Friday, September 2, 2011

Cyber Racism

Jack Dikian
September 2011

According to Wikipedia, the term "cyber racism" was coined by Les Back in 2002 to capture the phenomenon of racism online, particularly white supremacist web sites. The term encompasses racist rhetoric that is distributed through computer-mediated means.

There is currently little research on the extent and impact on cyber racism in Australia. However, current Australian research in the area of cyber bullying, the number of complaints of internet-based racism made nationally, and studies conducted overseas provide a strong indication of the nature and extent of cyber racism in Australia.

The Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study CHPRC, conducted by Edith Cowan University May 2009 found that:

  • Cyber bullying was defined by young people as cruel covert bullying used primarily by young people to harm others using technology such as: social networking sites, other chat-rooms, mobile phones, websites and web-cameras.
  • 7-10% of students reported they were bullied by means of technology through the school term.
  • Slightly higher rates of cyber bullying were found among secondary students and students from non-government schools.
  • Differences were found in each age group regarding the mode of technology most prevalent for cyber bullying in and out of school. More internet-based bullying through social networking sites was reported than through mobile phones, especially as students get older.
  • Cyber bullying appears to be related to age (or access to technology), with older students more likely to engage in cyber bullying than younger students.
  • Students reported that home cyber bullying is likely to be higher among older students especially if parents don't have the knowledge and skills to help their child.
  • Cyber bullying differences were found in each year group (Year 4 to 9) regarding the mode of technology, with nasty messages more likely to be sent via the internet (most often through social networking sites) than via mobile phones, more especially as students get older.

Source: Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study CHPRC, Edith Cowan University May 2009

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