- Family and Parenting
Cyber Bullying | Forms, Consequences, and Prevention of Cyber Bullying
Cyber bullying is a term that has been acquired recently by some acts of minors on the Internet that had lead to very dramatic consequences as sever as teenager suicide. The term never existed before the Internet became accessible to all ages.
Unfortunately, there is law against cyber bullying, and no charges have been made against the bullies who caused the suicide of 3 reported victims. That makes it the responsibility of the parents and school teachers to make sure this never happens.
In this lens you'll learn about forms of cyber bullying, its consequences, and how to stop it or prevent it.
[Image source: staff.harrisonburg.K12.va.us]
Forms of Cyber Bullying
Cyber bullying refers to a group of acts that degrade, humiliate, tease, threaten, or harm someone verbally. The harm goes up to a point that the victim would have to face the community whose members think of the victim as other members say about him/her not what they are really are.
Calling names, posting mean comments, all the way through videotaping the victim in humiliating positions can be, and are being, done anonymously against victims who are mostly shy people with not much social interactions.
The used media in cyber bullying could be an email, a chat service, social network, a blog post, or any Internet media that allow interaction between members.
Some polls show that more than 50% of the sample have either bullied, or been bullied, on the Internet, with a small percentage that did realize what cuber bulling means.
A cyber bully is a person who insults or harms others on the Internet with an anonymous state. A bully could be a minor, but in some cases adults are involved.
Cosequences of Cyber Bullying
The immediate result of cuber bullying could be either lower self esteem, or anger and the desire of retaliation. In both cases the mental health of the kid is compromised.
And it depends on the bully and how cruel he/she is. A mother of a school kid made a fake My Space account under the name of Josh Evans to bully Megan Meier, a schoolmate of her daughter to a point that the Megan killed herself. And since there is no law against cyber bullying no charges were made against the murderer who is now free to bully other kids.
[Image Source: Megan Meier: Read more about Megan Meier's case]
Amanda Todd - It all started in a chat room
Amanda Todd is the latest cyber-bullying victim. The seventh-grader has been tricked by a 30+ man to flash her breasts on webcam while chatting with him on a forum. The man captured the picture and blackmailed the teen for performing a show for him if she doesn't want her friends to see the photo.
After everyone she knows had seen her topless picture she went down a self degrading path all the way down to suicide.
It all started in a chat room.
Prevent Cyber Bullying
The first thing to do in order to face cyber bullying is to talk to your kids about it, explain it to them, and tell them exactly what to do when this happens to them. Make sure they understand that it is not their job to retaliate, and that adults can handle this.
Also explain to your kids how cruel it is to bully someone. Show them news segments about it and if they are old enough to take it, tell them about Megan Meier, Rayan Halligan and other victims who lost their lives because of it.
But this is not enough. Kids sometimes find it embarrassing to report such incidents to their school teachers or their parents and prefer to handle the issue themselves like adults. In that case you need to be aware of what is happening in their cyber world. Make sure you have access to their email and social networks accounts and keep an eye on their behavior. Any change in that shows anger or low self esteem could be an indicator of cyber bullying.
And above all, install a monitoring software on all computer devices in your household that they can access. With this software you can intervene to stop the bullying with or without your kids knowing about it.
Technology can help
Tracking your kids and their use of the Internet can be helpful to help them stay out of trouble and to track the bad guys if something goes wrong.
If they drive track and locate them.
Give them a cell phone to call you in emergencies, and to track them with it.