WHAT IS CYBERBULLYING?
• "Cyberbullying" is when a child, preteen or teen
tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, em
barrassed 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
• The methods used are limited only by the child's
imagination and access to technology. And the
cyberbully one moment may become the victim
the next. The kids often change roles, going from
victim to bully and back again.
• Children have killed each other and committed
suicide after having been involved in a
HOW CYBERBULLYING WORKS
• Instant Messaging/Text messaging harassment
• Stealing Passwords
• Web sites
• Sending pictures through E-mail and cellphone
• Internet Polling
• Interactive Gaming
• Sending malicious code
• Sending Porn and Other Junk E-Mail and IMs
• Ryan Patrick Halligan (December 18, 1989 –
October 7, 2003) was an American schoolboy
from Essex Junction, Vermont, who
committedsuicide at the age of 13
after bullying from his classmates in real life
and cyber-bullying online. According to
the Associated Press, Halligan was repeatedly
sent instant messages from middle school
classmates accusing him of being gay, and was
"threatened, taunted and insulted incessantly―.
While looking through his son Ryan's bedroom
at home, parent John Halligan came across the
boy's seventh-grade yearbook. Inside was a
crude drawing of a stick figure hanging from a
flagpole; throughout the book were angry
comments scribbled across many student faces
in the book. It was as if Ryan was trying to give
his father a message. Something was terribly
• "I logged onto Ryan's AOL account and instantly
received dozens of responses. First, they wanted to
know why I was using Ryan's account," said
Halligan. "Well, I wanted to know if anyone was
willing to share information with me—then the
mystery began to unravel. After my son had gone
for a medical exam, he shared his experience in a
humorousmanner. The bully took it another way
and spread the rumor that Ryan was gay. I was
grateful that Ryan adhered to the Internet rules. I
found folders on the computer that had archived all
of Ryan's conversations and that was how I found
out how he dealt with the rumor all summer."
• There was also a folder for a girl ; it appeared
that Ryan and the girl were boyfriend and
When Ryan approached her in person, she
said, "Ryan, you're a loser. I was just
joking, pretending to like you on line for a good
• Ryan said, "It's girls like you who make me want
to kill myself."
Regarding the exchange Halligan said, "I could
not imagine the pain and humiliation my son
must have felt. I can't imagine how that girl
stomped on Ryan's heart."
• Someone in the audience at Halligan's
presentation at Poultney High School
asked, "Did the boy and girl pay for what they
• "The girl, Ashley, got blamed for Ryan's
death, and she was going to commit suicide,"
Halligan responded. "Depression killed my
son, and I did not want to blame Ashley for
Ryan's death. I visited with her, and she was
beyond being chocked up. She held onto me, not
saying a word, and I said, 'You did a mean
thing, but this is not your fault.'"
• Tormented Ashley felt she needed to apologize; she
appeared with Halligan on a widely viewed national T.V.
program, "Prime Time" with Dianne Sawyer. Ashley
wanted to help ; she would send a strong statement to
those who bully.
"As far as the bully, I lost it. I wanted to crush that kid
and kill him," Halligan said. "My wife, my hero saved me
from doing something drastic. The Essex, Vt., detective
said the kid was a smart aleck and that there was no
criminal law that we could throw at the kid."
Halligan posed a challenging question for the Poultney
parents, teachers and students gathered at the meeting:
"Did you know that most schools deal with harassment
and bullying like a conflict resolution? Does that work for
• "Two months after Ryan's death, I received a call from
another parent and heard that the bully made fun of how
Ryan killed himself," said Halligan. "I grabbed my keys and
headed to the five roads traffic light in Essex. I wanted to
crush that kid, but the very long light changed my drastic
thoughts, not to mention I heard my wife's words in my
When Halligan rang the doorbell, the bully answered the
door; he quickly disappeared inside the house when his
mother and father stepped to the door.
"I asked that the boy return to the room," said Halligan. "The
kid looked like he would faint."
Halligan confronted the boy.
"You have no idea about the amount of pain you caused my
son," he said. "You're still bullying him, and he cannot defend
himself. You're lying to your parents and me. I refuse to
believe that you're that heartless and don't have a soul."