IF YOU ARE BEING CYBERBULLYIED, REMEMBER:
It's also very important that you don't seek revenge on a cyberbully by becoming a cyberbully yourself. Again, it will only make the problem worse and could result in serious legal consequences for you. If you wouldn't say it in person, don't say it online.
If you are targeted by cyberbullies, it's important not to respond to any messages or posts written about you, no matter how hurtful or untrue. Responding will only make the situation worse and provoking a reaction from you is exactly what the cyberbullies want, so don't give them the satisfaction.
Because their motives differ, the solutions and responses to each type of cyberbullying incident has to differ too. Unfortunately, there is no "one size fits all" when cyberbullying is concerned. Only two of the types of cyberbullies have something in common with the traditional schoolyard bully. Experts who understand schoolyard bullying often misunderstand cyberbullying, thinking it is just another method of bullying. But the motives and the nature of cybercommunications, as well as the demographic and profile of a cyberbully differ from their offline counterpart.
Educating the kids about the consequences (losing their ISP or IM accounts) helps. Teaching them to respect others and to take a stand against bullying of all kinds helps too.
Sometimes it is much more serious than that. When cyberbullies want to get others to do their dirty work quickly, they often post information about, or pose as, their victim in hate group chat rooms and on their discussion boards. Cyberbullies have even posted this information in child molester chat rooms and discussion boards, advertising their victim for sex. They then sit back and wait for the members of that hate group or child molester group to attack or contact the victim online and, sometimes, offline.
The most typical way a cyberbullying by proxy attack occurs is when the cyberbully gets control of the victim's account and sends out hateful or rude messages to everyone on their buddy list pretending to be the victim. They may also change the victim's password so they can't get into their own account. The victim's friends get angry with the victim, thinking they had sent the messages without knowing they have been used by the cyberbully. But it's not always this minor. Sometimes the cyberbully tries to get more people involved.
Cyberbullying by proxy sometimes starts with the cyberbully posing as the victim. They may have hacked into their account or stolen their password. They may have set up a new account pretending to be the victim. But however they do it, they are pretending to be the victim and trying to create problems for the victim with the help of others.
Cyberbullying by proxy is when a cyberbully gets someone else to do their dirty work. Most of the time they are unwitting accomplices and don't know that they are being used by the cyberbully. Cyberbullying by proxy is the most dangerous kind of cyberbullying because it often gets adults involved in the harassment and people who don't know they are dealing with a kid or someone they know.
Posing as the victim, the cyberbully can do considerable damage . They may post a provocative message in a hate group's chat room posing as the victim, inviting an attack against the victim, often giving the name, address and telephone number of the victim to make the hate group's job easier. They often also send a message to someone posing as the victim, saying hateful or threatening things while masquerading as the victim. They may also alter a message really from the victim, making it appear that they have said nasty things or shared secrets with others.
Often cyberbullies will sign their victims up for e-mailing and IM marketing lists, lots of them, especially to porn sites. When the victim receives thousands of e-mails from pornographers their parents usually get involved, either blaming them (assuming they have been visiting porn sites) or making them change their e-mail or IM address.
8. Sending Malicious Code
Many kids will send viruses, spyware and hacking programs to their victims. They do this to either destroy their computers or spy on their victim. Trojan Horse programs allow the cyberbully to control their victim's computer remote control, and can be used to erase the hard drive of the victim.
7. Interactive Gaming
Many kids today are playing interactive games on gaming devices such as X-Box Live and Sony Play Station 2 Network. These gaming devices allow your child to communicate by chat and live Internet phone with anyone they find themselves matched with in a game online. Sometimes the kids verbally abuse the other kids, using threats and lewd language. Sometimes they take it further, by locking them out of games, passing false rumors about them or hacking into their accounts.
Who's Hot? Who's Not? Who is the biggest slut in the sixth grade? These types of questions run rampant on the Internet polls, all created by yours truly - kids and teens. Such questions are often very offensive to others and are yet another way that kids can "bully" other kids online.
a) There have been cases of teens sending mass e-mails to other users, that include nude or degrading pictures of other teens. Once an e-mail like this is sent, it is passed around to hundreds of other people within hours; there is no way of controlling where it goes.
b) Many of the newer cell phones allow kids to send pictures to each other. The kids receive the pictures directly on their phones, and may send it to everyone in their address books. After viewing the picture at a Web site, some kids have actually posted these often pornographic pictures on programs for anyone to download.
c) Kids often take a picture of someone in a locker room, bathroom or dressing room and post it online or send it to others on cell phones.
4. Web sites
a) Children used to tease each other in the playground; now they do it on Web sites. Kids sometimes create Web sites that may insult or endanger another child. They create pages specifically designed to insult another kid or group of people.
b) Kids also post other kids' personal information and pictures, which put those people at a greater risk of being contacted or found.
Blogs are online journals. They are a fun way for kids and teens to send messages for all of their friends to see. However, kids sometimes use these blogs to damage other kids' reputations or invade their privacy. For example, in one case, a boy posted a bunch of blogs about his breakup with his ex-girlfriend, explaining how she destroyed his life, calling her degrading names. Their mutual friends read about this and criticized her. She was embarrassed and hurt, all because another kid posted mean, private, and false information about her. Sometimes kids set up a blog or profile page pretending to be their victim and saying things designed to humiliate them.
a) A kid may steal another child's password and begin to chat with other people, pretending to be the other kid. He/she may say mean things that offend and anger this person's friends or even strangers. Meanwhile, they won't know it is not really that person they are talking to.
b) A kid may also use another kid's password to change his/her profile to include sexual, racist, and inappropriate things that may attract unwanted attention or offend people.
a) Kids may send hateful or threatening messages to other kids, without realizing that while not said in real life, unkind or threatening messages are hurtful and very serious.
b) Warning wars - Many Internet Service Providers offer a way of "telling on" a user who is saying inappropriate things. Kids often engage in "warning wars" which can lead to kicking someone offline for a period of time. While this should be a security tool, kids sometimes use the Warn button as a game or prank.
c) A kid/teen may create a screen name that is very similar to another kid's name. The name may have an additional "i" or one less "e". They may use this name to say inappropriate things to other users while posing as the other person.
d) Text wars or text attacks are when kids gang up on the victim, sending thousands of text-messages to the victim's cell phone or other mobile device. The victim is then faced with a huge cell phone bill and angry parents.
e) Kids send death threats using IM and text-messaging as well as photos/videos. (see below)
1. Instant Messaging/Text Messaging Harassment
2. Stealing Passwords
4. Web Sites
5. Sending Pictures through E-mail and Cell Phones
6. Internet Polling
7. Interactive Gaming
8. Sending Malicious Code
9. Sending Porn and Other Junk E-Mail and IMs
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.
CHILDREN HAVE KILLED EACH OTHER AND COMMITTED SUICIDE AFTER HAVING BEEN INVOLVED IN A CYBERBULLYING INCIDENT.
Cyberbullying can happen anywhere at any time, even in places where you normally feel safe, such as your home, and at times you'd least expect, such as at the weekend in the company of your family. It can seem like there's no escape from the taunting and humiliation.
A lot of cyberbullying can be done anonymously, so you may not be sure who is targeting you. This can make you feel even more threatened and can embolden bullies, as they believe online anonymity means they're less likely to get caught. Since cyberbullies can't see your reaction, they will often go much further in their harassment or ridicule than they would do face-to-face with you.
Cyberbullying can be witnessed by potentially thousands of people. Emails can be forwarded to hundreds of people while social media posts or website comments can often be seen by anyone. The more far-reaching the bullying, the more humiliating it can become.
Any type of bullying can make you feel hurt, angry, helpless, isolated, even suicidal, or lead to problems such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. In many cases, cyberbullying can be even more painful than face-to-face bullying because:
As with traditional bullying, both boys and girls cyberbully, but tend to do so in different ways. Boys tend to bully by "sexting" (sending messages of a sexual nature) or with messages that threaten physical harm. Girls, on the other hand, more commonly cyberbully by spreading lies and rumors, exposing your secrets, or by excluding you from emails, buddy lists, or other electronic communication. Because cyberbullying is so easy to do, a child or teen can easily change roles, going from cyberbullying victim at one point to cyberbully the next, and then back again.
Cyberbullies come in all shapes and sizes—almost anyone with an Internet connection or mobile phone can cyberbully someone else, often without having to reveal their true identity. Cyberbullies can torment their victims 24 hours a day and the bullying can follow the victim anywhere so that no place, not even home, ever feels safe, and with a few clicks the humiliation can be witnessed by hundreds or even thousands of people online.
"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 cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is NEVER called cyberbullying.
If your child has responded to being cyberbullied by employing their own cyberbullying tactics, you can help your child find better ways to deal with the problem. If your child has trouble managing strong emotions such as anger, hurt, or frustration, talk to a therapist about helping your child learn to cope with these feelings in a healthy way.
Some cyberbullies can learn aggressive behavior from their experiences at home, so it’s important to set a good example with your own Internet and messaging habits. As a parent, you may be setting a bad example for your kids by spanking or otherwise striking them, verbally or physically abusing your spouse, or by displaying bullying behavior such as:
BULLYING IS OFTEN A LEARNED BEHAVIOR
Information from the National Crime Prevention Council on bullying for parents, teachers and students. Includes several resources. Excellent
Information from the National Crime Prevention Council on cyberbullying for parents, teachers and students. Includes several resources. Excellent
Information from the National Crime Prevention Council on school safety for parents, teachers and students. Includes several resources. Excellent
STOP BULLYING NOW
Good information on bullying including What Bullying Is, What You Can Do, Cool Stuff, and What Adults Can Do. The Cool Stuff section has animated webisodes on bullying along with 8 games. Appropriate for elementary/middle school students. Excellent
INSTEAD, RESPOND TO CYBERBULLYING BY:
It can be difficult for any parent to learn that their child is bullying others but it's important to take steps to end the negative behavior before it has serious and long-term consequences for your child.
Sending or forwarding abusive Emails or text messages that target coworkers or acquaintances.
Communicating with people online in ways that you wouldn’t do face-to-face.
Abusing your child’s sports coach, umpires and referees, or members of the opposing team.
Swearing at other drivers on the road.
Humiliating a waitress, shop assistant, or cab driver who makes a mistake.
Talking negatively or writing abuse messages about other students, parents, or teachers so that your child thinks it’s acceptable to use verbal abuse or cyberbullying to intimidate others.
TIPS FOR PARENTS DEALING WITH A CYBERBULLYING CHILD