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The effects and treatment of the problem of cyberbullying

Abstract Bullying has been the subject of worldwide study for over four decades and is widely reported by social media. Despite this, the issue is a relatively new area of research in Brazil.

This study analyzes academic literature addressing bullying produced in Brazil focusing on aspects that characterize this issue as a subtype of violence: The guiding question of this study was: The results show that over half of the studies used quantitative approaches, principally cross-sectional methods and questionnaires, and focused on determining the prevalence of and factors associated with bullying.

The findings showed a high prevalence of bullying among Brazilian adolescents, an association between risk behavior and bullying, serious consequences for the mental health of young people, lack of awareness and understanding among adolescents about bullying and its consequences, and a lack of strategies to manage this type of aggression.

There is a need for intervention studies, prevention and restorative practices that involve the community and can be applied to everyday life at school. Bullying; Adolescent; Health care Introduction Adolescence is a time of intense physical, psychological and relational change.

Healthy cognitive, emotional, sexual and psychological development during this period requires a comfortable environment that transmits security, support and protection to the adolescent 1. Depression and suicide account for a significant portion of the increase in morbidity and mortality among adolescents 3. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children 145. Although this term traverses cultural barriers and is used worldwide by researchers and in dictionaries as a proper noun to indicate actions that go beyond aggression or mistreatment, in Portuguese a word that adequately encapsulates its full meaning does not exist 4.

In general terms, bullying is defined as a subcategory of violence and is constituted by aggressive repetitive acts and asymmetrical power relations between peers 46 - 8 that have serious health consequences among adolescents who, apart from having to lead with intense emotional and physical change, seek acceptance among their peers 19.

Dan Olweus 7 does not regard bullying as aggression among peers who have similar physical and emotional characteristics. Although this type of violence occurs within the general community 89bullying is a health problem around the world and involves interaction between individuals in the same context or environment 4such as school, over a long period of time.

Researchers have systemized bullying into two forms: Generally, bullying is barely noticeable to adults since it is subtle 71011. Cyberbullying, peer violence in virtual settings, is another type of bullying that has been widely studied 1213. This form of bullying has no set location and is more difficult to resolve since it is generally anonymous, open access and spreads at great speed 12.

  • Programs that address gender differences in bullying are also suggested, given that boys and girls experience different types of bullying behaviors 41 , 47;
  • They experience trust issues and are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs at an earlier age;
  • Establish Rules Be clear about what sites kids can visit and what they are permitted to do when online;
  • There is no association between bullying and level of maternal education 31;
  • A reading of the titles and abstracts of the articles obtained from the searches resulted in a total of 69 preselected articles Table 1 , of which 25 six in English were selected for comprehensive reading using the following inclusion criteria:

It is believed that bullying is rooted in social, cultural, economic and historical problemas 4. Victims generally do not react to aggression, are more insecure, fear rejection and have few friends. Bullying has been the subject of worldwide study for over four decades and is widely reported by social media 15 - 18.

Despite this, the issue is a relatively new area of research in Brazil 91419 - 21. In Brazil, severe cases of bullying involving homicide and suicide have made the headlines and have been widely reported by the media. One such case was theMassacre de Realengo in 2011, attributed to an act of revenge for bullying, where an ex-pupil shot and killed 12 children at a school in Rio de Janeiro and then turned the gun on himself 22.

In 2010, a youth from Porto Alegre was victim of homicide involving a firearm in a supposed case of bullying 23while in 2009, in Guarulhos, the effects and treatment of the problem of cyberbullying girl who was victim of constant bullying was beaten unconscious by another adolescent while others filmed and laughed 24.

In other cases of bullying involving legal action, the parents of the bullies have been required to compensate the victim 5. There is an urgent need to understand and intervene in social problems such as bullying that pose a threat to adolescent health 1. This integrative review analyzes academic literature addressing bullying produced in Brazil focusing on aspects that characterize this issue as a subtype of violence: Methods The study used the integrative review method, which consists of summarizing and organizing the results of empirical or theoretical literature to obtain a wide and deep understanding of a given topic in order to derive insights that may provide the basis for further research 2526.

This literature review was conducted in the following stages: Given the incipient nature of research related to bullying among adolescents, the guiding question of this study was: The literature search was conducted in August 2014 using the following data bases: The following descriptors were used for the respective data bases separated by the Boolean operators and or or: These descriptors were used to refine or widen the search according to the search result.

A time frame was not set in order to obtain unrestricted access to the literature. A reading of the titles and abstracts of the articles obtained from the searches resulted in a total of 69 preselected articles Table 1of which 25 six in English were selected for comprehensive reading using the following inclusion criteria: The following exclusion criteria were also used: Results and discussion The 25 articles analyzed by this study are presented in chronological order in Chart 1which shows the title, type of study as defined by the authorssample and objective of each study.

Two articles were produced in 2005, one in 2006, two in 2008, one in 2009, five in 2010, one in 2011, six in 2012 and 2013, and one in 2014. Graph 1 shows the number of articles by type of study. Fourteen studies are quantitative 11 cross-sectional, with only three citing the use of questionnaires ; three are qualitative two use interviews and one uses participant observation and focus groups ; two are quanti-qualitative both use questionnaires, while one uses free word association and the other uses notes kept in a field journal, interviews and focus groups ; four are bibliographical studies one of which is a systematic literature review ; and two are theoretical studies consisting of a critical analysis of the topic.

The main focus of over half of the articles were correlations and factors associated with bullying, and the investigation and determination of prevalence of bullying. After vertical in-depth reading, the 25 articles were organized into the following topics: Prevalence and types of bullying In article 11, a study conducted with 60,973 pupils in 26 state capitals and in the Federal District, 5.

Article 21 revealed that 67. This prevalence rate is similar to the findings of article 24, which showed that 67. A study conducted with 5,500 pupils, showed that 40.

The findings of article 22 that studied a sample of 1,230 pupils showed that 10. The different methods of data collection โ€” type of questionnaires used, different sample characteristics number, age, gender, etc. The lowest prevalence of bullying was reported by article 11. According to the authors, this was due to the time frame adopted for the occurrence of bullying one monthwhich was chosen to reduce the risk of bias.

On the other hand, the high percentage of victims 48. The high proportion of victims 67. The game allows players to be bullies or victims and choose to attack or defend monitors, teachers and classmates in a school setting.

Although its sale is prohibited Brazil, the game is still sold in the United States and in some shops in the United Kingdom 34.

Bullying was more frequent among boys who had been involved in more serious crimes. However, the study suggests that further research is necessary to understand whether bullying is a precursor or consequence of the offences committed by the adolescents 43. The findings of these studies on bullying in Brazil are similar to those of international studies.

Another study conducted in the United States with 15,686 pupils from public and private schools aged between six and 10 years, revealed that 29. According to article 14, the most common types of bullying bullying and being bullied are verbal: These findings corroborate the results of article 21, which showed that the most common types of bullying suffered by victims were name-calling and gossiping, while the most common type of bullying practiced by bullies was name-calling 28.

Digital Threats: The Impact of Cyberbullying

Article 12 shows that the most prevalent forms of intimidation are verbal and physical, followed by psychological, ethnic and sexual aggression 30. On the other hand, articles 9 and 22 show that physical aggression is most prevalent, followed by verbal abuse 3143.

Article 8 draws attention to the fact that verbal provocation evolves into physical aggression fighting, hitting, hair-pulling and kicking and often starts within school and ends outside the school gates 45. Peer aggression tends to take place mainly outside the classroom 28 ; however, article 22 shows that after the playground, incidents take place mainly in the classroom 31. Gender differences According to articles 11, 12 and 22, boys are more likely to be bullied or involved in bullying than girls 273031.

Also, bullying among boys tends to involve physical aggression, isolation from the group and coercion, while in girls it is more likely to involve gossip and teasing, which is less noticeable 44.

Furthermore, boys are twice as likely to be bullies 31which does not necessarily mean that they are more aggressive, but rather more likely to be involved in bullying 29. Developmental differences between boys and girls may account for such behavior. Boys tend to be more aggressive than girls, which is reinforced by a male-dominated society that encourages them to have a hostile attitude towards their peers 57. In addition, a free word association test showed that boys and girls have different perceptions of violence.

Interactions between girls tend to be most influenced by affection, bonds of friendship, emotions and feelings, while in boys it is affected by competition and achieving goals 2841. There is also a relationship between body image dissatisfaction but not with excess weight and the likelihood of be bullied or bullying 31. Findings show adolescents may associate physical differences with motives for psychological bullying 45and that bullies of both sexes are more likely to sexually harass classmates 36.

Article 24 cites a possible relationship between being bullied and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms 53hyperactivity and difficulty relating to classmates, but suggests that further research is necessary to ascertain whether bullying precedes and intensifies this type of behavior, or if adolescents with hyperactivity and behavioral problems tend to be more susceptible to being bullied 30. With regards to cyberbullying, article 27 shows that the longer adolescents spend on the internet and cell phone, the more vulnerable they are to bullying 48and that effective parental supervision of internet and cell phone reduces exposure and ensures more healthy use of social media.

Both bullies and targets of cyberbullying tend to have lower self-esteem than non victims. Using electronic devices such as computers, video games and television for extended periods of times is associated with bullying 31.

Alcohol consumption, illicit drug use and suffering physical aggression is also associated with all types of bullying except name-calling. There is a strong association between threatening behavior, theft, physical abuse and teasing and risk behaviors, such as being involved in physical the effects and treatment of the problem of cyberbullying, accidents and carrying a weapon.

Comparative studies cite various adolescent health risk behaviors that are strongly associated with bullying, thus showing that this type of violence must not be ignored and that urgent measures are needed to manage this problem 47.

Adolescents that received support from their family after having been bullied at school demonstrated less aggressive attitudes when they returned to school. Overly punitive, lenient without setting limits or negligent parenting, exposure to violence games, films, music and a social environment in which the adolescent experiences a long process marginalization humiliation, abandonment, isolation are associated with violent events, such as school shootings perpetrated by adolescents involving subsequent shooter suicide 40.

There is no association between bullying and level of maternal education 31. Consequences The signs of bullying among children and adolescents include headaches, abdominal pains, insomnia, nocturnal enuresis bedwettingdepression, anxiety, missing school, lower academic performance, self-aggression, thoughts of suicide and attempted suicide, missing belongings, bodily injury, torn or dirty clothing and aggressiveness.

They may also constantly ask for money and be hungry after school, which suggests that other adolescents take their money during break 435. Involvement in cyberbullying can lead to an increase in emotional disorders, such as symptoms of depression, anxiety, a decrease in empathic capacity and suicidal ideation 48. Article 13 presents accounts of pupils who repeated the school year and changed classes after being repeatedly subjected to name calling 45.

Witnesses are also affected in their academic performance and their social environment by experiencing a violent environment 35. Furthermore, being bullied is also associated with depressive, apathetic, cyclothymic and volatile tendencies, sadness, low self-esteem, reduced ability to focus, self-discipline controland capacity to confront and solve problems copingand greater emotional fragility in adult life 51.

It can therefore be deduced that discrimination, intolerance and physical aggression among peers โ€” aspects that constitute of this subtype of violence โ€” have harmful effects on the mental health and academic life of pupils, therefore affecting their intellectual development, and may have repercussions on the family environment 445. Bullying is repeatedly tolerated by the victim in name of the effects and treatment of the problem of cyberbullying and the emotional protection involved with belonging to a group 52.

Article 1 shows that 69. Some adolescents tend to retaliate to name-calling with name-calling, which often evolves into physical aggression, thus reinforcing the cycle of aggression 45. The majority of bullies think that it is funny to bully their peers 29and many mention that dominating their classmates generates a feeling of well-being or satisfaction, prestige and leadership, and view this attitude as a positive quality 2735. The lack of awareness among adolescents about bullying and its consequences seems to be a contributing factor to bullying and should be addressed by bullying prevention policies 6.

Article 14 shows that the majority of targets of bullying become angry and either defend themselves or ignore the aggression, while only 13.

The witnesses did not do anything to help the victims, which suggests fear of retaliation from the bullies 29which is corroborated by article 23, which emphasizes that the majority of witnesses feel compassion for the victim and do not like to watch scenes of bullying, but do not defend the victims for fear of becoming victims themselves 52.

  • Bullying victimization is associated with dysfunctional emotional traits and affective temperaments;
  • These tragic events have led to increasing attention on the issue, with prevention efforts becoming a priority.