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Cyber Bullying



Cyber Bullying Definition

What is it?  When someone uses the internet, cell phones or other technology to try and hurt others.

Things you can do if you are cyber bullied

  • Don’t reply to the message
  • Don’t open other messages from someone who is bullying you
  • Save any messages, when possible print them out
  • Tell a parent, teacher or trusted adult about what is happening
  • Always take threats seriously and tell someone

Things you can do if you know someone that is being cyber bullied

  • Support them, give them encouragement and follow the steps above
  • If you are there when it is taking place, change the subject , ask the person to stop or log off the website, etc
  • Ask someone for help (a parent, teacher, or trusted adult)

Don’t give out personal information

  • This includes but is not limited to your name, phone number, address, the name of your school or school team, zip code or any other information that could be used to identify you
  • OR your password-this could be used by someone else to log in as you

Other things to remember

  • BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU TYPE OR SEND TO SOMEONE ONCE IT’S ON THE INTERNET IT CAN’T BE ERASE Text messages can be forwarded
  • E-mails can be forwarded or printed out
  • You never know who might be at someone’s house reading along with them (you might get into a fight with your best friend and she/he could pass things along that you told them in private)

Things you should do

  • Talk nicely to or about people (treat others like you would want to be treated)
  • Avoid using bad language
  • Let people know that there are other people in the room who might be reading the messages
  • ALWAYS TELL YOUR PARENTS WHAT IS GOING ON IF SOMEONE IS CYBER BULLYING YOU!

(Channing Bete Company)

 

**THE FOLLOWING WAS COMPILED FROM THE STOP BULLYING NOW WEBSITE

Suggestions for parents

Tips to help prevent cyber bullying:

  • Keep your home computer(s) in easily viewable places , such as a family room or kitchen.
  • Talk regularly with your child about on-line activities he or she is involved in.
    • Talk specifically about cyber bullying and encourage your child to tell you immediately if he or she is the victim of cyber bullying, cyberstalking, or other illegal or troublesome on-line behavior.  View the Campaign’s webisodes with your child and discuss in particular webisode #5 that addresses cyber bullying.
    • Encourage your child to tell you if he or she is aware of others who may be the victims of such behavior.
    • Explain that cyber bullying is harmful and unacceptable behavior.  Outline your expectations for responsible online behavior and make it clear that there will be consequences for inappropriate behavior.
  • Although adults must respect the privacy of children and youth, concerns for your child’s safety may sometimes override these privacy concerns.  Tell your child that you may review his or her on-line communications if you think there is reason for concern.
  • Consider installing parental control filtering software and/or tracking programs, but don’t rely solely on these tools.
Tips for dealing with cyber bullying that your child has experienced:

Because cyber bullying can range from rude comments to lies, impersonations, and threats, your responses may depend on the nature and severity of the cyber bullying.  Here are some actions that you may want to take after-the-fact.

  • Strongly encourage your child not to respond to the cyber bullying.
  • Do not erase the messages or pictures. Save these as evidence.
  • Try to identify the individual doing the cyber bullying. Even if the cyberbully is anonymous (e.g., is using a fake name or someone else’s identity) there may be a way to track them through your Internet Service Provider. If the cyber bullying is criminal (or if you suspect that it may be), contact the police and ask them to do the tracking.
  • Sending inappropriate language may violate the “Terms and Conditions” of e-mail services, Internet Service Providers, web sites, and cell phone companies. Consider contacting these providers and filing a complaint.
  • If the cyber bullying is coming through e-mail or a cell phone, it may be possible to block future contact from the cyberbully. Of course, the cyberbully may assume a different identity and continue the bullying.
  • Contact your school. If the cyber bullying is occurring through your school district’s Internet system, school administrators have an obligation to intervene. Even if the cyber bullying is occurring off campus, make your school administrators aware of the problem. They may be able to help you resolve the cyber bullying or be watchful for face-to-face bullying.
  • Consider contacting the cyberbully’s parents. These parents may be very concerned to learn that their child has been cyber bullying others, and they may effectively put a stop to the bullying.  On the other hand, these parents may react very badly to your contacting them. So, proceed cautiously. If you decide to contact a cyberbully’s parents, communicate with them in writing — not face-to-face. Present proof of the cyber bullying (e.g., copies of an e-mail message) and ask them to make sure the cyber bullying stops.
  • Consider contacting an attorney in cases of serious cyber bullying. In some circumstances, civil law permits victims to sue a bully or his or her parents in order to recover damages.
  • Contact the police if cyber bullying involves acts such as:
    • Threats of violence
    • Extortion
    • Obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages
    • Harassment, stalking, or hate crimes
    • Child pornography

If you are uncertain if cyber bullying violates your jurisdiction’s criminal laws, contact your local police, who will advise you.


Suggestions for educators

  • Educate your students, teachers, and other staff members about cyber bullying, its dangers, and what to do if someone is cyberbullied.
  • Be sure that your school’s anti-bullying rules and policies address cyber bullying.
  • Closely monitor students’ use of computers at school.
  • Use filtering and tracking software on all computers, but don’t rely solely on this software to screen out cyber bullying and other problematic on-line behavior.
  • Investigate reports of cyber bullying immediately. If cyber bullying occurs through the school district’s Internet system, you are obligated to take action. If the cyber bullying occurs off-campus, consider what actions you might take to help address the bullying:
    • Notify parents of victims and parents of cyberbullies of known or suspected cyber bullying.
    • Notify the police if the known or suspected cyber bullying involves a threat.
    • Closely monitor the behavior of the affected students at school for possible bullying.
    • Talk with all students about the harms caused by cyber bullying. Remember — cyber bullying that occurs off-campus can travel like wildfire among your students and can affect how they behave and relate to each other at school.
    • Investigate to see if the victim(s) of cyber bullying could use some support from a school counselor or school-based mental health professional.
  • Contact the police immediately if known or suspected cyber bullying involves acts such as:
    • Threats of violence
    • Extortion
    • Obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages
    • Harassment, stalking, or hate crimes
    • Child pornography

References:

Kowalski, R. et al (August, 2005). Electronic Bullying Among School-Aged Children and Youth. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC.

Opinion Research Corporation (2006). Cyber bully pre-teen. Available at: www.fightcrime.org/cyberbullying/cyberbullyingpreteen.pdf

Opinion Research Corporation (2006). Cyber bully teen. Available at: www.fightcrime.org/cyberbullying/cyberbullyingteen.pdf

Wolak, J., Mitchell, K., & Finkelhor, D. (2006). Online victimization of youth: Five years later. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. 

Ybarra, M. L., & Mitchell, K. J. (2004). Youth engaging in online harassment: Associations with caregiver-child relationships, Internet use, and personal characteristics. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 319-336.