Cyberbullying: The New Online Crime
Elementary school bullying and high school harassment have been around for ages. Today, a new online crime is making itself more and more prevalent. More than 80% of teenagers use mobile phones, roughly 93% of college students engage on Facebook -- and more than 50% of teenagers and adolescents have been bullied by others through cellular technologies and the Internet. Recent studies show that the distance created by the Internet might pose a threat to the development of in-person social skills and many adolescents use the Internet to make the lives of others miserable. Cyberbullying occurs when someone uses mobile technologies or the Web to deliberately embarrass, harass or hurt someone else.
Social media sites and the Internet, in general, have created an interesting behavioral trend in teens and adolescents. The distance and illusion of “anonymity” offered by the Internet might encourage some to engage in online bullying. Online bullying works by using digital or electronic technologies. Experts consider multiple behaviors cyberbullying, including direct and indirect attacks and online bullying by proxy, or through an acquaintance. Cyberbullying works through the creation of a hostile online environment. It works when the bully creates intense feelings of fear, depression or anxiety in the victim.
People bully others for a number of reasons. Many teens and adolescents harbor feelings of hate and intolerance for others. In some situations, young people repeat the behaviors they witness at home. Sometimes, teens feel the pressure to “fit in” and perform acts of bullying to gain the appreciation or respect of their peers. Ultimately, young people bully others for a number of reasons. Parents should seek to identify bullying behavior, modify it and teach better social skills.
Bullying causes a number of moderate to severe side effects in the victim. Anxiety, depression and ultimately, suicide, are some of the most damaging effects of online harassment. The victim of electronic bullying may begin to show signs of their predicament. Failing grades, avoiding computer use, visible distress after using the Internet and withdrawal from family, friends and social groups are signs that something is amiss.
One of the biggest differences between traditional bullying and online harassment is location. School yard bullies torment their victims during a set range of hours each day; online bullying can take place 24 hours per day 7 days per week. In addition, online harassment can reach a wider audience in a short time. Electronic communications, such as text or embarrassing images, can cause continued anxiety and oftentimes, they are difficult to remove. Confronting the source can prove difficult because locating the offender is difficult; in-person bullying only takes a visit to the school office or a parent’s home. Finally, if you child is the bully and a crime takes place, you should consider hiring a criminal defense attorney.
For more information about cyberbullying, refer to these resources:
- What Is Cyberbullying? – This article examines who carries out cyberbullying, how it affects the victims and examples of direct and indirect attacks.
- Background Information About Cyberbullying – This PDF offers detailed information about online bullying, its effects and important statistics.
- Cyberbullying Parents Guide (PDF) – This brief but detailed brochure offers an informative overview of online bullying and the steps parents can take to protect their children.
- Cyberbullying Case Study – This case study examines how a child’s parent might intervene to prevent cyberbullying.
- Who Does the Bullying? – This article discusses the types of people who perform cyberbullying and the effects it has on the victim.
- Traditional Bullying vs. Cyberbullying (PDF) - This document offers a theoretical view of the differences between traditional bullying and electronic harassment.
- Cyber Bullying – This comprehensive guide provides information on how parents, children, and teens can stop cyberbullying.
- The Warning Signs of Cyberbullying (PDF) – This checklist helps teens and children determine if they are being harassed online.
- Bullying Online – This brief article offers tips to protect a child from online harassment.
- Disabilities and Bullying – This paper examines the effects of bullying on students with disabilities.
- The Emotional and Psychological Consequences of Cyberbullying – This paper closely examines how the victims of electronic harassment feel.
- Guide to Cyberbullying - This brief article discusses the prevalence of online bullying and discusses why children engage in online harassment.
- Important Cyberbullying Topics – This article offers examples of cyberbullying and a brief explanation of the different types of online bullying.
- The Warning Signs of Cyberbullying – This article offers an overview of the signs parents can look for if they suspect any form of bullying.
- Harassment, Cyberbullying, and Depression – This site, aimed at youth, exposes depression myths and provides a discussion forum and other information about cyberbullying.
- Prevention Techniques (PDF) – This document provides an overview of cyberbullying and offers a story that illustrates the severity of bullying and prevention techniques.
- Cyber Safety: An Interactive Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – This site explains the different types of bullying and how to prevent them.