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Cyber Bullying

School yard bullying has always been a problem. With more children are active in online social web sites naturally bullying has progressed and transferred into cyber bullying. Keep reading for cyber bullying statistics and how to protect against cyber bullying.


One of the growing trends in the online world is cyber bullying. As children, preteens and teenagers become more active online and through social media Web sites and channels, it is no surprise that bullying is emerging. Bullying has been going on in “real world” playgrounds for decades, and now it is moving to the playgrounds of the virtual world. However, even though cyber bullying takes place online in a world that isn’t “real”, the consequences - emotional and physical - can be real. Emotionally, cyber bullying can be scarring, since it involves threats and humiliation. In the physical realm, cyber bullying has in some cases moved into the “real world”, with the harassment continuing offline. There have been reports of beatings, murders and suicides in connection with cyber bullying.

It is important to note that cyber bullying occurs between minors. Harassment by an adult toward a teenager online is a different matter, usually predation. Cyber bullying is not limited to the Internet. It includes the use of any digital technology (including cell phone texting) by a minor or group of minors to embarrass, torment, threaten, harass, or target another minor. This can leave scars, since online “friends” - as well as offline friends - can see the abuse. Children, preteens and teenagers are already sensitive about their identities, and cyber bullying can be as real a blow as bullying that takes place in the physical world.

Cyber bullying stats

Parents should be aware that cyber bullying has increased over time, and that it becomes more prevalent as children move into their teenage years. The i-SAFE survey offers statistics that illustrate how prevalent cyber bullying has become amongst those in the 4th through 8th grades:

  • 58 percent of kids report that someone has been hurtful or mean to them online.
  • 21 percent of kids claim that they have received threatening messages, either by email, through social media accounts or text messaging.
  • 35 percent of kids say that they have received threats online.
  • 42 percent of kids classify mean behavior towards them online as bullying.
  • 53 percent of kids admit that they have said something mean to someone else online.

It is assumed that these numbers also apply to those in 9th through 12th grade, since these students have more access to the Internet. Also disturbing is the fact that 58 percent of those who are faced with cyber bullying do not tell a parent or other trusted adult when these incidents occur online. Kids are seeing these problems, but they don’t know what to do about it.

Protecting against cyber bullying

It is important to do what you can to protect your children against cyber bullying. If the incident is school related, there is some recourse there. Criminal law with regard to cyber bullying is still being worked out. However, if it occurs regularly, it is often possible to address the situation - provided you know who is at the other end. Encourage your children to take the following actions if they are faced with a cyber bully:

  1. Tell someone about it. Find a trusted adult - parents, teachers, etc. - and report the incident. Continue to report it if the problem continues.
  2. Take a screen shot of the cyber bulling. It is possible to print out the current screen, or to take a picture of it for storage. This could be important when it comes time to track down a cyber bully or prove a case.
  3. Save messages from cyber bullies. Do not delete these messages. You want to make sure that they are easy to find and access should you need them as evidence of wrong doing. It is also possible to save text messages from cyber bullies on your cell phone.
  4. Do not open messages from known cyber bullies. If you receive a message from someone you know is a cyber bully, you should not open it. Do not delete it (save for just in case), but you do not have to read the message, either.
  5. Block cyber bullies who attack you during chats and other social media.
  6. Inform the police if you are threatened physically.
  7. Do not agree to see someone you met online in person. If you do, do so in a public place, and bring a trusted adult with you.
  8. Do not give out any personal information - phone number, address or anything else that can identify you. It is possible to use a fake screen name and avatar (picture) to make identification even more difficult.
  9. Be a good online citizen yourself. Do not get caught up in cyber bullying.

Related Article: School Bullying >>

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