What is Cyberbullying?
This is when a child, or group of children target another child and torment, harass humiliate or embarrass that child. The definition of child is expanded here to include preteens and teens. Cyberbullies use the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile devices. In this article Cyberbullying does not include adults. Cyberbullying is intentional and is most certainly done with the intent of hurting someone else.
What constitutes Cyberbullying?
This includes spreading rumors, hate campaigns, threats of violence, implied violence, freezing the target out of social activities, etc. Cyberbullying is done on social media, instant messaging, chat rooms, e-mail, texting or mobile devices.
Unfortunately, you have teens, pre-teens and younger kids using the Internet and mobile devices to bully others. When a child is involved in Cyberbullying their perception is the technology sets up a barrier separating them from the victim. It’s also way easier to recruit others online as opposed to in-person. This perceived anonymity gives the bully a false sense of security which dictates a certain percentage of their behavior. Hiding behind texting or posts on social media makes it easier to hurt someone online, especially if you have a mob of like minded jerks behind you. Much harder to do it in person. Hey, what happens if the victim decides to hit back? Yeah, how about that.
Cyberbullying is usually not a onetime event, unless it involves a death threat or a credible threat of serious bodily harm. Kids recognize it when they see it. Some parents may be more concerned about the nasty language used by Cyberbullies as opposed to recognizing the hurtful and destructive impact of rude and embarrassing posts. Children have killed each other and committed suicide after having been involved in Cyberbullying incidents.
How do we stop Cyberbullying?
- Parents, under no circumstance should you attempt a “vigilante” approach by confronting the cyberbully(s) yourself. Under no circumstance should you consider a violent approach with the cyberbully(s). Work under the assumption that there is a strong possibility that there could be legal repercussions. Also work under the assumption that your poorly thought out action plan makes your child even more of a target.
- Help your child understand that they are not at fault. They are not the “villain” here.
- Document, document then document some more. Work with your child and document every incident, every text, every e-mail and every social media post. The more solid documentation you have improves your chances if you should decide to take some type of legal action.
Change your child’s e-mail address and cell phone number. Block the Cyberbully’s e-mail address and cell phone number. File complaints with your ISP and cell phone carrier.
- File complaints with your child’s school after each and every incident. You need to take ownership of this situation. Do not allow the school or school district to blow you off, you need to be relentless. Cyberbullies won’t stop until you force them to stop. You force them to stop by making their life miserable (including financially miserable) by using whatever legal means are available to you.
- Report threats of harm and inappropriate sexual messages to the police. In many cases, the Cyberbully’s actions can be prosecuted by law.
The following is a very condensed version of a recent post by Dr. Justin W. Patchin, Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. For the entire article click http://cyberbullying.us/deterring-bullying/
Deterring Teen Bullying: Dos and Don’ts
Posted by Justin W. Patchin on February 21, 2014
“There’s been a lot of interest lately in passing new bullying and cyberbullying laws. The pressure to pursue these provisions seems to come from the idea that the threat of harsher penalties will deter teens from bullying others. But will they? Deterrence theory is a very popular philosophy within the criminal justice system, and as such serves as the basis for many policies (e.g., mandatory sentences and “three strikes” laws). The basic premise is simple: humans are rational beings who weigh the costs and benefits of any behavior and will ultimately act in a way that maximizes pleasure and minimizes pain. Rational people will therefore be more likely to refrain from deviance when the costs (severe punishment) are increased.
The problem with this perspective is that adolescent brains haven’t yet fully developed to the point where we can assume rationality in the face of unknown or unlikely consequences. Moreover, we often focus too much on formal punishment as a means to compel compliance instead of recognizing other powerful forces that may be even more effective. So what can be done to deter teens from bullying others? Below I offer some basic bullying deterrence dos and don’ts.
- DON’T increase formal sanctions.
- DON’T enact zero tolerance policies.
- DON’T utilize public shaming.
- DO give students a stake in conformity.
- DO connect and interact.
- DO develop a positive school climate.
Deterring detrimental behaviors in a society requires more than just passing a new law or cranking up the consequences in existing laws. Considerate understanding of the needs and desires of teens will help us to design an incentive structure that is more likely to be effective. The simple fact is that some teens will not be deterred in their behaviors by the threat of any formal, criminal punishment, no matter how severe it may be. But these same youth could be prevented from bullying others if they have caring relationships with others or are involved in activities that they value.”
Dr. Justin W. Patchin is the Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. Dr. Patchin is a Professor of Criminal Justice in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University and his B.S. in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
We urge you to read the entire article. Understand that it will take more than a couple of minutes but it is definitely worth investing your time. Please click; http://cyberbullying.us/deterring-bullying/.
Osiris Educational created an excellent infographic for Cyberbullying. Please click the “Infographic” tab at the top of the page. After you look at the infographic please return to the top of the page and click the “Cyber Bullying Virus Video” tab to watch this very profound video produced by Daniel Fraser and Christina Abbott.
The following Infographic was created by Osiris Educational.
Please return to the top of the page and click the “Cyber Bullying Virus Video” tab to watch Daniel Fraser and Christina Abbott’s very profound video on Cyberbullying.