Cyber-Bullying: Stop the Madness

by Luke Gilkerson

Cyberbullying is deliberately using digital media to communicate false, embarrassing, or hostile information about or to another person.

Types of Bullying Online

According to the Internet Safety 101 curriculum, there are many types of cyberbullying:

  • Gossip: Posting or sending cruel gossip to damage a person’s reputation and relationships with friends, family, and acquaintances.
  • Exclusion: Deliberately excluding someone from an online group.
  • Impersonation: Breaking into someone’s e-mail or other online account and sending messages that will cause embarrassment or damage to the person’s reputation and affect his or her relationship with others.
  • Harassment: Repeatedly posting or sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages.
  • Cyberstalking: Posting or sending unwanted or intimidating messages, which may include threats.
  • Flaming: Online fights where scornful and offensive messages are posted on websites, forums, or blogs.
  • Outing and Trickery: Tricking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information, which is then shared online.
  • Cyberthreats: Remarks on the Internet threatening or implying violent behavior, displaying suicidal tendencies.

Cyberbullying Facts

  • 32% of online teens say they have been targets of a range of annoying or potentially menacing online activities. 15% of teens overall say someone has forwarded or posted a private message they’ve written, 13% say someone has spread a rumor about them online, 13% say someone has sent them a threatening or aggressive message, and 6% say someone has posted embarrassing pictures of them online.
  • 38% of online girls report being bullied, compared with 26% of online boys. In particular, 41% of older girls (15-17) report being bullied—more than any other age or gender group.
  • 39% of social network users have been cyberbullied in some way, compared with 22% of online teens who do not use social networks.
  • 20% of teens (12-17) say “people are mostly unkind” on online social networks. Younger teenage girls (12-13) are considerably more likely to say this. One in three (33%) younger teen girls who use social media say that people their age are “mostly unkind” to one another on social network sites.
  • 15% of teens on social networks have experienced someone being mean or cruel to them on a social network site. There are no statistically significant differences by age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, or any other demographic characteristic.
  • 13% of teens who use social media (12-17) say they have had an experience on a social network that made them feel nervous about going to school the next day. This is more common among younger teens (20%) than older teens (11%).
  • 88% of social media-using teens say they have seen someone be mean or cruel to another person on a social network site. 12% of these say they witness this kind of behavior “frequently.”
  • When teens see others being mean or cruel on social networks, frequently 55% see other people just ignoring what is going on, 27% see others defending the victim, 20% see others telling the offender to stop, and 19% see others join in on the harassment.
  • 36% of teens who have witnessed others being cruel on social networks have looked to someone for advice about what to do.
  • 67% of all teens say bullying and harassment happens more offline than online.
  • 1 in 6 parents know their child has been bullied over social media. In over half of these cases, their child was a repeat victim. Over half of parents whose children have social media accounts are concerned about cyberbullying and more than three-quarters of parents have discussed the issue of online bullying with their children.
  • 11% of middle school students were victims of cyberbullying in the past two months. Girls are more likely than boys to be victims or bully/victims.
  • “Hyper-networking” teens (those who spend more than three hours per school day on online social networks) are 110% more likely to be a victim of cyberbullying, compared to those who don’t spend as much time on social networks.

Anti Bullying Campaigns and Programs

Effects of Bullying

“While bullying through physical intimidation has long been a problem among teenagers, cyberbullying by using computers and smart phones to send rumors or post cruel messages has become more prevalent in recent years,” explains Dr. Jennifer Caudle. “Even though there might not be physical injuries, cyberbullying leaves deep emotional scars on the victim.”

Warning signs of being cyberbullied can include:

  • appearing sad, moody, or anxious
  • avoiding school
  • withdrawing from social activities
  • experiencing a drop in grades
  • appearing upset after using the computer
  • appearing upset after viewing a text message

In extreme cases, physical bullying and online bullying can drive a child or teen to deep depression and even suicide (sometimes called “bullycide”). Since 1983, over 150 children have taken their own lives due, in part, to the extreme pressure of being bullied.

Cyberbullying Videos

Marilyn Morris

·       Looking for the Bigger Picture
Through object lessons students learn how difficult it is to understand the pain others experience without seeing the bigger picture.

·       Understanding the Pain
Students learn the cruelty of judging others by petty standards.
Through heart-felt stories students are challenged to step back and look at the bigger picture of those students who have become the Target of these cruel attacks.

·       Tough Guys
Tough Guys can be guys or girls who enjoy making life miserable for others.
They tend to do this for one primary reason – to feel Power!
Some are Tough Guys at school, but they are Targets at home.
Whether muscles, words or facial expressions are used, the pain can be excruciating for the Target.
The future of Tough Guys is not a pretty picture as many become school dropouts, abuse drugs. . .

·       Cyberbullying
Today’s young people are the first generation ever to grow up with social media at their fingertips.
Texting, IM, Facebook, cameras, and chat rooms serve as destructive weapons in the arsenal for a whole new breed of Tough Guys who are hiding behind a computer screen.
Students hear stories of young people who have been brutally harassed through social media.
Students learn ways of dealing with Cyberbullying.
Warning: According to the FBI, what you send can be retrieved. Beware of civil law suits.

·       The Seriousness of This Problem
Intentionally hurting others isn’t just painful – it can be deadly.
Pictures of happy, carefree young people are shown who couldn’t handle the pain any longer and eventually took their own lives.

·       How to Stop the Tough Guys
Transform Bystanders into Defenders.
Stop being an active participant – no stopping and watching, laughing and cheering.
Report what’s happening. This isn’t tattling – it’s rescuing the Target.
Students are empowered as they hear stories of young people who initiated random acts of kindness to classmates who were targets of vicious attacks.
Students are challenged to live their lives in a way that others will be glad they are in the school.

·       Hope for the Targets
What you’re going through today may be an extremely painful chapter of your life, but it’s not the last chapter.
Students hear true stories of famous people who were once the Target of brutal attacks. But the next chapter of their lives led them down a road to great success.


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