Cyber bullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others Bullies used to be restricted to methods such as physical intimidation, postal mail, or the telephone. Now, developments in electronic media offer forums such as email, instant messaging, web pages, and digital photos to add to the arsenal. Computers, cell phones, and PDAs are current tools that are being used to conduct an old practice. Other terms for cyber bullying are electronic bullying, electronic harassment, e-bullying, SMS bullying, mobile bullying and online bullying.
Forms of cyber bullying can range in severity from cruel or embarrassing rumors to threats, harassment, or stalking. It can affect any age group; however, teenagers and young adults are common victims, and cyber bullying is a growing problem in schools. Also among the mostly affected are children who have access to the internet due to their innocence and adventure.
The relative anonymity of the internet is appealing for bullies because it enhances the intimidation and makes tracing the activity more difficult. Some bullies also find it easier to be more vicious because there is no personal contact. Unfortunately, the internet and email can also increase the visibility of the activity. Information or pictures posted online or forwarded in mass emails can reach a larger audience faster than more traditional methods, causing more damage to the victims. And because of the amount of personal information available online, bullies may be able to arbitrarily choose their victims.
Rules of the Prevention of Cyber Bullying
Awareness and education are the keys to the prevention of cyber bullying! Taking a course, or viewing a Webinaralso help. Spending some time on the www.cyberbullying.org Web site learning what you can do about cyber bullying. It is often a very hurtful, difficult and time-consuming challenge to deal with the effects of cyber bullying after it has occurred. It can take a lot of time and effort to get Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Mobile Telecommunications Service Providers (the phone companies who sell you your cell phone and pagers)to respond and deal with your complaints about being cyber bullied.
A combined effort is always needed from the bullied, the adults or the guardians and also the government to ammoleriate this is highly needed. Children should be highly advised on the following issues which they should always avoid or do.
Never give out or share personal information numbers (PIN), etc. Personal information includes your name, the names of friends or family, your address, phone number, school name (or team name if you play sports). Personal info also includes pictures of yourself and your e-mail address. Ask permission before sharing any information with a website, a “chat buddy” and even when registering a product purchased for your computer (like a game). Passwords are secret. Never tell anyone your password except your parents or guardian.
Don’t believe everything you read. Just because someone online tells you that they are 15 doesn’t mean they are telling the truth. Even adults can’t tell when a male pretends to be a female or a 45 year old pretends to be a 17 year old. Use Netiquette Be polite to others online just as you would offline. If someone treats you rudely or meanly – do not respond. Online bullies are just like offline ones – they want you to answer (don’t give them the satisfaction).
Never send a message to others when you are angry Wait until you have had time to calm down and think. Do your best to make sure that your messages are calmly and factually written. You will usually regret sending a “Flame” (angry) to someone else. Once you’ve sent a message, it is very hard to undo the damage that such “flames” can do.
Never open a message from someone you don’t know If in doubt about it, ask your parents, guardian or another adult. If it doesn’t look or “feel right”, it probably isn’t. Trust your instincts. While surfing the Internet, if you find something that you don’t like, makes you feel uncomfortable or scares you, turn off the computer and tell an adult.
Don’t stay online or connected too long. Spend time with your family and friends off line. Try a little less virtual reality and a lot more actual reality!
While surfing and you have an encounter with something you don’t understand or think it’s a form of cyber bullying, create a contact with your parents or guardians. Ask your parents to read the information for them on this Web site.
Schools and school boards should contact Bullying.org Canada and have them present information sessions for students and parents about cyber bullying and refer them to the www.cyberbullying.ca for more information. They should always update their computer and Internet Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) to include harassment done with mobile and wireless Internet information technologies.
There should be clear and serious consequences for anyone who doesn’t follow the AUP that should be signed by both students and parents. The updated AUP should specifically prohibit the use of ICTs for cyber bullying.
If you are the victim of a cyber bully, do not keep this to yourself! You are NOT alone! Tell an adult you know and trust! It is very hard to solve such problems on your own. Inform your Internet, Instant Messaging or mobile phone service provider Such as MSN for instant messaging: p://ca.support.sympatico.msn.com/contactus.aspx?productkey=messenger. Inform your local police.
Don’t reply to messages from cyber bullies!!! Even though you may really want to, this is exactly what cyber bullies want. They want to know that they’ve got you worried and upset. They are trying to mess with your mind and control you, to put fear into you. Don’t give them that pleasure.
Do not erase or delete messages from cyber bullies You don’t have to read it, but keep it, it is your evidence. Unfortunately you may get similar messages again, perhaps from other Accounts. The police and your ISP, and/or your telephone company can use these messages to help you. You might notice certain words or phrases that are also used by people you know.
Always don’t try and solve this on your own. Tell an adult you know and trust. GET HELP!