In the past I have written about issues that can occur with social networking; today we are going to review one of the dangers: cyber-bullying.
Young people are using the Internet more than ever. Most have Internet access from home, and many have it on their phones. For many children, the Internet isn’t simply a convenient way to research or have fun after school. It’s also a big part of their social life. Emailing and chatting with friends are children’s most common online activities. But as in many other social situations, some kids bully others online.
Cyber-bullying is similar to other types of bullying, except it takes place online or through text messages sent to cell phones. Cyber-bullies can be classmates, online acquaintances, and even anonymous users, but most often they do know their victims.
Some examples of ways kids bully online include:
Both boys and girls sometimes bully online, and just as in face-to-face bullying, they tend to do so in different ways. Boys more commonly bully by sending messages of a sexual nature or by threatening to fight or hurt someone. Girls more often bully by spreading rumors and by sending messages that make fun of someone or exclude others. They also tell secrets.
Effects of cyber-bullying
Victims of cyber-bullying may experience many of the same effects as children who are bullied in person, such as a drop in grades, low self-esteem, a change in interests, or depression. However cyber-bullying can seem more extreme to its victims because of several factors:
Cyber-bullying can be a complicated issue, especially for adults who are not as familiar with the Internet, instant messaging or chat rooms as kids. But like more conventional forms of bullying, it can be prevented when kids know how to protect themselves and parents are available to help.