What is Cyber-Bullying?
In our current on line driven lives, our children are more susceptible to online bullying than other forms of harassment. For the average bully, who lacks anything resembling courage, on-line harrassment is available, easy, anonymous and effective. This new and growing form of on line harassment is increasing with the result that hundreds of children lives are demoralized and made a living hell though the often hidden efforts of their own classmates and neighbors.
A cyber bully is someone who intentionally utilizes on-line means to ridicule and harass others. This can include the use of text messages on cell phones, embarrassing information and photos posted on social media networks. At its most brazen this form of bullying can even include the posting of names and private information and photos to a website that ranks fat, ugly and stupid people based on votes from fellow school mates.
The Overwhelming Problem of Cyber Bullying
Cyber bullying has been around for several years, but it is just recently that society is seeing the effects and fallout through ever increasing numbers of bullying related suicide and deaths brought on by public humiliation of innocent victims. It will take a full on public effort to stop on line bullying.
Damage Caused by Cyber Bullying
But those are only the most extreme results. We can't even begin to measure the full impact that this form of harrassment has on our populations as a whole. There is no way to document and measure the number of children who linger in childhood depression or grow up with post traumatic syndromes and damaged self esteem that may last a life time. the effects it can have on its victims. Backlash, retaliation, and even violence to others or self have occurred due to electronic intimidation.
One on One and Community Response to Bullys
Online bullying and harassment among minors continues to grow, and both parents and schools are working to determine how to discourage this behavior. Preventative measures to ensure a safe online environment for kids and teens is essential. However, internet bullies and victims alike need to be educated in the consequences of cyber bullying, which may change the behavior of some kids and teens.
Research indicates that the minors who incite as well as the minors who receive these messages have lower self-esteem than those who are not involved in bullying online. Low self-esteem also correlates with kids and teens getting into more adverse circumstances in life. It is crucial to address the depression and damage discovered in kids and teens who have become the victims of cyber bullying. This will begin to heal both the initiator and the persecuted. In addition, raised confidence will also assist those kids and teens in addressing other potential challenges.
How to Stop Cyber Bullying?
Education may help curb the behavior once it has begun, but more suggestions to stop cyber bullying for victims include:
- Do not respond to any harassing, offensive or inappropriate messages.
- Do not retaliate against the person; this becomes a cruel cycle of bullying back and forth.
- Block the person who sends the messages, if possible.
- Talk to a trusted adult and inform that person of the situation.
- In cases where threatening language surfaces notify authorities, police and sheriff offices as well as local district and state's attorneys offices
If the community leaders involved do not agree to take a offensive stand on cyber threats and cyber bullying, get them thrown out of office and elect new leaders.
Ultimately it is the responsibility of the schools and parents to take action, become involved and voice concerns. One way to ease into changing the climate of internet harassment of minors is to have an anonymous way to report sites and names of those involved. If the schools are not willing to do this in the community, consider talking with the local neighborhood watch to promote the development this system.
Cyber Bullying Facts
Parents are an essential part of both the prevention and the cessation of cyber- bullying. Parents who develop a safe, trusting and nurturing environment have increased open communication with their children. This environment is necessary to support and teach techniques that benefit the child. These methods include yoga, deep-breathing, journaling, and other anger and feelings management activities. Practicing together with an adult, not only builds a strong bond, but gives both the parent and minor ways to work through other difficult situations together.