What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is a form of aggressive harassment that takes place online through email, cellphones,text messaging, instant messaging, internet chat rooms, even websites and blogs.
Harassment online can take many forms.
It can be sending emails and instant messages with hateful remarks or comments targeting certain individuals. Text Message Bullying is becoming more prevalent.
It can be tricking a victim to reveal personal information that is later forwarded to others or posted on the internet.
Other forms of online harassment include taking a picture of the victim with a digital phone camera and posting the pictures online, stealing passwords from email accounts and sending hate emails using the victim's identity.
How serious is the problem? Watch this video!
What are some Cyberbullying Stories?
Jeff was a teenager in Tampa, Florida who was tormented for 3 years by an online campaign intended to smear his reputation. Unable to track down the perpetrator of stop the legacy of hate, Jeff eventually took his own life. His story shows how dangerous online harassment can be.
Another victim of bullying online was a 13 year old girl, Megan, who was lured into an online friendship with a boy on My Space. The real identity of the boy was the mother of a former friend who wanted to humiliate the girl. Using the boyfriend's identity, the mother sent hateful and humiliating messages to the girl who eventually took her life. This tragedy is all the more lamentable because the perpetrator was an adult who should have been more in control of her own vindictive anger.
Cyberbullying is one of the causes of teen suicide.
What are some Statistics about Online Bullying?
Statistics on this Faceless Crime are grim.
18% of students in Grades 6-8 admitted having been bullied online at least once in the past couple of months.
6% claimed it had happened 2 or more times.
Of those cyber-harassed in Grades 6-8,
62% reported it was done by another friend;
46% by a friend;
58% were victims of instant messaging;
28% were bullied in a chat room forum;
19% were bullied through email;
33% reported emotional distress;
Research also suggests that girls are twice as likely as boys to be victims of perpetrators of cyberbullying.
A survey of preteens(6-11 year olds) and teens(12-17 year olds) also reveals that
45% of preteens and 30% of teens were cyber-victimized at school;
44% of preteens and 70% of teens were cyber-victimized at home;
34% of preteens and 25% of teens were cyber-victimized at a friend's house.
A study done at the University of Toronto also suggests that less than 50% of online bullying events is reported.
The problem is pervasive.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Children from Being Bullied Online?
Encourage open dialogue between you and your children regarding issues of concern. Foster a close and open relationship so that your children will approach you about their concerns.
Tell your children about the dangers of the internet. Be proactive about your stance; let your children know that you will not penalize them for being the target of cyberbullying. Sometimes children may be ashamed or scared they have solicited danger; they may be unsure of how you will react or they may be afraid you might take away their computer privileges.
Learn what your children are doing on the internet, which website they visit, with whom are they chatting online.
Educate your children about the danger of transparency--placing their own private information online in social networks like Facebook or My Space. Encourage them to take a cautious approach online.
Set clear time limits on internet use.
Place the family computer in a highly accessible family area, like the kitchen.
can prevent online cyber bullying by protecting your child's online
If your child has been abused by cyberbullies, take action immediately.
a) Meet with school officials and ask for their help.
b) Keep all bullying messages as evidence and tools for tracking.
c) Report incidents to the local Police and your Internet Service Provider.
d) If necessary, change phone numbers and email accounts.
e) Acknowledge the pain your child is going through. However, do not indulge in his or her fear by keeping the child from school for a prolonged period of time - unless there is evidence of physical danger. Encourage your child to use his or her problem solving ability to approach the situation, rather than seeking refuge by staying home.
Cyberbullying can be stopped when the whole community stands up for the children's rights to safety and freedom from abuse.
Visit Our Blog!