‘Gen Y gets lost in the realms of cyber space’

Name: Emily Smith
Student Number: n7524862
Tutor: Colleen Niland

“Technological is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.” - Albert Einstein

Cultural Artefact


The cultural artefact was sourced from a social media blogging site, called ‘Sexysocial Media’. The blog titled ‘Cyber Bullying Prompts Internet Safety for Kids’, uses the self descriptive image to highlight the stark reality and repercussions of cyber bullying. The hurtful words are arranged to represent blood, symbolic of a wounded esteem. The graphic image portrays feelings of anxiousness, depression and more evidently trauma, as a result of personal harassment. The artefact is a confronting, but effective way to draw attention to a prevalent issue in modern society.

Public Health Issue
The internet is no longer used only as a resource for information, education and entertainment. In today’s society, children prefer to use the internet for social interaction, through email, instant messenger and social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011). Although social networking has been praised for its ability to make communication easier, it can also have adverse effects such as cyber bullying (Campbell, 2005). Cyber bullying is a form of covert bullying, which involves repeated aggressive behaviour toward an individual with the intent to cause harm via various technologies (Cross et al., 2009). This type of bullying, as portrayed through the cultural artefact, can have serious mental and physical consequences. Generation Y and younger generations are more susceptible to these issues, as they have grown up with technology from birth (Australian Communications and Media Authority, 2009).
This issue has become a matter for much public discussion, to create awareness and in an attempt to find solutions to a major social problem.

TODAY SHOW - Cyber Bullying

Literature Review
Cyber bullying is no longer an isolated incidence. Due to the World Wide Web and advancing technology, it is now a global problem that affects not only Australia, but the United States, Canada, Japan, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand (Campbell, 2005).
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011), 72 000 children had experienced online bullying or threatening behaviour whilst on the internet. Cyber bullying has been strongly associated with the use of social media sites. As teenagers are the predominant users of these pages, they are more inclined to experience this type of bullying (Australian Communications and Media Authority, 2009).

In an Australian study conducted using 120 Brisbane year 8 school students, over a quarter knew of another student being bullied, using various technologies (Campbell, 2005). The favourable mediums being used were mobile phones, chat rooms and email. Principals in Australia have identified this issue as a growing problem in schools, and over half of the participating students agree. In 2005, the number of adolescents with exposure to the internet and mobile phones was expected to rise from 745000 to 1 million. As the number of adolescents with access to technology rises, it can be inferred that the incidence of cyber bullying will also increase (Campbell, 2005).
As mentioned earlier, younger generations are more susceptible to cyber bullying (Australian Government, 2010). It is evident that children in primary school are more likely to be bullied face to face, than to be bullied online. However secondary school children and young adolescents (Gen Y), are more likely to experience cyber bullying (Australian Government, 2010). Females are the predominant users of social networking sites and email more frequently, making them more susceptible to cyber bullying than males. It seems that young adolescents are more likely to be involved in cyber bullying, than younger children (Campbell, 2005). This is primarily due to the fact that younger children have lower rates of internet usage and other devices for communication, in comparison to their older counterparts (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010).

Research shows that face to face bullying directly affects the victim by increasing levels of depression, anxiety and psychosomatic symptoms (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010). Studies on the adverse effects of cyber bullying are limited, however the resources available suggest the effects are more severe than face to face bullying (Campbell, 2005). Research shows verbal and psychological abuse from cyber bullying has more negative long term effects than physical bullying (Campbell, 2005). With the availability and ease of the internet and mobile phones, cyber bullying is bigger than just the perpetrator and the victim. Technology has the potential to escalate the abuse to a whole new level, with the opportunity to mass humiliate the victim through public postings, emails and messages (Campbell, 2005). The most damaging aspect of cyber bullying is the presence of abuse in written words. With the abuse visible, it is a constant reminder to the victim, and the message can be read over and over (Campbell, 2005). Another major issue of cyber bullying, is its invasive nature. The web and technology allows continual access to the victim. The bullying can occur at any time or anywhere, and the perpetrator can remain anonymous in his or her actions (Campbell, 2005).
The term ‘cyberbullicide’, refers to the harm caused by cyber bullying, which inevitably leads to the development of emotional and psychological problems, low self esteem, clinical depression and a lack of support structure that may result in a tragic outcome (Hinduja& Patchin, 2010). Suicide was the third leading cause of death among young adolescents in 2004. A study conducted by the British Medical Journal surveyed 16410 Finnish students aged between 14 and 16 years. The study found that 4% and 8% of boys and girls, respectively, had experienced severe suicidal thoughts after being cyber bullied (Hinduja& Patchin, 2010).

Over the past decade, particularly in recent years, it appears the presence of peer aggression and bullying among adolescents has increased, due to the progression of information and communication technology (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010). With technology continuing to advance and new communication mediums constantly evolving in society, it seems that this issue will continue to increase in incidences in the future, becoming more than an epidemic (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010).
Over the past 20 years, research has been conducted to identify strategies that reduce the incidences of bullying and more recently cyber bullying. There are four strategies that have been proven to be effective (Campbell, 2005).

The first, increasing awareness, is an essential preventative methodology (Campbell,2005). This step involves, parents, children and teachers gaining an understanding of the issue at hand, specifically cyber bullying and the various technological mediums used (Australian Government, 2010).

The second strategy is more relevant to face to face bullying within schools, where a whole school policy is endorsed. It has proven to be the single most effective strategy in combating bullying. It aims to bring in a preventative measure on a daily basis (Campbell, 2005).
Another strategy is supervision, which involves parents and teachers and their awareness of the messages viewed and sent. This strategy aims to teach parents and teachers when to intervene to reduce the effects of bullying (Campbell, 2005).

The final strategy is the introduction of programs, both social and curriculum. Bullying is as much a social issue than anything else, as it often involves an audience (Campbell , 2005). The program is designed to solve the problem in a social context by encouraging bystanders to speak out against bullies. This is evident in a Canadian website which promises to stand behind children who are, or who have been victims to bullying (Tracey, 2004).
With any methodology, there are always limitations when understanding and redressing the issue (Hinduja& Patchin, 2010). As the issue relates to younger generations, such as Gen Y, who have grown up with technology, it makes it difficult for adults to understand the issue, particularly when considering the technological gap between each generation. Due to the technological abilities and differences, it makes it very difficult to monitor cyber bullying (Australian Government, 2010).

Cyber bullying is a relatively new form of covert bullying, however, research is limited regarding who it affects, how it affects people and specific strategies in combating it (Cross et al 2009). Although research shows that school aged children are mostly affected by cyber bullying, studies also identify that young adolescents are also affected, who are not necessarily school aged (Hinduja& Patchin, 2010). This is a limitation, as the majority of the cyber bullying strategies and policies are relevantto school children and the school itself (Campbell, 2005).

Cultural and Social Analysis
Maslow, a behavioural theorist, developed a hierarchy of needs that were divided into five progressive stages (Boeree, 2006). The first four stages consist of deficiency needs and include one's physiological requirements, feelings of safety, sense of love and belonging and personal esteem. This theory dictates that the individual must satisfy the first four levels in order to progress to self actualisation, which is the final stage that promotes personal growth (Boeree,2006).


When considering the social and cultural issue of cyber bullying, the victim’s safety needs are not being met, and as a result, deprive the individual of belongingness, love and their esteem needs, which are essential components for an individual to reach self actualization(Boeree, 2006). Cyber bullying can be explained as an invasive abuse of privacy, which denies the safety needs of the victim, and where technology allows the perpetrator into the homes of an individual (Campbell, 2005). When an individual’s basic needs aren’t being met, the victim lacks a support network, and therefore more vulnerable to psychological and esteem problems (Hinduja& Patchin, 2010). These symptoms are the basis for self harm and suicide and are caused by Maslow’s basic needs not being met.

According to Balwin (2008), adolescent years are the most influential time for shaping identity and building self esteem. It is children and young adolescents who are the target group when it comes to cyber bullying. Generation Y and younger generations, are exposed to technology the most and have been since birth (Australian Communications and Media Authority, 2009). With greater access to internet resources and other communication technology than other older generations, they are more susceptible to cyber bullying and are affected more. Adolescence is a vulnerable time for many as an individual’s support network, such as friendship groups and self-esteem, are being developed (Australian Communications and Media Authority, 2009). Cyber bullying deprives these children from discovering their identity and developing a positive self perception.

Our society plays a crucial role in the cycle of bullying. By its nature, cyber bullying is a social behaviour, which involves a community of people whether they are direct or indirect bystanders, often being peers (Campbell, 2005). The audience created, don’t necessarily partake in the bullying, but it is the observing and denigration of the victim that eggs on the bully. It is this type of audience, which encourages the bullying cycle to continue (Campbell, 2005). As cyber bullying is a social problem, it needs to be solved in a social context. Hence, although it predominantly affects young adolescents, the problem is far bigger than just the perpetrator and the victim.

Young or old, this issue affects everyone. You may not be the victim in the cyber bullying situation, but the individual who is may be someone’s son or daughter, or a friend who experiences the abusive behaviour. It is important that everyone is aware of cyber bullying, and the symptoms it may present, to help prevent future cyber bullying tragedies.

In order to fully understand and redress the issue of cyber bullying, it is important to create awareness. Technology will not stop evolving; instead, society must maintain a high level of technological understanding, in order to comprehend its use and misuse within the community.

Analysis and Reflection

The cultural artefact depicted, identifies the physical and psychological effects that cyber bullying has on an individual. The image illustrates a confronting image, that is attention grabbing, and something, where society will take a step back and realise the seriousness of the issue. Words being the object of blood, portray the tragedies of cyber bullying, where words are damaging to an individual’s self worth. The image conveys the strong link between psychological factors which develop into physical harm. The artefact creates the cultural awareness, that is essential for such an involved and pressing issue. They say a picture says a thousand words, and this picture says exactly that. This could prove to be an integral part of prevention strategies in the future.

When reflecting upon the assignment, I feel I have a greater depth of understanding when it comes to both technology and the inner workings of bullying, specifically cyber bullying. It was through my extensive research on the topic that I came to the realisation of the seriousness of cyber bullying, and how it is no longer an isolated incident, but is extremely prevalent in modern society. When viewing and analysing Maslow’s hierarchy, I could identify why and how bullying affected people and I had a greater understanding of the number stages that can deprive a personal authentication. If there is one thing I can take away from this assignment, it would be to not overlook issues that seem trivial and inconsequential. Because, in actual fact, it’s not until you delve beneath the surface of these perceived minor issues, that you realise the broad spectrum of ongoing problems and how this trauma can potentially affect you and others.

Bullying No Way

Cyber Bullying Org

Covert and Cyber Bullying Facts

Cyber Safety


Australian Bureau of statistics. (2011). 4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, Jun 2011. Retrieved 23.10.11 fromhttp://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features60Jun+2011

Australian Communications and Media Authority. (2009). Click and connect: Young Australians’ use of online social media- 01 Qualitative research report. Retrieved 23.10.11 fromhttp://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/aba/about/recruitment/click_and_connect-01_qualitative_report.pdf

Australian Government, Australian Institute of Criminology. (2010). Research in Practice- Covert and cyber bullying. Retrieved from The Australian Institute of Criminology websitehttp://www.aic.gov.au/documents/1/9/6/%7B196C613C-E600-4592-9530-31DB7F4BA95F%7Drip09.pdf

Boeree, G. (2006). Abraham Maslow [Electronic Version], http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/maslow.html.

Brown, C. (July 21 2009). Cyber Bullying [Video File] Retrieved from http://today.ninemsn.com.au/entertainment/840251/cyber-bullying

Campbell, M.A. (2005). Cyber Bullying: An Old Problem in a New Guise?. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 15 (1), 68-76. doi:10.1375/ajgc.15.1.68. Retrieved fromhttp://www.atypon-link.com/AAP/doi/abs/10.1375/ajgc.15.1.68

Cross, D et al. 2009. Australian covert bullying prevalence study.Perth: Edith Cowan University. www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/NationalSafeSchools/Pages/research.asp

Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J.W. (2010).Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Suicide. Archives of Suicide Research, 14(3), 206-221. Retrieved 28.10.11 fromhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13811118.2010.494133

Sexysocial media. (2011). Cyber Bullying Prompts Internet Safety for. Retrieved 23.10.11 from http://www.sexysocialmedia.com/cyber-bullying-prompts-internet-safety-for-kids/

Tracey, L. (2004). Sticks and stones: Getting tough against bullying in Toronto schools.Today’s Parent, 21(1), 1.

Learning Engagement and Reflections

1) In response to 'Assignment 3- Generation Y = NOH8! ' Written by Rachel Hendrick.
Rachel, the topic you have chosen is a very controversial and relevant issue in today’s modern society. I found it very degrading that homosexuality was actually perceived by humanity as a disease in the 19th century medical model in the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health’. This identifies the seriousness of the discrimination against gay and lesbians. I agree that homosexuals are being deprived of their basic liberties, the right to love, to be loved, to be accepted for who they are and to speak out for what they believe in. The’ NO H8’ campaign hits the nail on the head, and expresses the emotions of how homosexuals have to suffer in silence, because they feel they can’t speak out, due to gay and lesbian marriages not being legalised. I feel your statement about cohort succession is somewhat a positive stance and an encouraging sign of things to come. Your report was well written and an insightful view of a bigger picture, that encourages a shift in societies mentality on an important issue to many. It is pages like this that give hope for the future to many, awesome work!

2) In response to ‘Each time you sleep with someone, you're also sleeping with his past’ written by Jiaxu Zhang.
You have raised a valid point that is becoming more and more relevant to today’s society. The statistics present in this report are startling, as children who are barely 13 years of age are taking part in sexual intercourse. I agree with your view on how the media is somewhat responsible for generation Y’s poor stance toward sexual relations, and how it downplays the many risks involved. I find the statistics very surprising, particularly in Australia, where 70 000 people were diagnosed with an STI in 2009. Australia is deemed to be an educated country, but as you have identified in your report, sex is now perceived as desirable and for pleasure, rather than sacred and valuable to an individual. The youth of today, seem to be living for the moment, rather than planning for the future in regards to their sexual behaviour. It might not seem like a big deal at the time, but it’s later on in life that you may regret decisions you made when you were younger. This reported has reminded me of the fact that what I do today, can affect me in the future and that you aren’t invisible to STI’s, they are out there. This report is well written and uses statistics to reinforce the seriousness of this public health issue. The artefact describes the topic well. Great job.