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What is CyberBullying?

anti cyber bullying

"Cyberbullying" is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed 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 cyberstalking and is also seen as sexual harassment.

The cyberbullying 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.

Cyberbullying is usually not a one time communication, unless it involves a death threat or a credible threat of serious bodily harm. Kids usually know it when they see it, while parents may be more worried about the lewd language used by the kids than the hurtful effect of rude and embarrassing posts.

Cyberbullying may arise to the level of a misdemeanor cyberharassment charge, or if the child is young enough may result in the charge of juvenile delinquency. Most of the time the cyberbullying does not go that far, although parents often try and pursue criminal charges. It typically can result in a child losing their ISP or IM accounts as a terms of service violation. And in some cases, if hacking or password and identity theft is involved, can lead to serious charges.

How it works

There are two kinds of cyberbullying, direct attacks (messages sent to your kids directly) and cyberbullying by proxy (using others to help cyberbully the victim, either with or without the accomplice's knowledge). Because cyberbullying by proxy often gets adults involved in the harassment, it is much more dangerous.

How to prevent it

Education can help considerably in preventing and dealing with the consequences of cyberbullying. The first place to begin an education campaign is with the kids and teens themselves. We need to address ways they can become inadvertent cyberbullies, how to be accountable for their actions and not to stand by and allow bullying (in any form) to be acceptable. We need to teach them not to ignore the pain of others.

Teaching kids to Take 5! before responding to something they encounter online is a good place to start. Stepping away from the computer and no one will get hurt. You can encourage them to find ways to help them calm down. This may include doing yoga, or deep-breathing. It may include running, playing sports. It may involve taking a bath, hugging a stuffed animal or talking on the phone with friends. Each child can find their own way of calming down. And if they do, they will often not become a cyberbully, even an inadvertent cyberbully. Teaching them the consequences of their actions, and that the real "Men in Black" may show up at their front door sometimes helps. Since many cyberbullying campaigns include some form of hacking or password or identity theft, serious laws are implicated. Police, might get involved in these cases.

But we need to recognize that few cyberbullying campaigns can succeed without the complacency and the often help of other kids. If we can help kids understand how much bullying hurts, how in many cases (unlike the children's chant) words can hurt you, fewer may cooperate with the cyberbullies. They will think twice before forwarding a hurtful e-mail, or visiting a cyberbullying "vote for the fat gir/boyl" site, or allowing others to take videos or cell phone pictures of personal moments or compromising poses of others. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that in the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. We need to teach our children not to stand silently by while others are being tormented. While it is crucial that we teach them not to take matters into their own hands (and perhaps become a "Vigilante" cyberbully themselves) they need to talk to thier teacher or parent. And if we expect them to trust us, we need to be worthy of that trust.

School administration, community groups and even school policing staff can receive anonymous tips and take action quickly when necessary to shut down the site, profile or stop the cyberbullying itself.

We need to teach our children that silence, when others are being hurt, is not acceptable. If they don't allow the cyberbullies to use them to embarrass or torment others, cyberbullying will quickly stop. It's a tall task, but a noble goal. And in the end, our children will be safer online and offline. We will have helped create a generation of good cybercitizens, controlling the technology instead of being controlled by it.

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Email : info@simply-click.org

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posted : Feb 2010

 

Anti Cyber Bullying

Anti Cyber Bullying

Cyber bulling is on a continual increase, allowing the bully to strike anonymously. We at Simplyclick continue to strive in protecting our children against these attacks, producing a safe and secure environment for students to work within.