TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES
Bullying on Facebook
SCENARIOS OF BULLYING EVENT:
CAUSES OF BULLYING EVENT:
FACTUAL DESCRIPTION OF THE BULLYING EVENT
A girl of 14 years has created a Facebook group to insult heavily a classmate and good student. The offences are mostly words and / or phrases that ridicule behaviors and attitudes related to the personal care, the style and the physical appearance. The reasons for this hatred are not particularly clear.
The subjects involved are L, the creator of the Facebook group, 6 students from the same school who joined the group, and P. the victim of the abuse.
The event took place in spring 2010 and it happened in a small town located in the Northern part of Italy.
The children attended the lower secondary school
The father of the victim reported the existence of the web page to the police and the headmaster of the school attended by the students suspended the six students who had joined the group for two days, and the creator of the group was given 6 days, with the extra task to clean the school yard for two months.
The headmaster organized meetings for the class with psychologists and social workers. The aim is to make students aware of the consequences and seriousness of the insults. In addition, they tried to explain that using the web makes the behaviour even more subtle and violent.
The content of this page was so aggressive and vulgar that the same web operators removed the page. The headmaster pointed out the shocking lack of sensitivity of the girls who had fun without asking any questions and thinking about their actions.
After carrying out socially useful work, she and her accomplices have been forced to read novels in which abuse and violence occur. they had to talk to the teachers about this event and try to feel emotions and become more empathic because they probably have not experienced positive emotions in common relationships and have not felt any sort of affection or meaningful relation towards peers yet.
IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION
The most important aspect is the insensitivity that boys and girls show to violence. What disturbed the headmaster of the school was just the lack of sensitivity of the girls who joined and participated in group having fun and showing indifference to abuse. We may think that the unaccepted teenagers has always existed, but if we imagine a group of people who takes part in the abuse, looks, laughs, that makes you think. Is it 'possible that none of them has changed her mind? Is it possible that all of them got on well with each other? is it possible that none of them had a different sensibility, that is to say: enough, we're exaggerating?
In this case the headmaster made a decision. She did not undervalue the abuse and intervened using sanctions.
There are no reasons: only a pure nonsense verbal violence.
The incident happened in a provincial town, with no evident social conditions that could endanger the relational context of the group of boys involved. The families of the victim and of the other guys are average families, with parents who work as public employees.
The guys attend the same school and take part in various extracurricular sports and cultural interests. The environment of origin of the family shows no disease.
POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM
A real female specialty is to isolate the victim as if he/she does not exist, destroying him/her with slander. Then even the mockery: the victim is almost always accused of having caused everything, because the victim certainly has not done something wrong, something that s/he should not have done and so the victim has to pay!
In this case the victim confessed the fact to parents and asked for help and talked to the father
POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S)
Female bullying is certainly more psychological and is made of words. If you want to exclude a mate with the mockery you can cause heavy damage and leave many consequences that are much more powerful than real bruises. The girls know how to insult people and how to dictate to the group. Often the leaders of the female bullies are discovered with difficulties, she knows how to make the other girls work, she maneuvers in the shadows and exposes shortly. An all-female power, that is not less dangerous because of subterfuge, glances, silences, gossip that can be destroying. Suspended stories, real or imagined facts that can be considered reality.
POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS
The story shows that all the players involved were aware of the various aspects of the problem. Above all, students did not perceive how dangerous the situation was and responded to the provocation with extreme superficiality on facebook. The severity of the situation can be attributed to the mutual responsibility of the bystanders that in this case have not been able to escape from the behavior of the bully and to denounce the exaggeration and the negative consequences of the fact.
POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS
The incident took place outside the school, the teachers were informed about the fact only after the event was reported to the police.
The school took first-hand the task of correcting aggressive and violent behavior, with a sanction at first and then with punitive corrective strategies, making the classmates of the victim and of the bully think about the meaning of suffering, and guiding them to reflect on emotions.
Teachers and school managers have acted in a cooperative way and in the direction of mutual confrontation.
POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS
The behavior of the headteacher, together with that of other headmasters, who used sanctions in front of bullying events, is a reason of hope. At last the world of adults begins to be willing to look to the generation who has educated, or perhaps it would be fairer say that it has not educated. You start to realize that solutions must be found to these bullying events that happen nowadays very frequently. The remedies are neither easy nor immediate. There are several hypotheses. Meanwhile constructive sanctions are a good start.
POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED
The parents of the victim were involved in various ways, especially in response to the request for help from the victim. The parents of the other guys became aware only after the complaint. Many parents do not follow their children in the homework and are not familiar with the use of communication tools used by their children. Most of the time they were not able to interviene autonomously and to sort out the problem independently, but they were invited to take the own role in the pact of mutual responsibility with the educational institution.
POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL
The suspension is really not very effective, as pointed out by the psychiatrist of the Hospital Fatebenefratelli, Luca Bernardo, author of "female bullying", because this strategy may make girls feel proud of committing crimes or abuse. This behavior of the headmasters, together with that of other headteachers, who used sanctions for acts of bullying, is a reason for hope. Eventually the school system begins to be willing to look in a different way to the generation who has educated, or perhaps more fair to say that has not educated. You start to realize that solutions must be found to these cases of bullying that nowadays happen very frequently.
POINT OF VIEW OF POLICY MAKERS
Judges who adopt manual work strategies, who deal with voluntary work, others who decided to use reading as a rehabilitative strategy as happened in Germany. The judge of the Juvenile Court Christoph Mangelsdorf in Fulda, noting that after doing socially useful work the boys did not change, he forced them to read novels. Within a specific number of days the boys had to read novels in which abuse and violence occur. they also had to talk to social workers and then make a report to the court. they tried here to make them feel emotions and empathy because these guys probably have not experienced positive emotions yet. It seems that this experiment reached good results.
This case highlights a phenomenon, that of cyberbullying, that is already wellknown. First, the use of means of communication by the children does not show the risks and consequences. Parents seem to be powerless, without any possibility to control their children in leisure activities and, from the point of view of corrective education, seem to lack initiative.
The school has used a number of strategies, such as the use of sanctions, corrective actions and the demand for specialist interventions. The positive aspect is that the adult society started to take care of the problem and the example of the school shows how synergistic and coordinated action of several forces can cope with a problem like bullying. The school has shown pedagogical and didactic competence by using the corrective action.
Comments about this Case Study
Posted by: TOMAS PLESNEVIČIUS
Type of school: Secondary school
Cyber bullying has become an integral part of the school; unfortunately, it is very difficult to investigate and to trace it from the starting point because of the several reasons. One of them - children's reluctance to communicate with adults and inform them about what is happening on the Internet. The second reason is the insufficient adult computer literacy skills. Also, parents lack the desire and the time to know what their children do on the Internet or after school. The described case is a perfect example of how a bullying case can be resolved, if there is a trust in adults and if adults express the interest in children’s activities. Here we can see that the main units were activated as soon as possible to stop the cyber bullying from spreading as they can spread in a speed of light. The parents did not stay aside and has taken immediate actions. The school used a variety of pedagogical measures, police-sanctions. The weak spot –the parents of the bully child, who are often unaware of what their kids are doing during their leisure time. This is not common only to cyber bullying situations.
Lithuania has so far discussed on the public punishments for pupils without any infringement to the rights of the child, so they are rarely applied. In addition, the reaction can be the opposite and the pupil, who is appointed to the public works, may become a victim of bullying himself. In order to prevent similar cases, it is required that the parents would be informed about the social portals and their dangerous and the ways to track their children's activities. Also there is a need of clear explanation what penalties threatens any child who bullies other students or anybody else on the Internet or during face to face interaction or threatens his/her parents for not supervising them.
Posted by: DALIA RIBAKEVIČIŪTĖ
Type of school: High-school
The Internet takes over more and more of children's leisure time. The Internet is accessible not only through the PC, but also through smart mobile phones. Thanks to new technologies, children now have the opportunity to "live online" 24 hours a day, if only this is not controlled by adults. There are online portals, such as “Facebook”, that more or less become their life reality; for example, if you are not there, you lose a great part of information or it reaches you too late. Although a person can sign up for a “Facebook” account only if he/she is older than 14 years, but it is no secret that there you can find even six-years-olds who were registered by senior friends/brothers or even their parents.
In our school community‘s life the influence of online social portals are also huge. Often happens that students gets in a fight in online space, but continues/finishes that fight in school, some of them tries the help of the fist, others appeal to the social pedagogue when they have no clue how to stop it all. The level of internet literacy of our community’s parents is pretty low, so children are more likely to deal with their online bullying problems at school and parents usually learns about them not from their children, but from the teachers. All of these bullying issues begin not at school, but the school in one way or another has to deal with them. In the meantime, we're not faced with this problem at this level that a full web page is created in the Web in order to hurt a fellow class mate; in our school it happens as individual expressions or comments, which sometimes are picked up and commented by other children. We do not have an experience dealing with this issue with the aid of the police, we usually explore what was the starting point of such event, with the help of mediator we allow children to talked through their disagreements and resolve their disputes, we inform their parents; we are also involved in removing negative or inappropriate comments from online space, sometimes even the entire profile. Moreover, we talk with the children about the dangers they can face in the Internet, about information which is hosted there, about the fact that the Internet is a very public place and that the information posted or a picture uploaded in some portal can stay there for a very long time. We encourage children to tell adults when they observed offensive comments on the Internet. We have noticed that it is crucial for both sides involved in the conflict to sort out the reason that all of this started, and if it so happens that they fail to come up to a conclusion with a real reason, often cyber bullying transforms into other bullying forms, more subtle ones, such as rejection, alienation, ignorance.
In our school situation with girls bullying is the same: if a girl is involved in verbal, psychological bullying it often occurs to be more offending, more thought-out, free of any scruples, even more cruel than the boys. Also, other children that get involved in it have no full understanding of the complexity of the situation, the riskiness of it and the destroying force directed towards the victim. This looks like a sketchy game for them.
We found it interesting, how the administration of the school proved to be one of the preventive measures taken, when children are obliged to read the fiction about violence and later have to discuss about it. We noticed that the children, who are imposed with the sanctions, often, if they are allowed to, choose physical work more pleasantly than an intellectual activity.
I think it is very important for the entire school community to comprehend that bullying is not inevitable “street school”, which toughens the children for life. The only way to look at bullying as it is the phenomenon that harms children’s feelings, and which is very possible to manage and control. No preventative measures will function normally unless the community forms correct attitude towards bullying when using those measures. Therefore, the training should primarily change and shape the approach towards bullying, because even now sometimes some representatives of the administration in Lithuania schools declare there is no bullying (maybe in order to hold the position in the administration for longer), even if the whole community and even media knows about it.
Posted by: ROBOTĂ DANIELA
Type of school: GRUP ȘCOLAR NICOLINA
Cyberbullying is among the new forms of aggression, less dangerous in terms of physical injuries but more harmful in terms of social image, self presentation, social attitudes. Maybe that’s why it is the less monitored and less taken into consideration when we talk about preventing bullying.
The case presents a classical approach of such a situation. Being external to the school, the actions have been effectively taken only after the situation was reported by parents to the local police and to the head teachers.
From a behavioral point of view, the actions taken by the school have been followed disciplinary approach and also an educational approach. For the event itself, occurred in the life of a school in a provincial town, these measures had to be taken (including suspension) in order to make a statement within the community about the gravity of these facts.
From a psychological point of view, the causes of the situations should not be so unclear. The counselor could involve more close into this case and based on private dialogue to find out what generated the conflict and the urge to take such actions. Teenagers are not doing things for no cause, even if apparently in many cases they seem to act very chaotic. The aggressors and the victims definitely have a story that was not found out so we cannot have a whole understanding about the situation that was created. Moreover, other students were ‘attracted’ in this story and all the other students must of had a certain level of information about what was going on. I don’t not believe it was a total insensibility to violence from students part, but certainly students were not aware of the gravity and seriousness of these facts. In a direct public quarrel, many ‘hard words’ can be spoken (and this is another form on bullying) without judgment and being sorry after the tension is gone. But in cyberspace, all the words written remain and create a general background, deepening the impact and the gravity of the problem. Thinking judgmental, anticipating the consequences, being able to show empathy (what if this happened to youself? Or to your little sister/brother or to one of your parents) are some other skills to improve self monitoring and awareness.
From an educational point of view, many new programs for prevention can be taken into consideration, on a local but also regional/national level. Schools can be effective brokers in working with students and parents to prevent or remedy cyberbullying situations: classes on cyber ethics and law, classes on new ways of cyber-communication and cyber-presentation, forms of preventing losing passwords, forms to report an abuse, forms to protect private/confidential information. This is still new terrain at European level, school programs and curricula do not contain such type of information and the bullying cases draw attention that something must be done at the system level.
Including aspects about cyberbullying anf cyber ethics on school internal regulation can also make students aware of the requirements in using internet carrying about the safety and well-being of themselves and colleagues.
Parents need to be the one trusted place kids can go when things go wrong online and offline. Yet they often are the one place kids avoid when things go wrong online. Why? Parents tend to overreact. Most children will avoid telling their parents about a cyberbullying incident fearing they will only make things worse. Unfortunately, parents also often underreact, not because of not carrying but not having right information and paths to do things right. A parents training program in this issue can help them to develop skills and to be more involved in this matter.
In Iasi town, several non-governmental programs have been sustained in schools concerning security and privacy issues on internet, introducing internet using laws and methods to be used by parents and children to protect themselves and to know how to use these new forms of communication. Some sessions were especially dedicated to students, some were for teachers and of course, some for parents. Results of such campaigns should be in the first place raising informational skills and awareness about the issue.
Posted by: Manuel Tejero
Type of school: Concerted
It is an example of action at school level, a case of bullying, I think quite successful. But I think it is important to conduct an awareness campaign before, even before you see a problem of bullying, because parents should help us, speaking from small, accountability in the use of Internet, social networking, dangers provide information and publish personal photos. Internet and something not "touch" but not so not going to cause problems in our relationships. We also instill in the kids / chicks, the importance of personal relationships, seeing, and not all based in chatting with others, we think we know but who may be lying to us based on the "anonymity" of the internet. Teachers must be formed in what they are doing our alumni / ae on the Internet, Facebook for example is a tool that our alumni / ae little used, preferring Tuenti, etc, do not know and therefore do not know how to inform our students of what not to do and the responsibility we have to use these tools.
Posted by: Carlos José Pérez Fernández
Type of school: Concerted
As in the case of "Cyber defamation" in this one student created a facebook group for the sole purpose of insulting a classmate. By using this network, which allows users to add themselves to voluntary groups, is when I hate the fact that six classmates to join the group "for fun".
The performance of the school that seems more correct and corresponds with what I think you would in a similar case in the center where I work. Again very important to show students (I would include parents) the actual damage caused by things that are done in the virtual world, since students do not seem at all aware of this and tend to keep the idea that the virtual identity (that which gives us some anonymity and allows us to pretend another personality) is not linked to our real identity.
In this case also, the rapid action from the content server was also effective, as when the group became aware removed immediately.
On the other hand, the fact of organizing tutorials and classes with students seems an appropriate way to try to prevent similar events in the future, and the fact to use as punishment in the center the use of "social work" (cleaning school yard for two months plus 6 days of expulsion).
Although this particular case took place outside the center, would be important to monitor Internet use that is made in the center, again, as a prevention method to teach students to use this tool responsibly and not so common being seen as just a game or fun. This requires not only work on how to use it, if not the expression of feelings, empathy and other values that must be present if they find something.
Posted by: Mariya Stankova
Type of school: Vocational high-school
This case, shared by our Italian colleagues, related to use of Facebook for defamation and humiliation of a child, provoked me strongly. There are many cases among the children for picking a victim whom they systematically harass, insult and mock, thus expressing their superiority. Facebook is the place for the teenagers. This is where everything happens, this is where they promote themselves and quite innocently start their campaigns against the uncomfortable ones. Some do it for fun, in order to show themselves off, to present themselves as important in the social network – as more important and significant than the others. Still the innocent picking on somebody starts to bring them pleasure, they like to humiliate, to insult and to harass the different fellow students. They get applauded for this and get positive comments from the other network members. This encourages them and makes them feel more important – makes them feel as “dictators”.
However, what provokes the youths to behave like that? Surely not the school. The reason in this case is what they have seen and copied from the movies. For the young person it is important to try him/herself out in all kinds of situations, which could appear in his or her life. The missing role of the parents as educators and mentors, which thus becomes visible, is another topic. The parent quite often is absent from his child’s life. He is devoted to the daily problems. It is important to make the difference between “good and bad”, “right and false”, “allowed and forbidden”, “worthy and unworthy “. The child does not recognize and accept these rules in its life, because nobody introduced them as norms, which it is supposed to abide by when communicating with others.
How should we react in a similar case involving our students? I would say that there is probably no exact strategy for reaction in such a situation. The responsibility falls on the parents mainly. They should undertake immediate measures concerning the upbringing of their children. But only this. The actions of the youths hurt another person who needs and has the right to be protected and rehabilitated before the society and the perpetrators to be adequately punished and reprimanded for their actions. The school institution is also involved. It is an educational institution, which other parents have also trusted with their children, feeling calm about their education and safety. If we don’t pay attention to what is happening, if we stay silent about it and cover it up, the guilty ones would continue their actions towards the chosen victims. This requires immediate gathering of the students, the parents, the teachers who know all involved children, the headmaster and most definitely a psychologist. This meeting should have the objective of clarifying the reasons for the actions of the bullies, the feelings they were experiencing during the implementation of this “public inquisition”. This would give guidelines to the psychologist in connection with the consultations, which he/she should carry out with all students, as well as in connection with the topics, which should be discussed with all other children. It is necessary that administrative measures from the educational institution are imposed. These punishments prove the irreconcilability of the educational institution with such kind activities on behalf of students as well as the responsibility, which is borne by each student, in relation to the school authority. Each student would thus know that such acts are not appraised.
This is my opinion on this case study. My practice has not put me in such a situation so far. Still I do not consider as impossible that something of this kind would take place with some of my students. If a situation like this arises I will have to make a statement and to propose solutions for the case.
Posted by: Diana Nikolva
Type of school: Specialized school
This case is similar to the case of cyber bullying analyzed by our school in partnership with the vocation school for tourism in Pleven. In the present situation however there is just one victim, i.e. the attacks are quite concrete and instead of trying to cover up the reasons and background of the bullying, the perpetrators address the one who aggravates them. The resolution of this case is quite interesting and in our opinion – a good example of how cases of school bullying should be addressed – the adding of communal labor/service to the temporary school expulsion punishment is an excellent solution. It undoubtedly puts the perpetrator/s in an uncomfortable position and makes the fact that they are punished publicly known. This curbs the high self-esteem of the bully/bullies and brings him/them down to the level of everybody else. The opinion of the girl, who “swept the floor last week” will not be taken as universally correct as it had been taken before.
The skills of imposing moderate social labor punishments should become a part of the training of the school teams. They should be perfectly aware of children’s rights and prepared to protect the punishment they imposed before the angry parents.