Think About It One day you like someone. The next day you don’t. Angry, you say something or post something online. It gets passed around quickly and easily. So now, everybody knows about it and everybody talks about it in school. While maybe you are mean only once, when you do it online your posting or message is repeated again and again as it gets passed around. Meanness multiplies. When kids are intentionally and repeatedly mean to one another using cell phones or the Internet, it’s called cyberbullying . Sometimes kids can handle cyberbullying and not get too upset. Other times, it can make kids feel angry, frustrated, sad, or afraid.
Slang term used to describe online harassment, which can be in the form of flames , comments made in chat rooms , the sending of offensive or cruel e-mail , or even harassing others by posting on blogs , Web pages or social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook or MySpace . Unlike physical bullying, cyberbullying can often be difficult to track as the cyberbully — the person responsible for the acts of cyberbullying — can remain anonymous when threatening others online.
Cyber bullying (cyberbullying, cyber-bullying, online bullying) is the use of electronic information and communication devices such as e-mail, instant messaging, text messages, mobile phones, pagers and defamatory websites to bully or otherwise harass an individual or group through personal attacks or other means. ( Wikipedia )
Cyberbullies know their victims, but their victims may not know their cyberbullies.
Victims of bullying are often fearful of telling others about being bullied because they fear that the bullying may actually become worse if they tell.
Victims of cyberbullying are often also afraid to report to adults about being cyberbullied, as they also fear that adults will over-react and take away their mobile phone, computer and/or Internet access.
Scenario 1 Sondra is planning a slumber party to celebrate her birthday. Her parents have set a limit of eight girls, so Sondra can’t invite everyone she’d like. Two girls who are left out overhear the plans. Angry, they plan their revenge. The girls make a “We Hate Sondra Jones” Web site. They say that anyone invited to the party should not go. They tell everyone in school the site’s address. The girls invite everyone to add new reasons why they hate Sondra and to spread ugly rumors about her. When Sondra hears about the site, she gets a sick feeling in her stomach. Unable to ignore it, she checks the site often. Each day she finds a new nasty comment or joke about her. She feels hurt and powerless to defend herself. Sondra is too embarrassed to go to school and tells her parents she is sick.
If you were Sondra’s friend, what advice would you give her?
Scenario 2 For the tenth day in a row, Andrew opens an e-mail that says, “I’m getting closer.” He doesn’t recognize the sender’s address. He wonders if someone at school is trying to scare him. On the other hand, it could be a stranger. Whatever the source, Andrew is scared. The next afternoon, Andrew is home alone. The e-mails come every few minutes. “I’m hiding in your house using a wireless Internet connection. You’ll never find me. But I’ll find you.” Frozen with fear, Andrew can’t think what to do.
If he called you for advice, what would you tell him?
Scenario 3 Jaleesa and Kim are friends at Jefferson Middle School. Kim tells Jaleesa that she doesn’t want to hang out with her any more. Jaleesa is angry and upset. She uploads a photo of Kim from her cell phone that was taken at a slumber party two weeks earlier. Jaleesa sends the photo to everyone on her buddy list with a message attached: “Kim is such a ****.”
What’s the Problem? How do you think Kim felt?
What might the kids who received the e-mail think or do?
Scenario 4 Ian made a plan to get back at Mike for telling some personal secrets about him. He created a fictional profile on a social networking site so he could carry on a fake online romance with Mike. The cyber romance went on for weeks. Mike was hooked by a person he thought was a student at a neighboring high school, a friend of his friends. At that point, Ian told all their friends about his trick on Mike. When asked why he did it, Ian said, “To teach him a lesson.”
Was Ian justified in teaching Mike a lesson?
How do you think Mike felt when he found out his “relationship” was only a cruel trick?
What problems might result due to Ian’s actions? What advice could you give Ian about self-control and respect?
What advice could you give Mike?
Consider if Ian had told some other friends what he was doing. What could these bystanders have done?