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Bullying is no longer limited to the bus or the school hallway; kids also use technology to intimidate and harass.

What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying can range from embarrassing or cruel online posts or digital pictures, to online threats, harassment, and negative comments, to stalking through emails, Web pages, text, and IM (instant messaging). While any age group is vulnerable, teenagers and young adults are common victims, and cyber bullying is a growing problem in schools.

Why has cyberbullying become such a problem?
The Internet is fairly anonymous, which is appealing to bullies because their intimidation is difficult to trace. Unfortunately, the Internet and email can spread around rumors, threats, and pictures very quickly.

Protecting Your Children from CyberbullyingLimit where your children post personal information.
Be careful who can access contact information or details about your children’s interests, habits or employment to reduce their exposure to bullies that they do not know. This may limit their risk of becoming a victim and may make it easier to identify the bully if they are victimized.

Avoid escalating the situation.
Responding with hostility is likely to provoke a bully.  Depending on the circumstances, consider ignoring the issue. Often, bullies thrive on the reaction of their victims. If you or your child receives unwanted email messages, consider changing your email address. The problem may stop. If you continue to get messages at the new account, you may have a strong case for legal action.

Document cyber bullying.
Keep a record of any online activity (emails, Web pages, instant messages, etc.), including relevant dates and times. Keep both an electronic version and a printed copy.

Report cyber bullying to the appropriate authorities.
If you or your child are being harassed or threatened, report the activity to the local authorities. Your local police department is a good starting point. There is a distinction between free speech and punishable offenses. Law enforcement officials and prosecutors can help sort out legal implications. It may also be appropriate to report it to school officials who may have separate policies for dealing with activity that involves students.


The following statistics is from Fooyoh Entertainment:
  • Most of the cyberbullying was done via computer instant messages and discussion groups.
  • Surprisingly, teens who were victimized by cyberbullies were less likely to be living with both biological parents.
  • Overall, 4.8% of the teens said that they were victimized by cyberbullies, 7.4% admitted to being cyberbullies, and 5.4% said they were both cyberbullies and had been cyberbullied.
  • Cyberbullies often harassed peers of the same age. 16% of girls surveyed said they were bullied by boys, whereas just 5% of boys said they were cyberbullied by girls.
  • Victims of cyberbullying reported emotional, concentration, and behavioral issues, as well as trouble getting along with their peers. These teens were also more likely to report frequent headaches, recurrent stomach pain, and difficulty sleeping; one in four said they felt unsafe at school.
  • Cyberbullies also reported emotional difficulties, concentration, and behavior issues and difficulty getting along with others. They were also more likely to be hyperactive, have conduct problems, abuse alcohol, and smoke cigarettes.
  • In addition, cyberbullies also reported frequent headaches and feeling unsafe at school. Those teens who were both cyberbullies and victims reported all of these physical and mental health issues.
Editor's Note: Cross post from Cyber Sentinel

Related Post:
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The Mental and Physical Impact of Cyberbullying



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