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TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES:

Online Bullying

SCENARIOS OF BULLYING EVENT::
  • Cyberbullying
CAUSES OF BULLYING EVENT::
  • Non-especific
FACTUAL DESCRIPTION OF THE BULLYING EVENT:

The Bullying event presented in this case study happened online between two teenagers, approximately 12 years of age. The main actors involved in the event were two young girls starting off in the first part of their secondary studies. They had been classmates for two years in primary school. They belonged to rather different social classes and even though the school had always discouraged bullying still some of the children had always taken on the ones coming from poorer families.
A year after graduating from primary school the two actors involved in the event were still in online contact. One of them emailed a primary school teacher a fragment from the online conversation they had had. Within this conversation One of the girls was verbally abusing the other one based on the social differences. The girl abused had emailed the conversation fragment to the teacher to “show” what the other girl was really like.

RESPONSE IMPLEMENTED:

The teachers in the primary school were no longer in direct contact with the two girls but they did try to contact them. The girl who had been verbally abused came to visit and discussions were carried to evaluate the impact of the bullying event upon her.
They also discussed the implications of the direct verbal abuse on the girl who reported it. The mother of this girl was also involved in discussions to guide the teachers and school representatives in the approach they were going to take within this case. She was also informed on the situation of the other girl involved in the bullying event.

The focus of discussions was set on identifying the source of anger and violence within the relation between the two girls. The aim was not to have the two become friends. Teachers wanted them to understand that difference between them should not be the source of disagreement and that if they do not like one another they do not need to hurt each other. Not being friends does not mean that they should be in a continuous disagreement and thus produce a violent behavior.

IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION:

This type of bullying action often happens online as teachers and representatives of adults are not present to witness it. This also happens because parents do not take the necessary measures for online protection thus leaving their under-aged children at the disposal of online users.
As a result of this event parents at the primary school where the girls had studied were informed on the dangers their children can be exposed to once they are online without adult supervision.

The two girls were involved in a series of discussions on the types of relations and interactions among classmates and personal developmental stages.

POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM:

The girl being abused within this event had been deeply influenced by the financial differences between her and the majority of her classmates. This even resulted in her telling fictitious stories about herself and her family to overcome the gap she felt separated her from the rest of her class.

She informed the teachers not to ask for help in the sense of a concrete action. She wanted to have people acknowledge her situation as a victim and support her from this point of view. She did not intend to have repressive actions taken in the case of the other girl.
Moreover, she had recently had a difficult family situation and she felt the need of having the support of more people than her mum who was going through a divorce and therefore must have been regarded by the child not as powerful as she needed her to be.
She was at that moment in a new, different environment – the secondary school – to which she had not yet become accustomed to and therefore she asked for the help of the people she had known for a long time – her primary school teachers.

POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S):

The girl initiating the bullying action was also a special case: she had been in the primary class with the girl she verbally abused for only two years. Prior to that she had been living in a foreign country. Going in the primary school in Romania she was regarded as a “special, popular” girl simply because of her prior experience. This underlined and emphasized her attitude towards the other pupils in the class. After she had a feeling of having been accepted within the class she started “building on her position” by oppressing other students such as the first girl. Although she participated in discussions she did not seem to feel sorry for her actions and her attitude has little chances of improving regarding her relation with the other girl. This is related to the familiar background and the values she is surrounded by.

POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS:

No other students were involved in this event as it occurred online between the two main actors only.

POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS:

Teachers became aware of the situation being informed by one of the actors in the bullying event. They discussed the matter in the institutional meeting and planned an approach to the bullying case. They also involved the two students and the parents - only one parent accepted to be part of discussions. The actions of the teachers were limited due to the fact that the two students were no longer studying in the same school, nor were they studying in the same secondary school. They initiated discussions and meetings with the students and members of the staff qualified for these types of events.

POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS:

The school director was informed of the situation with regard to the future actions to be taken by the school within the parents meeting. She was an active part in collecting information on online bullying and presenting it to parents in the parents meetings.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED:

Only the mother of the bullied girl participated in discussions and she maintained a constant communication with the representatives of the school to discuss her daughter’s collaboration and relations with other students. She was open to communication and to implementing the guidance of the specialized staff with regards to her daughter behavior and representation of herself.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL:

The school counselor was involved in all meetings within this particular case of online bullying and she was also involved in preparing and presenting the general problem of bullying to parents during the parents meetings. She discussed with the two girls and their teachers and based on this data she made suggestions to the girls and the one parent who was part of the discussions.

CONCLUSIVE DEDUCTIONS:

Online bullying can be especially dangerous especially at very young ages. Most parents are still not aware of the dangers beyond online socializing tools and do not take them into account when monitoring their children’s activities.
As a result of this event representatives of the primary school became more better informed on the causes of online bullying and also prepared a campaign to inform and guide parents in monitoring their children’s online activities so as to prevent online bullying.

SUMMARY OF THE CASE STUDY IN BULGARIAN LANGUAGE:

Онлайн тормоз.pdf

Comments about this Case Study


Date: 22.05.2012

Posted by: Pierre VERDIN - CLASSROOM TEACHER, GENERAL COURSES TEACHER, CITIZENS SCHOOL COORDINATOR
Type of school: SPECIALIZED PROFESSIONAL SECONDARY SCHOOL
Country: Belgium

Suggestions:
We did not have any case of cyber-bulling. The only thing I can say is that now teachers are not adequately equipped to analyze with students this kind of concern of cyber-conversation. Parents also forget to update to these new waves of conversations. It is time, as stated in the conclusion, that parents could keep an eye on what happens on the net and especially on what their children do with that. Parental control systems exist; they must be applied. The school could offer any training for parents overwhelmed by the new technology.
In class, it seems important to discuss about these networks of online discussions; to find the advantages and the disadvantages ...; to understand and imagine the person who may be hiding on the other side of the screen.
By cons, children grow up with this technology; it would be really interesting that political leaders take the lead to organize studies to imagine what will happen in a few years. What type of population the technological world is now creating?

Date: 24.04.2012

Posted by: Isabelle GRIMEE, Chantal BROSTEAU, Christophe BOURGOIS, Stéphane VOGELEER
Type of school: SMSW - School mediation service in Wallonia
Country: Belgium

- ACCORDING TO OUR PERCEPTION, IT SEEMS THAT THE SITUATION DESCRIBED CORRESPONDS TO THE DEFINITION OF BULLYING, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THAT THE EVENTS LASTED LONG, FROM PRIMARY TO SECONDARY SCHOOL.
- COMMON ELEMENTS : WE REGULARLY MEET SIMILAR SITUATIONS OF SETTLING OF SCORES VIA ICT AND (MOSTLY) BETWEEN GIRLS. AS IN THE SITUATIONS WE DEAL WITH, THIS SITUATION BRINGS TO LIGHT THE DIFFICULTY TO INTERVENE WITH THE BULLY (AND WITH HIS FAMILY).
THE CONTRIBUTOR EXPERIENCES A PARTICULAR SITUATION : HE MUST INTERVENE AND POSSIBLY SANCTION ,BUT THIS SITUATION IS AT RISK TO BE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE.
- EXACERBATION OF THE PROBLEMATIC
- RECURRENCE OF THE EVENTS. AFTER A TEMPORARY INTERVAL OF CALM
- INCOMPREHENSION ON BEHALF OF THE BULLY WITH REGARD TO HIS RESPONISBILITY ACCORDING TO HIS OWN VALUES, FEELING OF ALL POWERFULNESS.
THIS TYPE OF SITUATION SOMETIMES SHOWS THE SAME MENTAL BLOCKS ON BEHALF OF SOME ACTORS ; THE BULLY’S FAMILY REFUSING ANY IMPLICATION.
- WE NOTICE THAT THE ADULTS PLAY THEIR ROLE, THE WHOLE OF THE EDUCATIVE STAFFS SEEMS TO REACT TO THE FACT BY IMPLEMENTING PREVENTION ACTIONS BY THE YOUNGEST PUPILS

Date: 19.03.2012

Posted by: Mª Victoria Fernández Roldán
Type of school: Teacher Training Center
Country: Spain

It is easy for such incidents occur in the mentioned age, sometimes earlier, so we'll see and in fact if not intervene in time will give more serious conditions.
In my case that age are still in primary school (usually up to 12 years) and usually have shared varis damage of schooling, so that teachers have enough contact with both the students and families.
We have a high rate of immigration in our area and sometimes there are cases of bullying among students of different cultures, but most often occurs between members of minority cultures rather than between natives and immigrants.
I understand that if the first case, the principle is difficult to get support from various levels. But I think from the beginning has involved the Directorate of Central and Support Team (Counselor / Consultant ao / a).
It is necessary to collect as much information as possible about what is happening and have the families of the students involved.
About all that is needed preventive work in schools from a very early age (Action Plan tutorial, training teachers and families).
Training for teachers on using social networks and the risks involved.
-Information and training to families on the same topic.
-Working sessions with students to achieve their awareness of the use "proper" social networks, the rules of use, risks, issues to consider ....
Knowledge of the different social, use and hazards:
-Potential for preventive actions with students and families.
-Action protocols for when these situations occur

Date: 15.03.2012

Posted by: Sophia Mitroulia
Type of school: Gymnasioum
Country: Greece

My experience gives me the opportunity to give a different perspective on this incident. The criticism that society is not ready to deal with these kind of problems and there are also technical problems is a myth. There is lack of consultants and lack of know -how on what school can do in similar situations and how to handle similar problems within the school.
Had there been consultants and previous know -how this situation would have been avoided . Firstly the teachers should be aware that adolescents will show aggressive behaviour in one way or another at one stage of their adolescence. The root of bad behaviour comes at a very early age. So we expect that the first cases of violent situations can be traced back to the child social background to see if there were previous causes. We study the profile of children to identify if there are reasons from previous incident or whether they appear for the first time. It is important to take into account one's family background, relationships and parent’s attitude that reinforce and perpetuate these behaviours.
We should evaluate and identify the problem rather than view only part of it to explain .Otherwise we will offer a temporary solution which reinforce violence and bad behaviour.

-We find that is what creats the cycle of violence. It is important to know clearly how it begins and as it develops into a violent episode to be able to stop and not be informed from different outside sources. So that means keeping a discreet eye on the entire situation.
-The Statement is organized. It is best to be proactive before the situation gets out of control. If it is not possible again, it is best to operate cooperatively instead of taking"police action". We are talking about children that shape personalities and not about intimidating people. The point is not raise prospective racists and violent people .Therefore we should act on behalf of children’s welfare and not as police investigators.
-We strive to implement programs to strengthen positive attitudes of the positive characteristics of children. Differences and empathy should be used to perceive children differently to adults.
- A counselling program for parents.
-A informative discussion with appropriate specialists greatly improves things and anticipates situations.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Elisabetta Solinas
Type of school: Tecnical School
Country: Italia

The Cyberbullying (ie "Bullying" online) is the term for acts of bullying and harassment carried out by electronic means such as e-mail, instant messaging, blogs, mobile phones, pagers and / or websites. Compared to traditional bullying in real life, the use of electronic means to Cyberbullying gives some characteristics such as badmouth someone for free and maliciously damaging her reputation or deliberately exclude a person from an online group to provoke a feeling in it marginalization. For the victim is very difficult to avoid harassment, especially for the anonymity behind which, in general, are hiding cyberbulli. The case in question is typical of the phenomenon and as such very popular among the young. The forms of defense must be implemented on two fronts, ie from parents and the school. The former must exercise a form of control more careful to prevent such events to the detriment of their children, the educational institution must act in a preventative education to enable children who are victims of such abuse can report it safely. Only concerted and combined action of these two fronts will yield results. We must not forget that when the victim and the bully are both teenagers, preventive measures and defense should be focused on both. We must surely defend the victim, but the attacker must be defended from its superficiality, the lack of understanding of the reality of his actions, aggression showing strong feeling behind the (alleged) web security. This is because both parties could suffer the consequences: the victim can make serious and lasting psychological damage, the bully can pay the consequences absolutely out of his predictions. When they are both teenagers, are still protected, even from themselves. The current legislation on the Internet, even international, protecting young people so that they can defend themselves more easily and knowingly by any such events. And 'therefore should never underestimate signals or events that call in any way bullying or harassment of any kind which may then lead to actual acts of bullying. Bullying is a serious problem and often both school and youth organizations must address the problem actively. The problem must be addressed from an early age and regularly kept in check so that everyone can understand the problem without underestimating or frame it as a joke among boys. The particular school should choose a domestic policy that does not stop only to put in writing strategies and sanctions which are dusted all'accadere the facts, but it is also preventative.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Asya Tsvetanova
Type of school: Secondary school
Country: Bulgaria

The described situation is relatively similar to a situation, which we analyzed together with the vocational school for tourism from our town – a case of cyber bullying, in which two girls published a defamatory material on MySpace. Like in our case, here the involved parties are girls. The attack is quite direct and there is a call for help from the victim, which however cannot be responded to in the best way, because the two girls are not studying in their old school anymore. The motive is quite clear - social differences. Such a scenario could hardly be solved by any of the new schools of the two girls. This should be the task of the parents of the two girls. From this and other similar cases we can draw the conclusion that girls are quite familiar with indirect techniques for practicing psychological tormenting. This fact is probably due to deeper empathy of the girl-bullies, because their actions hurt the victims very deeply.
Prevention could be achieved via regular lectures and presentation of specific cases and the outcomes from them (including the harsh consequences and measures taken by the school management for sanctioning the perpetrators of such harassment). Forbidding the use of mobile phones at school or limiting the children's access to controlled educational Internet web-sites within ICT lessons, could have unsubstantial effects and would not influence the potential perpetrators, particularly when they are not on the school territory.
Specific courses for teachers and psychologists on the topic of indirect and cyber bullying and the particularities of female empathy would be very useful. Ready lectures, which to be presented before the children, supported by similar thematic case studies.

Date: 04.03.2012

Posted by: Mick Flower
Type of school: 11-18 Comprehensive
Country: UK

Girls,eh?!!!

Bullying between girls is always very difficult to deal with and resolve. Experience has shown me that you may well think everything is resolved when it all flares up again.

The social difference between the two girls is less of a school issue more of one that has to be addressed nationally if it is not to recurr. If the two girls are not attending the same secondary school the situation could easily be resolved if both sets of parents undertake to monitor their daughters' online time. If they attend the same school them the situation is more difficult as it will tend to spill over into school time. I have, in my pastoral role, been known to tell parents to cut off the plug on the computer and remove their daughter's sim card!

The only way this situation can be imprved is with parental help. The school needs to run parental meetings on cyber bullying and look at ways of encouraging parents to take an active part in monitoring their children's behaviour online. They wouldn't allow 12 year olds access to alcohol without very strict supervision. They need to accept that the Internet can be just a dangerous for bored, inquisitive or thrill seaking teenagers.

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