Cellphones, Facebook, webcams you name it and kids nowadays have it. The afterschool game of kickball unfortunately has been replaced by not only texting and Facebook, but the unforeseen incivility of cyber-bullying.
Bullying is a timeless problem that has expanded beyond the schoolyard into the realm of cyberspace.
The sense of anonymity and power the Internet generates plays a significant role in the popularity of cyber-bullying. The absence of face-to-face interaction conceals identities, which enables bullies to torment victims without penalty.
Sociologist Georg Simmel is notable for his work on the dyad and the triad. Simmels theory explains that the formation of a triad, a three-person group, changes the social structure of the previous two-person group. The third party can alter the relationship between the dyad by taking one of three possible roles mediator, ally or competitor.
In applying Simmels theory to cyber-bullying, the bully, victim and Internet create a triad. The bully forms an alliance with the Internet and uses it as a weapon. This alliance causes the victim to become isolated and, therefore, makes the victim subordinate to the bully. Consequently, the victim is prone to attacks from the bully and escaping the power of the alliance seems hopeless.
Although cyber-bullying does not produce physical harm, the emotional distress victims endure is often more detrimental. The explosion of technology over the past few decades has undoubtedly benefited society; however, the incivility occurring due to inappropriate use of technology among adolescents cannot be ignored.