What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the bullying and harrassment that takes place on digital devices such as phones, computers,and tablets. It can occur via apps, online social media, forums, text, email, gaming, or any other place people can view and participate in or share content. Like bullying, cyberbullying is persistent, and it involves the sharing of personal or private information about someone else to cause them embarrassment. Sometimes cyberbullying involves the spread of false information as well.
"Cyberbullying" includes the transmission of harassing communications, direct threats, or other harmful texts, sounds, or images on the Internet, social media, or other technologies using a telephone, computer, or any wireless communication device. Cyberbullying also includes breaking into another person's electronic account and assuming that person's identity in order to damage that person's reputation.
"Electronic act" means the transmission of a communication, including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound, or image, or a post on a social network Internet Web site, by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer or pager.
How is Cyberbullying Different than Bullying?
Unlike bullying, cyberbullying does not go away. This is because using digital media creates a permanent public record of what is being posted. This can create long term negative impacts to a person's online reputation. Because online repurations are available to schools, employers, colleges, and anyone who is searching for information on the individual, these negative impacts to the person's online reputation have long term implications for the person's continued happiness, success, and ability to care for themselves.
In addition, because digital devices tend to be always on, someone being cyberbullied will find no relief from the bullying. Children who participate in cyberbullying often encourage others to participate in the cyberbullying with them. They not only spread falsehoods or call others derogatroy names via social media and text, but they may also create a fake social media account to obtain personal information about the person by pretending to be their friend online. Cyberbullies then share this personal information with other children or even start websites to expose the bullied student's personal information.
Cyberbullying Warning Signs
Children who are being cyberbullied may exhibit one or more of the following signs:
- Increase or decrease of device use
- Hiding their screen or device when others are near
- Shutting down social media accounts, only to start new ones
- Loss of interest in people or activities they once found enjoyable
What to Do If You Suspect Cyberbullying
- Take notice of changes in mood or behavior
- Ask questions about what is causing the mood of behavior changes
- Report cyberbullying to the appropriate authorities on social media platforms
- If a classmate is doing the cybebullying, report it to school officials
Additional Cyberbullying Resources
- Stopybullying.gov is dedicated to increasing the awareness of bullying and to preventing, resolving, and eliminating bullying in society.
- U.S. Department of Education bullying prevention and response.
- Reviews and ratings on movies, games, websites, TV, books and music
- Information on the impact of media on children's physical, mental and social development
- Tips for parents on how to manage their children's media
- Resources for educators
- Myths and facts about cyberbullying
- Resources for youth
- Depression assessment
- Suggestions for youth to get involved with activities outside of school
- digizen.org - The Digizen website provides information for educators, parents, and young people. It is used to strengthen their awareness and understanding of what digital citizenship is and encourages users of technology to be and become responsible digital citizens.
- iKeepSafe - Ikeepsafe.org's mission is to give parents, educators, and policy makers the information and tools which empower them to teach children the safe and healthy use of technology and the Internet.
- The Trevor Project - The Trevor Project is the leading national organizationfocused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.