Cyberbullying has become a serious and dangerous trend. No longer just on the playground (although I’m not sure why we tolerated it there), but now it takes place in your bedroom, your living room, and your kid’s schoolroom–courtesy of the Internet.
The statistics are staggering – over half of teens report being bullied while online, and 1 in 4 children have been bullied more than one time. And sadly, most kids will never talk about it or admit that it’s happening. So what is cyber bullying and what can parents do to protect their children from becoming either the victims of cyberbullying or the predator?
Cyberbullying occurs when a child or teenager is tormented or harassed by another child or teen using the Internet or mobile telephone or wireless device. To rise to the level of cyberbullying, both parties must be minors. If the harasser is an adult, the behavior is considered cyber harassment, a more serious offense with more stringent consequences.
There are 5 different types of cyberbullying, and while they may differ in small ways, the ultimate goal of the cyberbully is to intimidate and torment a child online or by use of a mobile or wireless device.
- Flaming – intense arguments played out via social networks and text messaging.
- Harassment – terrorizing or tormenting behavior aimed at a particular person over the internet.
- Anonymity – threats and other tormenting behavior and/or communications are done by one who hides their identity.
- Masquerading – threats and other tormenting behavior and/or communications done by one who pretends to be someone else.
- Outing – the disclosure of personal facts and other information via the Internet.
Learn how to identify a cyberbully, what to do when you find them, and how to protect your kids, as well as how to spot if your kid is a cyberbully. This fact-sheet is a good place to start.
Here are more great resources:
- www.ncpc.org provides information about stopping cyberbullying before it starts.
- Stop Cyberbullying Before It Starts (PDF) provides useful information for parents.
- Cyberbullying.us provides cyberbullying research, stories, cases, downloads, fact sheets, tips and strategies, news headlines, a blog, and a number of other helpful resources on their comprehensive public service website.
- www.wiredsafety.com provides information about what to do if you are cyberbullied.
- www.stopbullyingnow.com has information about what you can do to stop bullying.