Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cyberbullying... A Trend That's Getting worse?

Bullying has always been a concern in schools, but the growth of technology allows for a new dimension of bullying called cyberbullying. On top of in-person verbal or physical abuse, a child may continue to receive hurtful messages or be slandered online even after the school day ends.  This gives bullies the ability to harm their targets at times that used to be safe and many states with bullying laws do not include actions performed off campus. 

It is also apparent that this is an issue we are seeing more in young girls.  Girls are more likely to both be cyberbullied and cyberbully someone else. And while many student suicide cases are not based solely on cyber bullying, we have been seeing an increase of (girls especially) suicide in which cyberbullying is involved.  In some of the worst cases, students are sexually assaulted only to have it posted on the internet where they are further humiliated and sometimes blamed for what happened.  Examples like this have come to light recently with cases such as the Stubenville, Ohio rape case. ( As we mentioned in our "Rape Culture Around the World?" entry)

What does this mean? As technology and social media remains an integral part of our lives, usage needs to be talked about more frequently between parents and children. Making sure that children and teens are safely using social media is very important. Moderation at younger ages may be an esstenital part of developing healthy online habits early on. Teaching children how to address different online situations and how to present themselves can be valuable not only in childhood, but for the the rest of their lives.

While less common, adults can also experience cyber bullying and virtual slander and should also be cautious when using different forms of social media. If you see these things happening, don't "like" it and make sure to talk to friends who you suspect could be vicitms of cyber bullying.

Want more info on Cyber Bullying? Visit the Cyberbullying research center website  

Cyber-bullying in the news: 

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