Technology Fuels Cyberbullying
Gone are the days when a child’s home is a refuge from playground or neighborhood bullies. The Internet is the new playground, and there are no off-hours. Tech-savvy students are turning to cyberspace to harass their peers using a new method of bullying—cyberbullying.
The popularity of instant messaging, e-mail, web pages, text messaging, and blogging means that kids and teens are targets—all day, every day. Victimization on the Internet through cyberbullying is increasing in frequency and scope. These electronic bullies can remain “virtually” anonymous. Temporary e-mail accounts and pseudonyms in chat rooms, instant messaging programs, and other Internet venues can make it very difficult for kids and teens to determine the identity of aggressors. They now have the ability to hide behind some measure of anonymity when using their personal computer or cellular phone to bully another individual.
- A McAfee study shows an alarming 70% of teens have hidden their online behavior from their parents, up from 45% in 2010.
- Almost 25% of teens claimed to be targets of cyber bullying and 2/3 of all teens have witnessed cruel behavior online
- Only 10% of parents are aware of their teens are targets of cyber bullying
- Facebook has become the new school yard for bullies with 92.6% of teens saying that cruel behavior takes place on Facebook, and 23.8% on Twitter, 17.7% on MySpace and 15.2% via Instant Messenger
- When witnessing others being attacked, 40% of teens have told the person to stop, 21% have told an adult and 6% joined in
- When being attacked themselves, 66% of teens responded to the attacker (with 35% responding in person), 15.4% avoided school, and an alarming 4.5% have been in a physical fight with their attacker
- Gossip: Posting or sending cruel gossip to damage a person’s reputation and relationships with friends, family, and acquaintances
- Exclusion: Deliberately excluding someone from an online group
- Impersonation: Breaking into someone’s e-mail or other online account and sending messages that will cause embarrassment or damage to the person’s reputation and affect his or her relationship with others
- Harassment: Repeatedly posting or sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages
- Cyberstalking: Posting or sending unwanted or intimidating messages, which may include threats
- Flaming: Online fights where scornful and offensive messages are posted on websites, forums, or blogs
- Outing and Trickery: Tricking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information, which is then shared online
- Cyberthreats: Remarks on the Internet threatening or implying violent behavior, displaying suicidal tendencies