Cyber Bullying: A form of bullying that takes place through digital technology and outlets, usually targeted at children, preteens, and teenagers.

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What is Cyber Bullying?

Cyberbullying is when a person, usually a child, preteen, or teen, is somehow being hurt with the use of the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or cellular devices. This includes being tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed, of targeted by another person.

It isn't when adult are trying to lure children into offline meetings, that is called sexual exploitation or luring by a sexual predator. But sometimes when a minor starts a cyberbullying campaign it involves sexual predators who are intrigued by the sexual harassment or even ads posted by the cyberbullying offering up the victim for sex.

The methods used are limited only by the child's imagination and access to technology. And the cyberbully one moment may become the victim the next. The kids often change roles, going from victim to bully and back again.

Cyberbullying is usually not a one time communication, unless it involves a death threat or a credible threat of serious bodily harm. Kids usually know it when they see it, while parents may be more worried about the rude language used by the kids than the hurtful effect of rude and embarrassing posts. Sometimes cyberbullying can go to just hurting feelings or even suicide; children have killed each other and committed suicide after having been involved in a cyberbullying incident.

Preventing cyberbullying is very important before it reaches a bad extent that it becomes hard to get the child out of such a position. Parents and adults play a large part in this.

Way's to Prevent Cyber Bullying

Cyberbullying may rise to the level of a misdemeanor cyber harassment charge, or if the child is young enough may result in the charge of juvenile delinquency. Most of the time the cyberbullying does not go that far, although parents often try and pursue criminal charges. It typically can result in a child losing their ISP or IM accounts as a terms of service violation. And in some cases, if hacking or password and identity theft is involved, can be a serious criminal matter under state and federal law. However, majority of the time the charges fall through and the children go relatively unpunished for their actions. Because of this, Cyber Bullying can be very hard to stop. One of the best things to do is to find out what is wrong as soon as possible. Ways to tell if your child is being bullied are if they have become withdrawn, depressed, antisocial, or seem to be suffering from a serious case of self loathing.

When schools try and get involved by disciplining the student for cyberbullying actions that took place off-campus and outside of school hours, they are often sued for exceeding their authority and violating the student's free speech right. They also, often lose. Schools can be very effective brokers in working with the parents to stop and remedy cyberbullying situations. They can also educate the students on cyberethics and the law. If schools are creative, they can sometimes avoid the claim that their actions exceeded their legal authority for off-campus cyberbullying actions. We recommend that a provision is added to the school's acceptable use policy reserving the right to discipline the student for actions taken off-campus if they are intended to have an effect on a student or they adversely affect the safety and well-being of student while in school. This makes it a contractual, not a constitutional, issue.

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.

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Netiquette

Netiquette is short for Internet Etiquette, and is a set of social conventions that facilitate interaction over networks, social media websites, and other such websites in order to make the Internet a pleasant place for everyone.

Netiquette consists of some very important core rules, majority of which entail something along the lines of researching before asking, helping the newbies, and avoiding spam. However, there are a few rules that have been developed in order to help stop cyber bullies.

Proper Netiquette entails that you be concious of the feelings of others. This means not sending spam, not "flaming" others (sending provocative and hurtful messages), and not "trolling" others, which means continuously insulting or putting someone down for the sake of it being funny or amusing. Often times cyber bullies take part in this behavior and it results in a childs feelings being hurt or their self esteem damaged. When netiquette goes unchecked for too long, sometimes other people online will abandon their own netiquette and retaliate, and this can result in the original instigator being bullied. So that this doesn't happen, and so your child doesn't become a bully themselves, be sure to teach them about basic internet etiquette.

Protecting Personal Information

Online security and privacy concerns with social media sites such as Facebook have led users to question which websites they trust with their personal information. The privacy policies of financial institutions, insurance companies and healthcare providers are commonly provided to website users, however; consumers are not as likely to ask for the privacy policy of the sites they visit on a regular basis. Even if a site has a privacy policy, many consumers find it difficult to navigate the terms and are not sure what to look for when reviewing a sites privacy policy and practices. Because of this you should be careful about what you send out into the online world, because it's very likely that whatever information you give away will end up in the hands of someone else.

This not only goes to personal information such as your last name, address, and phone number, but also applies to passwords, pin numbers, and other personal security information. One thing you hear about on social networking websites is people getting a hold of someone's password and "hacking" into their account, posting stuff on their page that isn't true. A lot of times it is harmless, but there are instances where people post malicious and harmful things on a person webpage. Because of this it is very important that you explain to your child what kind of information they should avoid giving away for the sake of their own safety and reputation.

Another common thing you hear about in todays technological world is "sexting." This is where a child, preteen, or teenager sends nude photos of explicit images, emails, and text messages to another child, preteen, or teenager. Though this behavior seems alright at the time, often times once the couple breaks up or has a falling out those pictures and messages will get around to other people, be posted on public websites, or be used to black mail said child. This is a legal offense and the child who does so can sometimes be charged with spreading child pornography, depending on the ages of the offender and victim. Be sure to teach your child about the dangers of sexting and the consequences that can follow.

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Avoiding Online Predators

Using Internet communication tools such as social networking, chat rooms, email, and instant messaging can put children at potential risk of encountering online predators. The anonymity of the Internet means that trust and intimacy can develop quickly online. Predators take advantage of this anonymity to build online relationships with inexperienced young people. Kids feel they are aware of the dangers of predators, but in reality, they are quite naive about online relationships. Parents can help protect their kids by knowing the risks related to online communication and being involved in their kids' Internet activities. Educate your child about proper netiquette and information safety to ensure that they do not fall into one of these risky traps.

Appropriate Online Behavior

Appropriate online hehavior consists of three things:

Posting Appropriate Content

It is very important that the use of the Internet is done appropriately; therefore, you must know what to put on your computer and what to search on the Internet. Some websites and content may not be suitable for your child. This might include violent or pornographic images, gambling websites, chat rooms here there is no adult supervision, or video-sharing websites and forums that encourage anti-social or reckless behavior, such as substance abuse or vandalism. The content in question might not be illegal but it could be upsetting, disturbing or just generally unsuitable for your son or daughter to see. Because of this, you should not only watch and refulate what you yourself post online but also teach your children about what is and is not appropriate for them to look at, search, and post. Getting software that blocks inapprorpiate content from your computer can really help with this.

Emailing

When emailing someone, you should use the same guidelines you would use on online forums and public websites. Sending and recieving email with inappropriate content or harmful messages can be discomforting. Also, be sure to online send and open emails from people you know. Emails that seem suspicious, or from people you know, could possibly download a virus onto your computer. Keep an eye on emails you and your child recieve and be sure to explain to your child what kind of things should not be opened and who they shouldn't email.

Ethical Issues Online

There are four major ethical issues that people deal with online. They consist of:

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Hacking: Hacking is the act of breaking into another persons computer, website, or website account. Hackers find weaknesses in a system and use them to their benefits of getting into the system that holds personal information. Motivation that can get the hacker to want to hack the system can include: profit, protest, or challenge. Hacking can be illegal and can result in someone's personal information being given away, their reputation being damaged, or a loss of profit. Be sure to download firewalls and other computer security software to deter this possibility, and teach your child about the illegality of hacking.

Piracy: Piracy is the act of illegally downloading copyrighted materials such as books, movies, music, and tv shows without paying. This action is illegal and considerd a federal offense. People can, and have, gone to jail for this or been forced to pay a large fine in order to make up for all of the material they have pirated. Be sure to teach your child the dangers and consequences of pirating material.

Malicious Behavior: This include harmful and/or hateful behavior online. This frequently happens over social networking sites such as:

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Unlawful Activities: This includes activity that is blatantly against the law such as:

It should also be noted that malicious speech will not be protected under the law as "freedom of speech" and if bad enough someone can be sued for it.