According to the Raising Children Network the definition of Cyber bullying is…
Cyber bullying (or online bullying) is using modern communication technology to deliberately and repeatedly harass, humiliate, embarrass, torment, threaten, pick on or intimidate someone.
Cyber bullying happens in lots of different ways – by mobile phone, text messages, email, or through social networking sites such as Facebook. Examples of cyber bullying include sending anonymous threatening emails, spreading rumours on the school e-bulletin board to break up friendships, or setting up an unkind or unpleasant fake social networking account using real photos and contact details.
There are many forms of Cyber bullying. They are:
- Sending mean messages or threats to a person’s email account or mobile phones
- Spreading rumours online or through texts
- Posting hurtful or threatening messages on social networking sites or web pages
- Stealing a person’s account information to break into their account and send damaging messages
- Pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person
- Taking unflattering pictures of a person and spreading them through mobile phones or the Internet
- Sexting, or circulating sexually suggestive pictures or messages about a person
I have had personal experiences with cyber bullying. I was bullied by text message when I was in the later years of high school and my younger sister was severally bullied on social networking sites, text messages and phone calls during her early high school years. Although my bullying was no where near as intense as my sisters both had impacts on both our social and schooling life.
At the time of these occurrences there were not as many accessible resources to help parents, teachers or children cope with these kind of incidences. It was such a new thing back then that not even the Police really knew what they were able to do with these kinds of attacks on people.
I believe the way to combat cyber bullying is education. The question we face is when should this education start?
I believe the earlier the better. It is hard to “unlearn” behaviours once they have been learned. All I can really come up with is questions more then answers, but without questioning these things we will not be able to come up with a solution to this. By solution I mean in regards to educating about cyber bullying and its impacts and not a solution in stopping it forever. It will probably still happen but if more people are armed with more tools to help prevent, deal with and be more aware of it it general. If children are given lessons on this from as early as prep, will this prevent serious cases of cyber bullying? Will young children realise the impact their comments, posts or texts can have on people? Is prep too young? Do parents need to be educated about this as well?
I’ve kind of lost track of today’s rant so I’ll leave you for now with some statistics
- A quarter of Australian children report they have been cyber bullied
- Cyber bullying is more prevalent in older children with 31 percent of 14-17 year olds reporting that they have been cyber bullied compared to 21 percent of 10-13 year olds
- More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online
- Over 25 percent of teens have been bullied repeatedly through their mobile phones or the internet
- Fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to the police
- 1 in 10 teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of them without permission
- About 1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others