Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Moderating Effect of Cyber Bullying on the Psychological Well-Being of In-School Adolescents in Benin Edo State Nigeria

Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Moderating Effect of Cyber Bullying on the Psychological Well-Being of In-School Adolescents in Benin Edo State Nigeria

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The incidence of bullying among in-school adolescents has taken a new dimension with the use of information communication technology device. The internet is a medium that is commonly used now by most in-school adolescent to perpetuate cyber bullying. This form of violence is manifested in the form of verbal threats, attacks and taunts from peers while chatting via the internet or text messages. This development is now gaining momentum in Nigeria with an unimaginable psychological effect on the well-being of in-school adolescents. According to Keith and Martin (2005) in this 21st Century, school violence has taken on a new and more insidious form with the application of new technologies that have made it easier for bullies to gain access to their victims without physical contact.

This implies that advancement in modern technology has influenced a new method of victimization that has taken traditional bullying to a new extreme dimension. Cyber bullying, the voluntary and repetitious abuse that is inflicted through computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010), is a modern method of victimization that has affected over 40 percent of adolescents in the past year (National Crime Prevention Council, 2010). Similar to traditional bullying, cyber bullying is used to exert power and dominance over another person (Beran & Li, 2005). Cyber bullying, however, accomplishes this control through text messaging, instant messaging, or social networking websites, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter (Beran & Li, 2005), enabling the cyber bully to harass, threaten, or ridicule the victim in both public (e.g., the internet) and private domains (e.g., text messaging) (Palmeri, 2013).

Also, Mesch (2009) posits that cyber bullying jeopardizes the mental, emotional, and physical well being of children and puts society at the risk of ethical and moral deterioration. Unlike face-to-face bullying it does not end from the time the school gets over but follows the child/adolescent back home with an easy access to the various forms of digital communication gadget. However, this form of bullying is recent because of the increase of mobile phones and internet usage within the adolescent population (Mesch, 2009).

Palmeri (2013) assert that cyber bullying is a unique component that can be especially detrimental for victimized adolescents. For example, a cyber bully victim can receive an unlimited amount of harassing messages through several different networks. Within a matter of minutes the cyber bully can post a rumour on a victim's Face book status or send harassing text messages that fill the victim's inbox. Each of these methods attribute to the inescapability of cyber bullying by broadening the potential audience of the cyber bully attack (Sourander, Brunstein-Klomek, Helenius, Ikonen, Lindroos, Luntamo & Koskelainen, 2010). If a cyber bully posts something embarrassing or defaming about the victim on any social networking website, everyone who is a friend with the cyber bully or the victim has the potential to see the post. The victim not only has to deal with the embarrassment of being victimized, but also with the knowledge that everyone who has access to the Internet is able to witness this humiliation. Thus, cyber bullying can cause significant emotional and psychological harm that can result to affected in-school adolescents developing low self-esteem, poor self-concept and become less efficacious in their relationship with their environment (Sourander, et al, 2010).

Adolescence is a period of identity formation and a time they crave for social acceptance which when not attain mars the well-being of an adolescent. The social network media is a medium used by in-school adolescents to establish their identity and seek social recognition and peer acceptance via chatting or conferencing. However, if they experience cyber bullying, it impact negatively on their psychological and emotional well-being. …

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