What is Cyberbullying? How is it Different from Traditional Bullying?

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1 Bullying occurs when a person or a group of people hurt, scare or are mean to another person or group on purpose. Bullying usually occurs more than once. In the past, these encounters generally happened during school on the playground or in the hallways between classes. But more and more, people are using computers, cell phones and other electronic devices to taunt and humiliate other people. This educational series was created to give students and readers a general understanding of what bullying and, more specifically, cyberbullying is and how it can affect those involved. It will also explore strategies for preventing it. For the next six days (weeks) this newspaper will run features covering the following topics: What is Cyberbullying? Cyber Terms You Should Know The Effects of Cyberbullying Who Participates in Cyberbullying? How to Respond to Cyberbullying How Can Cyberbullying be Prevented? The Cyberbullying Research Center was used as a source for much of the content in this series. All other sources are cited within the features containing their content.

2 What is Cyberbullying? How is it Different from Traditional Bullying? While similar to traditional bullying, cyberbullying has many differences that make it challenging to deal with. Victims often do not know who the bully is, or why they are being targeted. The cyberbully can hide his or her identity by using anonymous addresses or screen names. Hurtful actions of a cyberbully with a few keystrokes or clicks of a mouse can include an increasing number of people - at school, in the neighborhood or across the world! Everyone might not be directly involved but the incident can be witnessed by millions in a matter of days or even hours if the posting goes viral. This could give the victim the feeling that absolutely everyone knows about it. Cyberbullying, unlike physical bullying, does not provide an option Cyberbullying can be defined as the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices by people to deliberately and repeatedly taunt, harass, threaten, humiliate or otherwise hassle others. for its victims to walk away. It can be easier to be cruel using technology because a cyberbully doesn t have to face his/her target or see the immediate response. In fact, some teens might not realize the serious harm they are causing because they do not witness the victim s reaction. Finally, while parents and teachers are doing a better job supervising young people at school and at home, many adults don t have the technological know-how to keep track of what teens are up to online. As a result, a victim s experience may be missed and a bully s actions may be left unchecked. Even if bullies are identified, many adults don t know how to stop the cyberbullying from happening. Go viral used in reference to Internet content which can be passed through electronic mail and social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). An image, video, or link that spreads rapidly through a large number of users by being frequently shared is said to have gone viral. Source: Urbandictionary.com Cyberbullying is a growing problem because increasing numbers of children are continuously using computers, cell phones or other electronic devices. Two-thirds of young people go online every day for school work, to communicate with friends, or just for fun. The fact that teens may be connected to technology 24/7, means they are open to cyberbullying around the clock. Next installment: Cyber Terms You Should Know Newspaper Activity: Appreciating Others Sometimes bullying happens because of misunderstandings among people of different backgrounds. Look through the newspaper for articles or pictures about customs and traditions of various cultures, religions, nationalities and ethnic groups. With your class and/or family, discuss the special qualities of these groups. Do you have similar traditions? What makes these groups unique and worth appreciating?

3 Cyber Terms You Should Know Anonymizer Software that hides or disguises the IP address of an Internet user. This allows a person to use the Internet without leaving a digital footprint that can be tracked. Bash Board An online bulletin board on which individuals can post what they want. Generally, posts are malicious and hateful statements directed against another person or group. Blocking The denial of access to particular parts of the Internet. Cyber Bullycide Suicide stemming directly or indirectly from being cyberbullied. Cyberspace The electronic universe created by computer networks in which individuals interact. Cyberstalking Harassment that includes threats of harm or is highly intimidating and intruding upon one s personal privacy. Cyber Threats Electronic material that either generally or specifically raises concerns that the creator may intend to inflict harm or violence to other or self. Digital Footprint Evidence of a person s use of the Internet. This includes anything that can be linked to his or her existence, presence, or identity. Filtering The applying of a set of criteria against which Internet content is judged acceptable or not. For example, a filter might check the text on a web page with a list of forbidden words. If a match is found, that web page may be blocked or reported through a monitoring process. Generally speaking, it lets data pass or not pass based on previously specified rules. Flaming Sending angry, rude, or obscene messages directed at a person privately or an online group. A flame war erupts when flames are sent back and forth. Happy Slapping An extreme form of bullying where physical assaults are recorded on mobile phones and distributed to others. IP Address Stands for Internet Protocol address. It is a unique address assigned to a computing device that allows it to send and receive data with other computing devices that have their own unique addresses. ISP Internet Service Provider or the company that provides an Internet connection to individuals or companies. Your ISP can help with identifying the individual who posts or sends harassing or threatening words. Monitoring The recording and reporting of online activity through software. It may record a history of all Internet use or just of inappropriate use. A person can also serve this function. Trolling Deliberately but disingenuously posting information to entice genuinely helpful people to respond (often emotionally). Often done to inflame or provoke others. Next installment: The Effects of Cyberbullying Newspaper Activity: Understanding Terms Look through several editions of the newspaper (print or electronic) to see if you can fi nd news stories about incidents of cyberbullying. Did you fi nd any of these terms mentioned? Were other cyber terms or text talk abbreviations used? With your class and/ or family discuss any terms you don t know or understand.

4 The Effects of Cyberbullying Many targets of cyberbullying report feeling depressed, sad, angry and frustrated. As one teenager stated, It makes me hurt both physically and mentally. It scares me and takes away all my confidence. It makes me feel sick and worthless. Victims who experience cyberbullying say they are afraid or embarrassed to go to school. In addition, research has revealed a link between cyberbullying and low self-esteem, family problems, academic problems, school violence, and delinquent Warning Signs of Cyberbulling: behavior. Finally, A child or teenager may be a victim of cyberbullying if he or she: unexpectedly stops using their computer or cell phone; appears nervous or jumpy when receiving an instant message or ; appears uneasy about going to school or outside in general; appears to be angry, depressed, or frustrated after using the computer or cell phone; avoids discussions about what they are doing on the computer or cell phone; or becomes abnormally withdrawn from usual friends and family members. A child may be cyberbullying others if he or she: quickly switches screens or closes programs when you walk by; uses the computer at all hours of the night; gets unusually upset if he/ she cannot use the computer; laughs excessively while using the computer; avoids discussions about what they are doing on the computer or uses multiple online accounts or using an account that is not their own. cyberbullied youth also report having suicidal thoughts. There have been a number of recent, well-publicized cases involving cyberbullying sometimes combined with other forms of bullying that have contributed to acts of suicide. According the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, children who are cyberbullied are more likely to: Use alcohol and drugs Skip school Experience in-person bullying Be unwilling to attend school Receive poor grades Have lower self-esteem Have more health problems But cyberbullying can impact more than just its victims. Family and friends of the target, witnesses and the even the people who bully can be affected. According to the American Psychological Association bullies are more prone to other forms of antisocial behavior such as vandalism, fighting and shoplifting. The APA estimates that one in four boys who bully will have a criminal record by age 30. Next installment: Who Participates in Cyberbullying? Newspaper Activity: Understanding Actions and Effects Look through editions of the newspaper for a current problem affecting your school or community. It can but doesn t have to involve bullying or cyberbullying. As a class and/or family discuss what you think about how the people are handling the problem. Are their actions having positive or negative effects?

5 Who Participates in Cyberbullying? Nearly every child at some point will face a situation where he/she is either a bully, a target or victim of bullying or a bystander. At different times, any one of these roles can be switched among participants. An individual s physical size and strength doesn t necessarily determine the make-up of a cyberbully. As a result, young people occasionally change roles, going from victim to bully and back again. Here s one example: a victim of bullying responds by providing the personal information including phone numbers and addresses of the people who have bullied him. His online friends decide to get even by making dozens of prank calls, sending anonymous, inappropriate and threatening s and even ordering hundreds of pizzas to the victims (former bullies) doors. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center about 20% of 11 to 18 year-old students surveyed in 2010 have been a victim of cyberbullying at some point in their lives. About the same number admitted to cyberbullying others and 10% of kids said they had been both a victim Bystander: a person present but not actively involved; onlooker; spectator and an offender. Most traditional bullying occurs around other people who assume the role of bystanders or witnesses. Being a bystander in the cyber world is different because bystanders aren t just onlookers. Bystanders participate by receiving and forwarding s or instant messages, viewing web pages, forwarding images sent to cell phones, etc. And, unlike the limited crowd of spectators in a traditional bullying event, the number of cyber-bystanders can reach into the millions and throughout the world. Those who witness cyberbullying generally do not want to get involved out of fear, yet they often realize that what they are seeing is not right and should stop. Experts believe that bystanders can make a huge difference in helping cyberbullying victims, who often feel helpless and hopeless and need someone to offer support. Bystanders should note what they see and when. They should also stand up for the victim, becoming an ally or upstander, and tell an adult they trust who can step in and improve the situation. Finally, they should never encourage or indirectly contribute to the behavior by forwarding hurtful messages, laughing at inappropriate jokes or content, agreeing with the act just to fit in, or otherwise silently allowing it to continue. Whether you ve been a victim of cyberbullying, know someone who has been cyberbullied, or have even cyberbullied yourself, there are steps you and your friends can take to stop cyberbullying and stay cyber-safe. Next installment: How to Respond to Cyberbullying Newspaper Activity: Bullying/Cyberbullying is No Laughing Matter Look through several editions of the comics section and fi nd instances of bullying or cyberbullying. Pick one and identify the bully, the victim and bystanders. As a class and/or family discuss why the cartoon character is being a bully, how the victim is responding, and what the bystanders are doing. Can you think of better and more positive ways in which these characters could interact with each other?

6 How to Respond to Cyberbullying So what should a person do if he or she is the target or know someone else who is being cyberbullied? Do not reply to cyberbullying. If the cyberbully is ignored and doesn t get a reaction, he or she may stop or move on. But, save or print text messages, postings or s as evidence. Block offending addresses and cell phone numbers, or if necessary change your phone number and address. Report bullying and file complaints with communication services providers and websites where the cyberbullying is occurring. Service providers can find the offenders, cancel their service, and report them to the police if necessary. Try to identify the cyberbully and have a parent or guardian contact his or her parents if Dignity for All Students Act - As the original 2010 New York state law was taking effect in July 2012, an amendment to the new law expanded it to help protect students from cyberbullying as well as other forms of harassment, bullying and discrimination. Effective July 1, 2013, the law requires school districts to have a plan in place to deal with cyberbullying and to act when cyberbullying occurs. School offi cials must investigate reports of cyberbullying, on or off campus, when it creates or would create a substantial risk to the school environment, substantially interferes with a student s educational performance or mental, emotional or physical well-being, or causes a student to fear for his or her physical safety. The law also requires current and future school employees to be trained to identify and reduce the incidences of harassment, bullying, cyberbullying and discrimination. possible. Notify your school of the problem. Involve law enforcement when extremely harmful online speech (including harassment, stalking and threats of violence) is involved. When you see someone being bullied, try to step in and do something about it. Tell the bully to stop. If a bully or cyberbully receives criticism from their peers, they may not do it in the future. If someone tells you that they are being cyberbullied, help them get help so the problem is resolved. All young people should be instructed that when in doubt about what to do log off the computer or electronic device and ask for help from a trusted adult. Newspaper Activity: Resolving Confl icts Use the newspaper (print or electronic) as a resource to fi nd a current confl ict among individuals or groups of people that may or may not involve bullying or cyberbullying. As a class and/or family discuss the possible solutions and work on fi nding the best compromise. Next installment: How can Cyberbullying be Prevented?

7 How Can Cyberbullying be Prevented? Parents and teachers need to educate young people about what is appropriate to write, post or share online. Rules need to be established for safe use of the Internet, cell phones and other electronic devices. Parents also need to monitor use of these devices. Monitoring can be done through active participation or through the use of software. Keep in mind filtering and blocking software alone cannot keep young users safe or prevent them from bullying others or accessing inappropriate content. Everyone, but especially children, should protect their passwords and private information even from best friends. If others find out your password change it immediately! Also, when using social media, set up privacy controls restricting access of your online profile to friends only. No one should open messages ( s, text messages, instant messages (IMs) etc.) from people they don t know or from known bullies. These messages should be deleted without opening them or reading the content. They could Think before you post. Don t post when you re angry or upset. You might express something you ll regret later. Also, consider whether what you re about to write or the photo or video you re ready to post is something you want your parents, grandparents, teachers or complete strangers to see. Ask yourself How would I feel if someone posted this about me? If you might be embarrassed or get in trouble for your action later this is probably not worth sharing now. Remember, even after comments, photos, video, etc. have been deleted from the Internet, this content never completely goes away. contain viruses that automatically infect the electronic device when opened. It is important to remember to log out of online accounts. And, don t save passwords in form fields within websites or web browsers for convenience. Leaving an account open can give someone else access to pose as you online using your account. According to Eyes on Bullying, bystanders also have the power to play a key role in preventing or stopping bullying. Some bystanders directly intervene, by discouraging the bully, defending the victim, or redirecting the situation away from bullying. Other bystanders get help, by rallying support from peers to stand up against bullying or by reporting the bullying to adults. Finally, in keeping with the central theme of folk singer, Peter Yarrow s Operation Respect, we need to work togehter to create a climate where we say - We don t do that here. We all need to understand and reinforce the importance of how everyone should always be treated with respect and dignity in-person and in cyberspace. Newspaper Activity: Use Technology For Good/Protect Against Bad Look through recent editions of the newspaper (print or electronic) for stories about new inventions and discoveries. As a class and/ or family discuss whether each could be used to promote respect, peace or understanding. Consider ways some may be misused to spread disrespect. Think about how people could and should guard against these misuses. For more information about anti-bullying and anti-cyberbullying go online to Operation Respect at and to the Cyberbullying Research Center at

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