What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying or online bullying is a term used to refer to bullying over electronic media, usually through instant messaging and email. Other terms for cyberbullying are electronic bullying, electronic harassment, e-bullying, SMS bullying, mobile bullying, online bullying, digital bullying, or Internet bullying. Cyberbullying is willful and involves recurring or repeated harm inflicted through the medium of electronic text. According to R.B. Standler bullying intends to cause emotional distress and has no legitimate purpose to the choice of communications. Cyberbullying can be as simple as continuing to send e-mail to someone who has said they want no further contact with the sender. Cyberbullying may also include threats, sexual remarks, pejorative labels (i.e., hate speech). Cyber-bullies may publish personal contact information for their victims at websites. They may attempt to assume the identity of a victim for the purpose of publishing material in their name that defames or ridicules them.
Types of Cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying can occur in following forms. One or more can be potential.
- Instant Messages (IMs)
- Chat rooms
- Bash boards
- Small text Messages (SMSs)
- Voting Booths
The Youth Internet Safety Survey-2, conducted by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire in 2005, found that 9% of the young people in the survey had experienced some form of harassment. The survey was a nationally representative telephone survey of 1500 youth 10-17 years old. One third reported feeling distressed by the incident. Distress is more likely for younger youth and those who are the victims of aggressive harassment (including being telephoned, sent gifts, or visited at home by the harasser). Compared to youth not harassed online, victims are more likely to have social problems. On the other hand, youth who harass others are more likely to have problems with rule breaking and aggression. Significant overlap is seen -- youth who are harassed are significantly more likely to also harass others.
Hinduja and Patchin completed a study in the summer of 2005 of approximately 1500 Internet-using adolescents and found that over one-third of youth reported being victimized online and over 16% of respondents admitted to cyber-bullying others. While most of the instances of cyber bullying involved relatively minor behavior (41% were disrespected, 19% were called names), over 12% were physically threatened and about 5% were scared for their safety. Notably, less than 15% of victims told an adult about the incident. Additional research by Hinduja and Patchin found that online bullying victimization is related to offline problem behaviors.
A survey by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire in 2000 found that 6% of the young people in the survey had experienced some form of harassment including threats and negative rumours and 2% had suffered distressing harassment.
A study by Campbell of Year 8 students in Queensland, Australia found 14% had been a victim of cyber-bullying, 11% admitted to bullying, while 25% knew someone who had bullied. Anecdotal evidence suggests that girls are more involved than boys as they are more likely to communicate regularly.
Following measures should be taken to prevent cyber-bullying.
- Never give out personal information, password, PINs etc
- Don't believe everything you see or read.
- Use netiquette
- Don't send a message to someone else when you are angry.
- Don't open a message from someone you don't know.
- If it doesn't look or feel right, it probably isn't
- You don't have to be "Always On" turn off, disconnect, unplug, try actual reality instead of virtual reality!
If you are a victim, what should you do.
If you have been a victim of cyberbullying, you should follow these steps.
- Don't reply the message from cyberbullies
- Do not keep this to yourself! You are NOT alone and you did NOT do anything to deserve this! Tell an adult you know and trust!
- Inform your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or cell phone/pager service provider
- Inform your local police
- Do not erase or delete messages from cyberbullies
- Protect Yourself. Never arrange to meet with someone you met online unless your parents go with you. If you are meeting them make sure it is in a public place.
These steps would help you protect yourself from cyberbullying.