Information on Cyberbullying
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is a new form of harassment, emotional abuse, intimidation and threats that emerged with the invention of the Internet. It is the use of instant messaging, e-mail, chat rooms, cell phones, websites or pagers to defame the character of someone or to intimidate, threaten or harass. Cyberbullying is often a tool used by students who hide behind technology by using a username to make the life of a fellow student miserable. The hidden identity of the bully makes it very difficult to trace the person who is the bully, which can lead to a higher degree of aggression than those who bully on schoolyards or in local parks. A cyberbully is anyone who attempts to gain power over others by use of the Internet.
Acts of Cyberbullying
Threats, gay bashing, ethnic and racial slurs, provocative comments or photographs, e-mail flooding or infecting someone's computer with a virus are all acts of cyberbullying. These acts, whether committed by someone known to the victim or a stranger, constitute cyberbullying.
Who is a Cyberbully?
A cyberbully is someone who attempts to gain power or control over someone else by using the technology of the Internet. Cyberbullies are often, but not always, victims of bullying in real life. When a cyberbully logs onto the Internet, they often feel that they don't have to account for their actions. Some cyberbullies allow their alter-ego to take over and therefore feel as if they have a secret identity while online.
Is your Child a Cyberbully?
There are ways for a parent to discover if their child is a cyberbully. However, to do so, parents must be aware of their child's online activity. The following tips will help you determine whether the student in your home is a cyberbully.
Handling a Cyberbully
If your student is a victim of cyberbullying, there are a number of ways to handle the situation in a positive manner.
Is Cyberbullying Serious?
As a parent, you should look at incidents of cyberbullying with the same seriousness as you would an incident of schoolyard bullying. Children can become extremely depressed and even suicidal when they are maliciously attacked online.
Cyberbullying should always be reported to the bully's Internet Service Provider, or if attacks occur on a website, report the URL to the domain's host. If the identity of the cyberbully is known, report the incidents to your child's school as well as to the police. By acting immediately, parents can stop the cyberbullying, which may literally save the victim's life.
Instruct your child in the following online protocol: