Bullies are nothing new, but Internet accessibility has given rise to a new type of bully. It has created cyber-bullies, who bully others via electronic devices. Cyber-bullies use e-mail, instant messages, blogs, chat rooms, and social networking sites as well as cell phone text messages, and photos to harass their victims.
Cyber-bullies utilize the Internet for the following:
Send insulting messages
Post embarrassing photos
Pose as someone else and send messages supposedly from the victim
Share someone’s secrets online
Threaten the victim and make him or her live in fear
Exclude their victim from an online group
Who is affected by cyber-bullying?
Middle –school and high-school aged youngsters are the most likely to be affected. Your child may be a victim and not tell you. Or, your child may be a cyber-bully.
Why do kids cyber-bully?
Children become cyber-bullies for the same reasons they bully in person. It makes them feel important. But unlike bullies, cyber-bullies can hide behind anonymity on the computer and be just as mean or meaner to others.
What are the dangers of cyber-bullying?
Victims of cyber-bullying can get so upset and/or depressed that they attempt suicide or hurt others. While bullies my threaten children at school, cyber-bullies “invade” your home so that there’s no escape from them. Hurtful messages or pictures can be e-mailed, posted online or forwarded via cell phones, making the bullying widespread and long lasting.
What are some warning signs a child is being cyber-bullied?
Warning signs may include; unexplained anxiety, anger, sadness, or fear, especially after using the computer of cell phone. Falling grades, lack of interest in friends, school or other activities, trouble sleeping, more or less interest in the computer or cell phone.
What can parents and guardians do about cyber-bullies?
Talk to your children. Tell them to let you know if anyone is being a cyber-bully. If someone is, have your child save all communications from that person, including e-mails, Internet Messages (IMs), and text messages.
Report incidents to the Internet or Cell Phone provider, your child’s school and/or police if you fear your child is in danger.
Find out how to block the cyber-bully’s e-mail address or phone number, or change your child’s online information.
Note that filtering software cannot prevent cyber-bullying.
What can your children do?
If one of your children receives a hurtful message, he or she needs to tell you about it, but not send a message back. Responding negatively to the cyber-bully, or forwarding the hurtful message on to others, makes your child a cyber-bully as well.
Avoid web sites where cyber-bullying occurs.
To keep others from being hurt, your children should report any instances of someone they know being cyber-bullied.
For more information and tips, visit our web site at http://www.lincolncountysheriff.net and on your Smartphone via the “MobilePatrol” app and Like us on Facebook at Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office – Oregon.