Traditional bullying still most common form
Traditional bullying is up to three times more common than cyberbullying, a conference on digital media and youth work has heard.
Trinity College Dublin professor Mona O’Moore also said bullying online is an extension of traditional bullying and the majority of young people involved in such behaviour online are also engaged in traditional bullying.
It is critical for adults to promote a culture of disclosure among young people when they witness cyberbullying, she said. “Let’s get away from the stigma of ratting or grassing. Let’s turn it into being responsible, being a responsible citizen.”
Prof O’Moore, founder and director of the anti-bullying centre at TCD, added: “You don’t just take a bystander approach. It is for us as adults to change the attitudes and values. It is about a cultural shift. It is not about minding your own business. It is about being a responsible citizen.” She said young people “should be empowered at all times to report and at all times to take action where they are witness to their peers being cyberbullied. It is so critical to see that change in attitude and values.”
Prof O’Moore was speaking at the National Youth Council of Ireland “Screenagers” conference at the Science Gallery in Trinity, on the use of digital and social media in youth work.
She described cyberbullying as an “aggressive, wilful act carried out by an individual or group using electronic forms of communication”.
One in four girls and one in six boys are involved either as bullies, victims or both. Girls tend to use text messaging to bully, while boys use camera and video clips.
Prof O’Moore said those who are both bully and victim generally have a poor ability to manage or regulate their emotions and this behaviour puts them at risk of being bullied.
Children with special needs often fall into this category.