CYBERBULLYING Computer Science 1631, Winter 2011 Kayla Hodgkins “Cyberbullying can be the equivalent of “social death” for many young people.” WHAT IS CYBERBULLYING? Cyberbullying is when a child or preteen is harassed, threatened, or humiliated by another child or preteen. Cyberbullying takes place through digital technologies or mobile phones. HOW DOES IT WORK? There are two kinds of cyberbullying: Direct attacks Cyberbullying by proxy Direct attacks are messages sent to the person directly. Cyberbullying by proxy is using others to assist cyberbullying the victim. This can be done with or without the accomplice’s knowledge. OTHER INFORMATION According to studies, young people are most likely to encounter cyberbullying through instant message, but with the use of cell phones and digital cameras are adding a new level to the problem. The surfacing trend of sexting also exposes teens and preteens to the dangers of cyberbullying. WHY CYBERBULLYING? There are many reasons that children and teens use cyberbullying but the main ones include: Motivation by anger Revenge or frustration A form of entertainment due to boredom Many technological “toys” available And many do it for laughs or to get a reaction WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF CYBERBULLYING? Victims of cyberbullying often suffer from low selfesteem and self esteem issues. Cyberbullying also effects the victim psychologically, as well as emotionally. Victims of cyberbullying struggle with anger, frustration, and sadness as a result of bullying. Victims of cyberbullying also often experience a number of negative behaviours such as: Poor concentration Low school achievement Absenteeism from school (due to the fear of facing their bully at school) MEGAN MEIER: A VICTIM OF CYBERBULLYING Megan was an American teenager from Missouri who committed suicide three weeks before her fourteenth birthday after being cyberbullied through MySpace. A neighbour and other teens in the area created a fake account and sent inappropriate and humiliating messages to Megan through this alias. The messages were hurtful and Megan committed suicide due to this harassment. DAVID KNIGHT: BURLINGTON, ONTARIO A web site about teenager David Knight of Burlington, Ontario had been active for several months before a classmate told him about it. "I went there and sure enough there's my photo on this web site saying 'Welcome to the web site that makes fun of Dave Knight' and just pages of hateful comments directed at me and everyone in my family." Whoever created the web site asked others to join in, posting lewd, sexual comments and smearing David's reputation. "I was accused of being a pedophile. I was accused of using the date rape drug on little boys," says David. Along with the web site, there were nasty e-mails too. "Here's an e-mail, 'You're gay, don't ever talk again, no one likes you, you're immature and dirty, go wash your face.'" LAUREN NEWBY: DALLAS, TEXAS High school sophomore Lauren Newby was the subject of nasty postings on a web site message board started by a former student at her school. The thread, which was called "Lauren is a fat cow MOO BITCH," made fun of her weight ("people don't like you because you are a suicidal cow who can't stop eating") and her bout with multiple sclerosis ("I guess I'll have to wait until you kill yourself which I hope is not long from now, or I'll have to wait until your disease [M.S.] kills you"), and urged her boyfriend to break up with her. The message board was exceptional not only for the viciousness of the attacks on Lauren (which included an entire page of the words "Die bitch queen!" repeated hundreds of times), but also because the violence online escalated into the offline world. Lauren's car was egged, "MOO BITCH" was scrawled in shaving cream on the sidewalk in front of her house, and a bottle filled with acid was thrown at her front door. SOME STATISTICS Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyberbullying. More than 1 in 3 young people have been threatened online. Over 25% of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly though their cell phones or internet. 1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission. Girls are more likely than boys to be involved in cyberbullying. TIPS FOR CYBERBULLYING Don’t open or read messages by cyberbullies. Don’t erase the messages, they may be need to take action. Protect yourself, never agree to meet with the person. Block the bully if it is through instant messaging If you are threatened with harm, inform the local authorities. 10 Ways to Prevent Cyberbullying 1. Don’t encourage anyone to use the internet to bully someone. 2. If you can’t say something nice online about someone, don’t say it at all. 3. Don’t email or publish any embarrassing photographs, videos or audio recordings. 4. If you know that someone is being bullied online, tell someone. 5. Don’t send emails or other online messages that threaten a person. Continued: 6. Don’t send emails or other online messages that use foul or abusive language. 7. Don’t send or post angry messages online. 8. Follow family rules about online behavior. 9. Follow school rules about online behavior. 10. If you receive a threatening or harassing message, tell someone. CONCLUSION Cyberbullying can come in many forms such as sexting, instant messaging, social networking sites, pictures from digital cameras, and texting. Cyberbullying is when a child or preteen is harassed, threatened, or humiliated by another child or preteen. Cyberbullying can happen to anyone, be aware of the ways cyberbullying happens, and ways to combat them. WORKS CITED “Cyberbullying." Media for Social Change. 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Web. 29 Jan 2011. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/bullying/cyber_bullying.html>. Benfer, Amy. "Cyber Slammed." Salon. Salon, 007, 2001. Web. 29 Jan 2011. <http://dir.salon.com/mwt/feature/2001/07/03/cyber_bullies/index.html?sid=1039555>. "Top 10 ways to prevent cyberbullying." Speedbrake Publishing. Speedbrake Publishing, 27, 007, 2007. Web. 29 Jan 2011. <http://www.speedbrake.com/tips/bullies.htm>.