Cyber bullying is bullying through email, instant messaging (IMing), chat room exchanges, Web site posts, or
digital messages or images send
to a cellular phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) (Kowalski et al.
2008). Cyber bullying, like traditional bullying, involves an imbalance
of power, aggression, and a negative action that is often repeated.
Cyber bullying has some rather unique characteristics that are different from traditional bullying:
Anonymity: As bad as the "bully" on the playground may be, he or she can be readily identified and
potentially avoided. On the other hand, the child who cyber bullies is
often anonymous. The victim is left wondering who the cyber "bully" is,
which can cause a great deal of stress.
Accessibility: Most children who use traditional ways of bullying terrorize their victim at school, on
the bus, or walking to or from school. Although bullying can happen
elsewhere in the community, there is usually a standard period of time
during which these children have access to their victims. Children who
cyber bully can wreak havoc any time of the day or night.
Punitive Fears: Victims of cyber bullying often do not report it because of: (1) fear of retribution from
their tormentors, and (2) fear that their computer or phone privileges
will be taken away. Often, adults' responses to cyber bullying are to
remove the technology from a victim - which in their eyes can be seen as
Bystanders: Most traditional bullying episodes occur in the presence of other people who assume the
role of bystanders or witnesses. The phenomenon of being a bystander in
the cyber world is different in that they may receive and forward
emails, view web pages, forward images sent to cell phones, etc. The
number of bystanders in the cyber world can reach into the millions.
Disinhibition: The anonymity afforded by the Internet can lead children to engage in behaviors that
they might not do face-to-face. Ironically, it is their very anonymity
that allows some individuals to bully at all.
Common Forms of Cyber Bullying
Cyber bullying can take many forms. However, there are six forms that are the most common.
Harassment: Repeatedly sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages
Denigration: Distributing information about another that is derogatory and untrue through posting
it on a Web page, sending it to others through email or instant
messaging, or posting or sending digitally altered photos of someone
Flaming: Online "fighting" using electronic messages with angry, vulgar language
Impersonation: Breaking into an email or social networking account and using that person's online
identity to send or post vicious or embarrassing material to/about
Outing and Trickery: Sharing someone's secrets or embarrassing information, or tricking someone into
revealing secrets or embarrassing information and forwarding it to
Cyber Stalking: Repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm or are highly intimidating, or
engaging in other online activities that make a person afraid for his or
her safety (depending on the content of the message, it may be illegal)
What are the Warning Signs of Cyber Bullying?
The warning signs of cyber bullying are similar to those for traditional bullying in terms of emotional effects;
however, there are some
differences. For example, a bruise or torn clothing is not expected as a
sign that a child is being cyber bullied, but it is also important to
keep in mind that some children who are cyber bullied may also be
experiencing traditional bullying at school.
A child may be experiencing cyber bullying if he or she:
appears sad, moody, or anxious
withdraws from or shows a lack of interest in social activities
experiences a drop in grades or decline in academic performance
appears upset after using the computer or being online
appears upset after viewing a text message on a cell phone
If a child shows any of these warning signs, it is important to talk with the child and investigate his or her online
presence to determine
whether cyber bullying is occurring and to offer help when needed.
source found at: http://olweus.org