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The Pocket Guide To Cyberbullying

The Pocket Guide To Cyberbullying
Cyber Bullying in simple words is bullying in cyber space says Savio DSilva, a Psychotherapist and counsellor.

Cyber bullying has increased in recent years. In a national survey of 10-17 year olds, twice as many children indicated they had been victims and perpetrators.

An unintended, unwelcome consequence of technology is cyber-bullying. Cyberbullying must include a minor on both sides. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is NEVER called cyberbullying.

Research shows that almost one in four children between the ages of 11 and 19 have been the victim of cyberbullying. The same research shows that approximately 65% of kids know of someone who has been cyberbullied.

Cyber Bullying is pretty much what it sounds like: bullying via use of technology, whether that is over a cell phone through texting or e-mails or Facebook or any other form of social media.

The scary parts are that (A) the bully can feel or actually be anonymous, which promotes more vicious attacks and (B) the potential audience is unlimited.

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The term cyberbullying is a new one that has been defined in different ways by different organizations. According to the US National Crime Prevention Council, it is when the internet, cell phones or other devices are used in cruelty to others by sending or posting text or images intended solely to hurt or embarrass another person.

Nearly 42% of kids have been bullied online and almost one in four have had it happen more than once. Among this percentage, being ignored and disrespected were the most common forms of cyber bullying.

Cyberbullying occurs when a person (often a child, preteen, or teenager) is bullied, harassed, humiliated, threatened, embarrassed, or targeted in some way by another person (often a child, preteen or teenager).

A 2006 poll from the national organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids found that 1 in 3 teens and 1 in 6 preteens have been the victims of cyberbullying. As more and more youths have access to computers and cell phones, the incidence of cyberbullying is likely to rise.

Nine out of ten middle school students have had their feelings hurt online. About 75% have visited a Web site bashing another student.

You may have heard about the sad news of Phoebe Prince's suicide. Prince was the victim of bullying and apparently decided to end her life after a particularly difficult day. Several of her schoolmates now stand charged of various crimes that could send them to jail.

Four out of ten middle school students have had their password(s) stolen and changed by a bully who then locked them out of their own account or sent communications posing as them.

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Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. By definition, it occurs among young people. When an adult is involved, it may meet the definition of cyber-harassment or cyber-stalking, a crime that can have legal consequences and involve jail time.

About 21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mails. The primary cyber bullying location where victimizing occurs, at 56%, is in chat rooms.

Online bullying or Cyberbullying is on the rise and has profoundly damaging consequences for children and teens. Cyberbullying happens when a child, preteen or teen is threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise by another child, preteen, or teen (sometimes by adults ) using the Internet, mobile phones or other digital devices.

Cyber bullying can be something as simple as continuing to send an e-mail to someone who has said they want no further contact with the sender, but it could also include threats, sexual remarks and hate speech. Though the use of sexual remarks and threats are sometimes present in cyber-bullying, it is not the same as sexual harassment and does not involve sexual predators.

About 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than four out of ten say it has happened more than once.

Cyber bullying is bullying through email, instant messaging (IMing), chat room exchanges, Web site posts, or digital messages or images send to a cellular phone or personal digital assistant (PDA). Cyber bullying, like traditional bullying, involves an imbalance of power, aggression, and a negative action that is often repeated.

Cyberbullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.

It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is NEVER called cyberbullying.

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Cyber-bullying is much like traditional playground bullying where there is name calling and someone is getting picked on, except cyber-bullying is done through the use of the internet, cell phones and other forms of digital technology. In order for it to be categorized as cyber-bullying, the intent must be to cause emotional distress, and the methods of cyber-bullying are limited only by a child's' imagination or access to technology.

Cyberbullying is similar to other types of bullying, except it takes place online and through text messages sent to cell phones. Cyberbullies can be classmates, online acquaintances, and even anonymous users, but most often they do know their victims.

Cyberbullying is when one person deliberately threatens, harasses, or humiliates another through the means of internet, mobile phones or any other digital technology.

Cyberbullying Symptoms

A child...

stops going online.

closes down a social networking account.

appears sad, moody, or anxious.

avoids school.

withdraws from or shows a lack of interest in social activities.

experiences a drop in grades or decline in academic performance.

appears upset after using the computer or being online.

appears upset after viewing a text message on a cell phone.

Cyberbullying is the use of cell phones, instant messaging, e-mail, chat rooms or social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to harass, threaten or intimidate someone.

In September 2006, ABC News reported on a survey prepared by I-Safe. This 2004 survey of 1,500 students between grades 4-8 reported:

42% of kids have been bullied while online. One in four have had it happen more than once.

35% of kids have been threatened online. Nearly one in five had had it happen more than once.

21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mails or other messages.

58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than four out of ten say it has happened more than once.

58% have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.

Cyberbullying is any harassment that occurs via the Internet. Vicious forum posts, name calling in chat rooms, posting fake profiles on web sites, and mean or cruel email messages are all ways of cyberbullying.

Sometimes cyberbullying can be clear-cut. For example, leaving overtly cruel cell phone text messages or mean notes posted to Web sites. Other acts are less obvious, such as impersonating a victim online or posting personal information or videos designed to hurt or embarrass another child.

If you are a victim, you can deal with cyberbullying to some extent by limiting computer connection time, not responding to threatening or defamatory messages, and never opening e-mail messages from sources you do not recognize or from known sources of unwanted communications. More active measures include blacklisting or whitelisting e-mail accounts, changing e-mail addresses, changing ISPs, changing cell phone accounts, and attempting to trace the source.

Children and teens are rarely concerned about internet safety. Yet, cyberbullying can have a devastating effect on them. At least a dozen suicides have been linked to internet harassment in just the last few years. Published information from the National Crime Prevention Council indicates that half of all American teens are bullied online.

Forms Of Cyberbullying

Cyber Stalking: Repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm or are highly intimidating, or engaging in other online activities that make a person afraid for his or her safety.

Outing and Trickery: Sharing someone's secrets or embarrassing information, or tricking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information and forwarding it to others.

Flaming: Online "fighting" using electronic messages with angry, vulgar language.

Impersonation: Breaking into an email or social networking account and using that person's online identity to send or post vicious or embarrassing material to/about others.

Denigration: Distributing information about another that is derogatory and untrue through posting it on a Web page, sending it to others through email or instant messaging, or posting or sending digitally altered photos of someone.

Harassment: Repeatedly sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages.

Cyberbullying can include such acts as making threats, sending provocative insults or racial or ethnic slurs, gay bashing, attempting to infect the victim's computer with a virus, and flooding an e-mail inbox with messages.

Ways To Avoid Cyberbullying

Don´t post anything that is very private online.

Don´t forward chain mails, hoaxes or long emails.

If you don't know the person, delete the message.

Don´t respond to an angry message with anger.

Never open messages from strangers.

Use the BCC: field when forwarding messages.

Proofread messages so that you are not a cyberbully.

Beware of certain topics such as rascism, etc.

Never post personal information online on Facebook.

Cyber bullying is using things like the Internet or a cell phone to embarrass, humiliate and generally make another person or a group of people look bad to others or feel bad about themselves.

Cyberbullying also can happen accidentally. The impersonal nature of text messages, IMs, and emails make it very hard to detect the sender's tone — one teen's joke or sense of humor could be another's devastating insult. Nevertheless, a repeated pattern of emails, text messages, and online posts is rarely accidental.

Unlike bullying in the school yard, a cyberbully might steal a classmate's online name and spread lies or write hateful comments about them. Cyberbullies often post damaging information on blogs or websites and even secretly record conversations (via cell phone) and then playing back the recording to the person being talked about. There are bullying stories all over the internet even one where stalking-type emails were sent to a 16-year old who ended up committing suicide.

Cyber-bullying is the use of technology to achieve the objectives of the bully. Since many modes of technology are available to children, cyber-bullying can take many forms – the methods used are limited only by the child’s imagination and access to technology.

Cyberbullying is often done by children, who have increasingly early access to these technologies. The problem is compounded by the fact that a bully can hide behind an electronic veil, disguising his or her true identity. This secrecy makes it difficult to trace the source and encourages bullies to behave more aggressively than they might face-to-face.

Young people are using the Internet more than ever and most have Internet access from home. For many children, the Internet isn't simply a convenient way to research or a fun afterschool activity it's a big part of their social life. Emailing and chatting with friends are children's most common online activities, after studying and playing games. But like many other social situations, some kids bully other kids online.

Cyberbullying is bullying by texting and emailing people to embarrass them and hurt their feelings. Texting is the most popular way.

Cyberbullying Examples

Creating websites to make fun of another person such as a classmate or teacher.

Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others.

Sending someone mean or threatening emails, instant messages, or text messages.

Excluding someone from an instant messenger buddy list or blocking their email for no reason.

Breaking into someone's email or instant message account to send cruel or untrue messages while posing as that person.

Using websites to rate peers as prettiest, ugliest, etc.

Most of the time, cyber bullies use cell phone text and photo messages, websites, web logs (blogs), chat rooms, social networking sites, instant messaging services and e-mail to do their dirty work.

Cyber-bullying is pretty much like offline bullying in nature. It involves individuals or groups harassing and upsetting others.

Cyber-bullying upsets and damages children like any other form of bullying and is something that parents need to understand and be aware of so that we can support our children and take action if they do ever become a victim of cyber-bulling.

It can sometimes feel quite difficult to escape cyberbullying as bullies can use technology to target you at home or on your mobile, even if they're not right there in the room with you. For the cyberbully, there's the problem that once you send a bullying message or post something online, everyone can see it, and you can't take it back. Many cyberbullies think that no one will be able to find out who they are, but that's not true.

Cyber or internet bullying is where you are being bullied over the computer. This can be done by people leaving messages on websites, Bebo's, Facebook, my-space and even general bullying over messenger programs.

Effects of Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is usally harsh on its victims because of several factors:

It can be anonymous. Cyberbullies often hide behind screen names and email addresses that don't identify who they are. Not knowing who is responsible for bullying messages can add to a victim's insecurity.

It can be harsher. Often kids say things online that they wouldn't say in person, mainly because they can't see the other person's reaction.

It occurs in the child's home. Being bullied at home can take away the place children feel most safe.


It can be far reaching. Kids can send emails making fun of someone to their entire class or school with a few clicks, or post them on a website for the whole world to see.

It may seem easy to get away from a cyberbully by just getting offline, but for some kids not going online takes away one of the major places they socialize.

A 2006 survey by Harris Interactive reported:

43% of U.S. teens having experienced some form of cyber-bullying in the past year.

More examples of Cyber bullying can include:

Making sexual remarks via internet or via SMS

revealing personal information

Using IM tools ( instant messaging) harass others

Using someone else’s e-mail to send incriminating e-mails

Spread lies and rumors about victims

Post pictures without their consent

Sending online threats

Sending cruel or threatening e-mails

Several states have signed cyber bullying bills into law. States like Maryland, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky and others have tried to define cyber bullying in a way that allows law enforcement officials to charge bullies with specific crimes. These laws also raise concerns with free speech advocates. So while cyber bullying isn't illegal on the federal level in the United States, it is illegal within specific states.

Cyberbullying is when you go to places like chat rooms, or other places where you can connect with people and the people that you talk to say mean things or offensive types of stuff or sometimes sexual comments and things that just make you feel uncomfortable. An example would be if you were talking to someone you didn't know in a chat room and they say " GIVE ME YOUR ADDRESS OR I WILL COME AND KILL YOU!" something like that. It is very scary and cyberbullying should be stopped and if that is happening to you, tell someone you trust and let them take care of it and don't go to that place again!

Cyber-bullying happens through:

The use of degrading pictures sent through email or social networking sites.

Text messaging/instant messaging and email – particularly through mobile phones.

Blogs and forums.

Online gaming.

Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube.

Cyberbullying is usually not a one time communication, unless it involves a death threat or a credible threat of serious bodily harm. Kids usually know it when they see it, while parents may be more worried about the lewd language used by the kids than the hurtful effect of rude and embarrassing posts.

Cyber-bullies may disclose victims' personal data (e.g. real name, address, or workplace/schools) at websites or forums or may pose as the identity of a victim for the purpose of publishing material in their name that defames or ridicules them. Some cyber-bullies may also send threatening and harassing emails and instant messages to the victims, while other post rumors or gossip and instigate others to dislike and gang up on the target.

A Canadian study found:

23% of middle-schoolers surveyed had been bullied by e-mail.

35% in chat rooms.

41% by text messages on their cell phones.

Fully 41% did not know the identity of the perpetrators.

Cyberbullying is when one person or a group of people try to threaten or embarrass someone else using a mobile phone or the internet. Cyberbullying is just as harmful as bullying in the real world. If you see it happening, report it. Don't ignore it.

This kind of Internet abuse is not just something that is confined to a computer at home. A cyber bully can cause harm anywhere that there is an Internet connection, including while your child is at school. In a 2005-2006 survey of 13,000 students in grades 5-12, 22% of students reported having known someone who has been bullied online. A shocking 19% of students have admitted to saying something hurtful to others online.

As cellphones, PDA’s and other hand-held devices grow in use, it is predicted that problems with cyber bullies will only become more frequent. Make sure that you talk to your children and that they feel comfortable coming to you if they victimized by a cyber bully.

Cyber bullying needs to stop. Stop for good, and you can really, really, help stop or curtain cyberbullying.

Kirti DSilva
Kirti DSilva
Mindfulness Trainer. Content Writer. Full Time Mom.

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