Do your children surf the Internet regularly? Do they have their own mobile phone? If the answer is yes, then cyberbullying is something you should be aware of.
We’ve all heard of (or have even been victims of…) bullying. We can remember our school days when school bullies picked on other children in the school yard and harassed them. Those bullies had names and faces that we could recognize and there were a lot of things we could do: we could try to stay away from them, we could report them to the authorities, we could ask our parents to speak to their parents and there were often other people who witnessed the bullying acts who could later tell what happened.
But the widespread use of the Internet, mobile phones and other digital communication means has brought with it a new type of bullying – cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is an extension of bullying, with “a twist”. There are ways to deal with this kind of bullying too.
So what is cyberbullying?
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, such as ICQ, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and others
- Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, etc.
- chat rooms
- discussion groups and interactive game sites
- mobile phones
- virtual worlds
Cyberbullying can take different forms. Here are a few examples of straightforward cyberbullying:
In addition to these straight forward messages; cyber bullies have developed all kinds of techniques to evade standard content filters. Some of these are: