Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, or target another person online. Online threats and mean, aggressive or rude texts, tweets, posts, and messages all count. So does posting personal information, pictures, or videos designed to hurt or embarrass someone else. Cyberbullying can also include photos, messages, or pages that don’t get taken down, even after the person has been asked to do so. In other words, it’s anything that gets posted online and is meant to hurt, harass or upset someone else.
Cyberbullying occurs when someone uses digital technology to bully another person online. Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying doesn’t require face-to-face contact and isn’t limited to just a handful of witnesses at a time. It also doesn’t require physical power or strength in numbers. Cyberbullies come in all shapes and sizes, and almost anyone with an internet connection or mobile phone can cyberbully someone else, often without revealing their true identity.
When kids get bullied at school they usually come home and the bullying stops, not anymore. Now, with technology bullying can happen anytime and anywhere. Cyberbullying can start with a single person sending a text, but it can also be a group of people posting hurtful things about other kids.
Although all states have laws requiring schools to respond to bullying, many states do not include cyberbullying under these laws or, specify the role schools should play in responding to bullying that takes place out of school. Schools may take action either as required by law or with local or school policies that allow them to discipline or take other action. Some also have provisions to address bullying if it affects school performance. You can learn about the laws and policies in each state, including if they cover cyberbullying.
As more and more young people are being affected by cyberbullying, physical experts are able to better understand just how different it is from traditional schoolyard teasing. The lack of face-to-face interaction that technology provides, makes it much easier to cross the line from joking to bullying.
Unlike traditional bullying, a cyberbully can be completely anonymous. This makes the victim feel even more helpless because they do not know the source of the attacks.
Just as the use of technology itself has evolved, so has the ability to bully. Bullying, once restricted to the school or neighborhood, has now moved into the online world. Bullying through electronic means is referred to as cyberbullying.
As adults, thinking back, it was just a generation ago that kids and teens were asking their parents for a phone in their room maybe even one with a separate line or three-way calling so they could easily and somewhat privately connect with more friends.
Today, a kid or teen’s desire to connect with friends has not changed, but the options for doing so have grown tremendously. Children are not only asking for their own tablets, gaming devices, and mobile phones at a younger age, they also want access to popular social media sites, and the ability to engage in online games and share information.