Friday, August 3, 2012

Cyberbullying 101

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What is it?
Cyberbullying involves the use of social media (information and communication technologies) to support traditional bullying activities such as exclusion, harassment, and the spread of gossip. Part of the reason cyberbullying is so effective is that the viewing audience tends to be much larger online than bullying experienced in person (hundreds compared to a handful).

Some statistics

* The top sites to experience cyberbullying include Facebook, Twitter and Youtube but texting, sexting, and private messaging are also popular.

* According to an article on Mashable, 90% of teens who witness cyberbullying online say they ignore it, few tell their parents.
* 81% of kids say it’s easier to get away with bullying online than in person.

* A 2004 study found that 42% of kids had been bullied online – I would suggest that that statistic has greatly increased with the growing use of social media.

Tips and Tricks

* Keep family computers in an open, commonly used space.
* Keep passwords private and do not allow friends to login under your username. If using someone else’s computer be sure to fully logout of a site before closing the window.

* Do not spread gossip! Remember, not everything you hear or read is true.

* Use Netiquette: Be polite! Using a virtual medium to be hurtful does not make the affects any less painful to the other person.

* Do not send messages in moments of anger or emotional distress – try writing down how you feel in a journal instead and address the issue when you have cooled off.

* Do not open messages from people who you do not know.
* Unplug. Try to spend time away from the computer and cell phone and remember that life is more than just virtual!


What to do if you are being cyberbullied

* Do not respond to bullies via any type of communication. The equivalent of walking away in cyberbullying is simply not replying.

* Tell someone you trust if you are being bullied or if you witness someone else being cyberbullied.

* Keep messages sent to you by bullies. You do not have to open and read all of them but if the bullying escalates and there are police or school authorities involved they may want access to those messages.

How to talk to your children about cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is new to this generation, but bullying has been around forever. It is important that your children know that you can be trusted to confide in if bullying were to occur. Likewise, let kids know that if they are upset with someone to speak with you first rather than send a hurtful message. Bullying works both ways, we do not want our kids being bullied or being a bully.

How to talk to your friends about cyberbullying

The best way to talk to your friends about it is to act: stop the chain of gossip instead of passing it on. Participation is acceptance and is an extension of cyberbullying. Since gossip is passed on through people the initial source may never be discovered, but people who choose to pass on the information will be blamed.

Remember, it is not funny, it is hurtful.

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  1. Thank you for a clear definition of cyber bullying. Your infographic is helpful as well. Raising awareness is a great way to fight cyber bullying because users have to know how to recognize it to ignore it. It is good netiquette to ignore cyber bullies.

  2. Thanks for your comment David! It is very true that recognizing bullying is key to addressing the situation. I'm glad to hear that you found this post helpful!

  3. This is very nice post and thanks for the detailed description about Cyberbullying.That are the ways to control these threats.