Cyber-Bullying

cyberbullyCyber-Bullying

Who are the new bullies?

90% of middle school students have had their feelings hurt online
75% have visited a web site bashing another student
40% have had their passwords stolen and changed by a bully
Only 15% of parents polled knew what cyber-bullying was.

 

(Source: wiredsafety.org and Parade Magazine, Sunday, February 25, 2007.)

Cyber-bullies are the new bullies who use instant messages, cell phones, text messages and social networking sites to threaten others. Not only can cyber-bullying be done anonymously, it can also reach a huge audience. Because of anonymity, students are more likely to participate in cyber-bullying than simply bullying other students in the school setting where they are more likely to be found out and perhaps disciplined.

Some suggestions for parents to prevent cyber-bullying:

  • Move the computer out of your child’s bedroom and into a family room or location that is open and accessible so you can monitor use and activities.
  • Teach your child not to share passwords.
  • Monitor your child’s screen name and web sites.
  • If your child is cyber-bullied, save and print out any evidence and discuss this with your child.
  • Install monitoring and filtering software on your computer. Programs are available for free from k9webprotection.com and safefamilies.org.

Cyber-bullying consists of an individual or individuals using email, instant messaging or some form of communication technology to threaten, embarrass, belittle or intimidate for the purpose of gaining power and/or control.

Cyber-bullies are often motivated by the same things that motivate school-yard bullies: personal anger, boredom, or by the possibility of improving their social status, among others.

What separates cyber-bullying from more traditional forms of bullying is the phenomenon of disinhibition…. “I can’t see you, you can’t see me.” Students who cyber-bully do not witness the consequences of their behavior. As a result, they do not receive the necessary feedback and feel empowered to continue their hurtful behavior. Since the cyber-bully is not receiving normal social cues such as communication through body language, they lack empathetic responses. They often tend to take on various roles or identities on the internet. This lowers their inhibitions and adds to their sense of safety.

The websites listed below focus on cyber-bullying:

Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
Cyber-bullying is sending or posting harmful or cruel text or images using the Internet or other digital communication devices. It is emerging as one of the more challenging issues facing educators and parents as young people embrace the Internet and other mobile communication technologies. Be sure to check out the resources for parents and students.

Net Bullies
Find out how to prevent and handle cyber-bullying and harassment.

Stop Cyber-bullying
This website explains what cyber-bullying is, how it works, why kids do it, how to take action, and how to prevent it.