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Cyberbullying is more harmful, as anonymity protects the person who bullies


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Lucía Ruíz-Prados

PhD Candidate Public University of Navarra

Begoña Urien

Hired Doctor of the School of Education and Psychology

On May 2, the international day against bullying is celebrated with the goal to raise awareness of its impact on the student population. The data of "Bullying without borders" on its incidence are worrying, although our country is not one of the most affected by this phenomenon (20%) compared to France (above 30%), Germany (above 20%) or the United States and Mexico above 50%. 

Bullying was initially described in the late 60s and 70s of the last century as the repetitive exhibition to negative actions by one or more students, without the ability to defend themselves. More precisely, the aggressors must perform deliberately hostile actions; these must be repeated over a period of time and must cause harm to the victim who is alone and unable to resolve it. 

Currently, we live in a society influenced by technology in which, from a very early age, student body has access to Smartphones in environments where connectivity is widespread (according to Fundación Telefónica, 83% of the Spanish population has 5G connectivity). Thus, the forms of bullying have expanded giving rise to cyberbullying or cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is more harmful because anonymity protects the bully and reduces the perception of the harm caused.

Research conducted by the signatories of this article has shown that people who have been cyber-bullied are more likely to bully, and that these behaviors occur to a greater extent in children between 12 and 14 years of age. It was also found that minors who have suffered cyberbullying for a long period of time (more than one year) obtained low grades, as did minors who were considered aggressors.

The experience of cyberbullying generates feelings of sadness and anger, as well as isolation and helplessness. Regarding coping techniques, the most commonly used is ignoring, followed by "bullying" and lastly, communicating it to the family and to academic staff.

As we have tried to convey, cyberbullying is a phenomenon in exponential growth, so it will be necessary to promote the use manager of new technologies (TICS), since they are a useful tool of work and learning.

This phenomenon does not only concern the educational sector, but society as a whole. We all have a share of responsibility, starting with the family nucleus and the relationships established in the home, as well as staff professor in schools and institutes at subject for awareness raising and sensitization.

It is necessary to be aware of this phenomenon, to use prevention tools that facilitate the detection of cases, it is also relevant that the external people involved, whether the family or the sector educational receive training about the phenomenon. Likewise, parents should understand that the early use of social networks, precipitates to be closer to experience cyberbullying and to exercise it.