Become Aware & Safe - Internet Bullying
Updated: Apr 7
Cyberbullying is the misuse of electronic information and mass media, such as e-mail, SMS, weblogs, cellphones and defamatory websites, to harass or attack a person or a group. Be aware as it can cause emotional damage. Cyber harassment and online bullying are other popular terms for cyberbullying.
Harmful bullying behavior can include posting rumors, threats, sexual remarks, a victims' personal information, hate speech or defamatory false accusations, ganging up on a victim by making the person the subject of ridicule in online forums, hacking into or vandalizing sites about a person, and posting false statements as fact aimed a discrediting or humiliating a targeted person.
Bullying or harassment can be identified by repeated behavior and an intent to harm. Victims may experience lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and a variety of negative emotional responses, including being scared, frustrated, angry, and depressed. Research has demonstrated a number of serious consequences of cyberbullying victimization.
The recent rise of smartphones and mobile apps have yielded a more accessible form of cyberbullying. It is expected that cyberbullying via these platforms will occur more often than through more stationary internet platforms. In addition, the combination of cameras and Internet access and the instant availability of these modern smartphone technologies yield specific types of cyberbullying not found in other platforms. It is likely that those cyberbullied via mobile devices will experience a wider range of types cyberbullying than those who are exclusively bullied elsewhere.
There are many risks attached to social media sites, and cyberbullying is one of the larger risks. According to a 2013 Pew Research study, eight out of ten teens who use social media now share more information about themselves than they have in the past. This includes their location, images, and contact information. In order to protect children, it is important that personal information such as age, birthday, school/church, phone number, etc. be kept confidential.
It has become increasingly common, especially among teenagers. Some schools have started programs to teach students about cyberbullying and how to deal with it. Several US states and other countries have laws specific to cyberbullying. A majority of states have laws that explicitly include electronic forms of communication within stalking or harassment laws. Most law enforcement agencies have cyber-crime units, and Internet stalking is often treated with more seriousness than reports of physical stalking. Help and resources can be searched by state or area.