Cyberbullying is the sending or posting of damaging or cruel text or images using the Internet or other digital communication devices such as: Web pages, instant messaging (IM) programs, (ICQ, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and others), social networking sites (Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, etc.), chat rooms, forums, discussion groups, interactive game sites, e-mail, blogs, mobile phones and virtual worlds.
Anyone can be a cyberbully, hiding behind technology to anonymously hurt someone else. It could be your next door neighbor or your teacher’s son. The fact is that over half of middle school students have either been a victim or a bully. It may be done for revenge purposes or some might think it’s a harmless prank–it’s not.
Cyberbullying can occur any time (24/7), anywhere, even in “safe” contentPageTitles such as the home or school, whereas “regular” bullying requires the bully and his victim to be in the same physical contentPageTitle, at the same time. Anyone can be a victim of cyberbullying, even a teacher!
A cyberbully can easily hide behind a fake identity, whereas a “regular” bully’s identity is known. E-mail and text messages sent by a Cyberbully can be easily and quickly distributed to a wide audience, increasing the victim’s suffering. A single message posted online or sent to a mobile phone can spread to a wide audience. A bullying incident occurs between a bully and his victim. If other people are present, they will witness the bullying. Cyberbullying can occur even when it was not intended. A forwarded private message or joke becomes offensive or harassing even though that was not the intent of the original sender A “regular” bullying incident occurs at a specific time and place. It may have long lasting effects but it is a onetime incident. When a cyberbully publishes offensive content on the Internet, it does not “go away”, it can resurface at any time.
First of all, report this to the social networking Web site. Most social-networking sites have a link on every page to allow reporting of inappropriate material or abuse. Someone who is writing mean or threatening messages may be violating that site’s terms of service and their profile may be removed. In addition, instruct your child not to respond to these messages in any way. Responding to these messages only encourages their creator to continue with the hateful messages. If the person posting the hateful messages is from your child’s school you may want to notify school authorities.
If your child is bullying someone online, sit down with him/her – and talk about its impact on the victim, explain that this is unacceptable behavior. Also, try to find out why they are doing this, and seek professional help if necessary. And of course, ask them to stop immediately! Read more..
There are several signs that may indicate that your child is being cyberbullied. If your child stops using the computer or mobile phone suddenly or when you approach, seems nervous or edgy when new text, e-mail or instant messages arrive, seems angry, depressed or frustrated after using the computer, secludes him or herself and avoids contact with family and friends, acts reluctant to attend school and social events and is experiencing a decline in their academic performance, he or she may be cyberbullied. Read more…