Cyberbullying appears to have increased over time as technological advances take effect. An article found in The Guelph Mercury claims unlike traditional bullying, cyberbully is difficult to escape making it unavoidable and inescapable as one can no longer retreat to their home and seek refuge because technology is everywhere (“Cyberbullying requires a balanced approach”, 2013). Due to the nature of the abuse, the victim is forced to endure repeat suffering as it is easy to constantly recirculate the bullying across social media outlets (“Cyberbullying requires a balanced approach”, 2013). Additionally, often times, the victim becomes the bully because the anonymity and ease of bullying from the privacy of one’s home without having to face the victim is a retaliatory act one may subject themselves to (“Cyberbullying requires a balanced approach”, 2013). Although laws are developed to protect individuals from cyberbullying, and enact criminalization and punishment for the perpetrator, early intervention is a cooperative effort of schools and home to ensure the safety of victims or potential victims (“Cyberbullying requires a balanced approach”, 2013).
Many theorists claim people are not responsible for their behavior including psychological problems. However, Glasser stood in opposition with his Choice Theory claiming behavior is directed by internal factors and the source of behavior problems is individuals own choice (Tanrikulu, 2014). The theory claims it is human nature to solve issues with others by changing the other’s behavior through power and control, but in reality, one can only change their own behavior (Tanrikulu, 2014). The focus of Choice Theory is successful identity in which one takes responsibility for their behavior and accepts consequences of their behavior, realities as they are, and behaves accordingly (Tanrikulu, 2014). However unsuccessful identity may lead to abnormal behaviors including cyberbullying (Tanrikulu, 2014).
Choice theory contains five motives including survival and reproduction, belonging, power, freedom, and fun which pertains to life elements including basic needs, “Quality World”, total behavior, and (un)successful identity (Tanrikulu, 2014). According to Tanrikulu, cyberbullies behavior is explained as avenues of fun (38% of cyberbullies), 25% seeking revenge, 6% of cyberbullying is due to a bad mood, and the remainder have no explanation as to why they do it (2014). According to Choice Theory, behavior aims to meet the basic needs of life (Tanrikulu, 2014), but sometimes barriers hinder the process of achieving goals. Relationship problems during puberty causes wants to be unmet creating anger and rage that triggers rebellion (problematic behavior such as bullying) (Tanrikulu, 2014). Research attributes authoritative and oppressive parental attitude as predictors for cyberbullying behavior in their children (Tanrikulu, 2014). These parental attitudes indicate potential experiences of violence and aggression that steer the child toward aggressive solutions (Tanrikulu, 2014). Additionally, the parenting attitudes above may lead to feelings of restrain and the inability to present individual potential to cope with obstacles which leads to discipline problems in school causing lack of success and not meeting basic needs (Tanrikulu, 2014).
Glasser defines “Quality World” as the most important part of life as it is the individual’s perception and pictures of what one wants in order to exist in the real world (Tanrikulu, 2014). However, when the perceived world and real worlds differ, the individual develops problematic behavior (cyberbullying) in an attempt to remove the difference exhibiting a need for power and entertainment (Tanrikulu, 2014). In this respect, parenting attitude holds a huge effect as the individual’s perception begins forming from birth (Tanrikulu, 2014).
Total behavior consists of all aspects (doing, thinking, feeling, physiology) panning into behavior that is always under the individuals control (Tanrikulu, 2014). The doing element implicates the behavior is enacted as a way of doing harm (Tanrikulu, 2014). Cyberbullies often exhibit hostile feelings of loneliness, being unsafe, revenge, and boredom (Tanrikulu, 2014) which drive the negative behaviors as unrealistic expectations and cognitive distortions of the real world are unmet (Tanrikulu, 2014).
(Un)Successful identity, as explained above, occurs in conjunction with relationships. Those who cannot maintain relationships have a high sense of ego, low self-esteem, worthlessness, and low self-confidence implicating difficulty in social relationships significant of unsuccessful identification which leads to cyberbullying (Tanrikulu, 2014).
I originally thought that cyberbullying was due to a lack of parenting or an adjustment problem in adolescence. However, I found an article on Glasser’s Choice Theory and came to the understanding that cyberbullying develops from the interaction of biological forces and environmental impact on an individual. I do believe the individual does have control over choices and remain mixed on the impulsivity behind cyberbullying. I agree with Glasser that there is some type of hindrance in social development that causes the individual to behave negatively, but I am stuck as to why the behavior occurs in private rather than in person. I believe it is easier to hide and let aggression out, but with little about the home life and history of the bully, it is difficult to say what caused this individuals behavior. Interventions I would recommend are also up in the air. I believe criminalizing will just heighten the aggression in the bully and the bullying will continue. We can remove the bully, but the fact of the matter is that the problem still has potential because they can continue from the comfort of their home. Additionally, the victim may become the bully as she now has aggression to get out. It could turn into a cycle which probably explains why we hear so much of it today. Maybe educating the entire school on cyberbullying and its effects is a good place to start. I also believe it is necessary to combine the efforts of the school, parents, and general community in educating about the potentials. Not only should intervention contain education, but also prevention and reduction of the behaviors. Tanrikulu brought up the potential of reality therapy that can be utilized to analyze cyberbully behaviors to create intervention programs (2014). I think maybe reconditioning the individuality to perceive the real world as reality and abate cognitive distortions and somehow accept what they have as valuable. For the victim, teaching positive coping techniques and ways to avert pent up shame, depression, and anger will avoid the victim becoming the bully.
Cyberbullying requires a balanced approach. (2013, May 21). The Guelph Mercury Retrieved from https://login.libproxy.edmc.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1353330392?accountid=34899
Tanrikulu, T. (2014). Cyberbullying from the perspective of choice theory.Educational Research and Reviews, 9(18), 660-665. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5897/ERR2014.1761