As the Internet becomes more integrated into the lives of the younger generation, kids have found a way to attack and bully other kids using the different tools of the Internet. It is called Cyber bullying.
What is cyber bullying? The Webster-Merriam dictionary defines cyber bullying as this: “ the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person often done anonymously.” Another definition given by stopcyberbullying.org defines cyber bullying as “when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen, teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.” The other thing to remember about cyber bullying is that it is only considered cyber bullying if two minors are involved. If the exchange is minor and an adult then it is called cyber harassment or cyber stalking. (stopcyberbullying.org)
Different Forms of Cyber bullying Cyber bullying comes in many different forms and from many different sources, not just from a computer. Judge Tom Jacobs book Teen Cyberbullying Investigated gives a great list of the different forms that cyber bullying can take. They are: Sending insulting or threatening emails, texts, or instant messages to someone using a computer, cell phone or any other e-communication device Spreading hateful comments about someone via e-mail, blogs, online profiles, or chat rooms Stealing passwords and sending out threatening messages using a false identity Building a Web Site targeting specific people (3)
These are the terms most commonly used when describing the different types of cyber bullying. Flaming = heated, online exchange Harassment= electronic messages that can cause emotional distress Denigration= online postings of negative or false information about someone Impersonation= giving negative, false information to other while impersonating someone else Outing and trickery= electronically sharing or forwarding personal or secret information Exclusion and ostracism= removing or blocking people from buddy lists Cyber stalking= using technology to stalk and threaten a target Happy slapping= videotaping and electronically disseminating an instance of slapping someone (Friedman, 27)
Bullying vs. Cyber Bullying There are two big differences between cyber bullying and bullying: Cyber bullying is more anonymous while bullying is more direct Even though it is more anonymous, 50% of cyber bully victims who their cyber bully whether they realize it or not (Friedman, 13). People who cyber bully, tend to do it because they think that having a screen name gives them some protection. And it does because it does make it harder to track who they actually are (Shariff, 44). Bullying happens face to face while cyber bullying uses technology.
The biggest difference of all… Cyber bullying can go on 24/7 With regular bullying, victims got a break on the evenings and weekends. With cyber bullying, victims can be harassed 24/7 via different forms of electronic communication. Perry Aftab, a cyber bully expert says “The kids who beat you up in school didn’t used to follow you home… now they do.” (Friedman, 8)
Girls tend to be victims of cyber bullying than boys do. In a poll done in 2006-2007 17% of girls said they had experience with some one taking a private message and forwarding it to someone, while only 13% of boys had this happen 15% said they had received a threatening or aggressive e-mail, IM or text message and only 10% of boys had this happen 16% of girls said someone had spread a rumor about them online while only 9% of boys had this happen 7% had someone post an embarrassing picture of them online without their permission opposed to the 5% of boys that had it happen (Friedman, 56)
Some teenagers do not understand the problem with cyber bullying. When asked why they think cyber bullies do what they do, 81% percent said that cyber bullies do it because they think its funny. (National Crime Prevention Council) Possible reasons that teens cyber bully others are: Don’t think cyber bullying is a big deal Don’t think about the consequences Are encouraged by their friends Think everyone cyber bullies Think they won’t get caught. (National Crime Prevention Council)
Many victims of cyber bullying are afraid to step forward and tell someone about what is going on leaving them to deal with all the problems on their own. Many cyber bully victims experience: Depression Low self esteem issues Problems at school They may also pull away from friends and family. May stop doing the activities they once enjoyed And in the most severe cases… the victim may commit suicide. (Friedman, 25 & National Crime Prevention Council) One of the possible reasons that cyber bullying is more harmful to its victims is because the torment happens 24/7, happens before a much larger audience and the threats and insults are permanently preserved on the Internet (Friedman, 27) More and more teens are committing suicide because of cyber bullying.
Federal Laws: 2008- Congress passed the Protecting Children in the 21 st Century Act. *Requires public schools to educate their students about cyber bullying, online safety, and sexual predators. State Laws: 19 states have laws that cover some aspect of cyber bullying. Missouri is one of them. Missouri Law: “Harassment by computer, text message, and other electronic device is illegal; it is a felony for an adult (age 21 and older) to cyberbully anyone 17 or younger.” After Megan Meier fell victim to cyber bullying, her home town of Dardenne Prairie, Missouri passed a measure outlawing online harassment. Any one caught in violation of the law receives a misdemeanor which can possibly lead to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail. (Jacobs, 19-20)
What can we do to help prevent cyber bullying? Educate students on cyber bullying. Get them to understand cyber bullying is no joke. Encourage students to tell an adult (parent or teacher) if they fall victim to cyber bullying Educate parents and other community members about the problems of cyber bullying. (National Crime Prevention Council) There are also a bunch of helpful websites with more information about cyber bullying and ways to help prevent it. Some are:
WiredSafety.org advertises itself as the world’s first internet safety and help guide. It provides great information for any age group or any professional group. There are different pages that cater to youth, adults, schools and law enforcement. It’s a great tool for anyone looking to information about cyber bullying or any other problems that might occur online.
Stopcyberbullying.org is another great website that offers a lot of information about cyber bullying and what can be done to prevent it. Once again it gives you the option to go to a portion of the site for certain age groups and professional groups. The fun thing about this web site is that it has a game that kids can download called Alex Wonder Kid cyberdective. This makes learning about cyber bullying fun and interactive for younger students.
Cyberbullying.us has a lot of good downloadable resources to print off as handouts. There are word games such as crosswords and word searches, quizzes about cyber bullying, cyber bullying scenario sheets. There is also a section for cyber bully victims to share their story and see that they are not alone.
The National Crime Prevention Council website is another great website to use when finding information about cyber bullying and tips on how to prevent it. On this website you can even get professional training from the NCPC on cyber bullying and how to manage bullying situations. There also downloadable resources on this page as well such as podcasts, handouts and commercials on cyber bullying.
I found this pledge in of the books I looked at it. The pledge is originally from WiredSafety.org. but it would be a great thing to use with students to wrap up a lesson on cyber bullying and have them sign. Teachers can print it out and then offer to laminate it so that students can keep it in a safe place at home or in the classroom.
This YouTube video reviews some of the information that was mentioned in this presentation. This video would also be a good tool to use with students when talking to them about cyber bullying because it is a very informative video.
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Outing and Trickery Flaming Denigration Cyber StalkingHarassment The Lingo of Cyber bullying Happy Impersonation Slapping Exclusion & Ostracism
The Problem s with Cyber Bullying http://www.manatee.k12.fl.us/sites/mid
No Breaks…. Picture from Microsoft Powerpoint Clip Art
Gender… Pictures from Microsoft Powerpoint Clip Art
W h a t d o t e e n s t h in k o fc y b e r b u lly in g ?Picture from Microsoft Powerpoint Clip Art
Consequences ofCyber Bullying Pictures from Microsoft Powerpoint Clip Art
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Picture from Microsoft Powerpoint Clip ArtPrevention
The Stop Cyber bullying Pledge:By taking this pledge, I agree to:•Take a stand against cyberbullying, including sharing this pledgewith others and asking them to take it too.•Not use technology as a weapon to hurt others•“Think Before I click.”•Think about the person on the other side•Support others being cyberbullied and report cyber bullyingwhenever I find it•Not to join in cyberbullying tactics or be used by cyberbullies to hurtothers•“Stop, Block, and Tell” when I am being targeted by a cyber bullyand to “Take 5” to help me calm down and walk away from thecomputer.•Be part of the solution, not the problem. Wired Safety Online
Works CitedBullying News Videos. “Cyberbullying-Megan Meier’s Story Part 1” YouTube. 5 Feb. 2009. Web. 2 April 2012.“Cyber bully” Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Web. 2 April 2012.Cyberbullying Research Center. Web. 2 April 2012.Friedman, Lauri S., ed. Introducing Issues with Opposing Viewpoints: Cyberbullying. New York: Gale Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.Jacobs, Tom. Teen Cyberbullying Investigated: Where Do Your Rights End and Consequences Begin? Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing, 2010. Print.MySecureCyberspace. “Think Time: How Does Cyberbullying Affect You?” YouTube. 30 Nov 2010. Web. 2 April 2012.National Crime Prevention Council. “Cyberbullying.” National Crime Prevention Council. Web. 2 April 2012Shariff, Shaheen. Confronting Cyber-Bullying: What Schools Need to Know to Control Misconduct and Avoid Legal Consequences. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge UP, 2009. Print.Stop cyberbullying.org. Web. 2 April 2012Wired Safety.org. Web. 2 April 2012.