encourage them to engage in these activities. The result becomes that the users will engage in impulsive acts of victimization in order to gain the approval of their audience because of the limited amount of things that one can do on the online platform (Pornari & Wood, 2010).
The application of this study to the daily lives is that law enforcement, parents and persons concerned are now able to identify the root cause of the behavior of the bully and address their needs from an understanding psychological point of view. The methods used have provided ample foundational information and it thus becomes up to the enforcement person to determine the best approach to solving the problem.
Dodge, K., Lochman, J., Harnish, J., Bates, J., & Petit, G. (1997). Reactive and proactive reactions in school children and psychiatrically impaired chronically assaultive youth. Journal of Abnormal Psychology .
Hinduja, J., & Partin, S. (2008). Cyberbullying: an explanatory analysis of factors relating to offending and victimization. Deviant Behavior .
Hubbard, J., Dodge, A., Ramsden, M., Parker, R., Flanagan, H., & Dearing, D. (2002). Observational, physiological, and self-report measures of childrens' anger. Child Development, 1101-18.
Law, D., Shapka, M., Domene, D., & Gagne, M. (2012). Are cyberbullies really bullies? An investigation of reactive and proactive online agression. Computers in Human Behavior.
Leung, W., & Bascaramurty, D. (2012). Amanda Todd tragedy highlights how social media makes bullying inescapable. Retrieved October 2, 2015, from The Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/amanda-todd-tragedy-highlights-how-social-media-makes-bullying-inescapable/article4611068/
Pornari, C., & Wood, J. (2010). Peer and cyber agression in secondary school students: the role of moral disengagement, hostile attribution bias, and outcome expectancies. Aggressive Behavior .
Putnin, A. (2010). An explanatory analysis of young offender's self-reported reasons for offending. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology.
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