Cyber Bullying

New technologies, including internet, have been a great way to access information, to learn, to find friends, and to reach out. However, this revolutionized communication has brought new exposures of harassment and isolation, especially for our youth.

A few years ago, we had human to human interaction. It was full of fear of physical abuse and bruised pride. However, when you are bullied online where you are alone with your own thoughts and fear, feeling totally alone, is one of the greatest threats to ones existence. How come?

In old days we had perpetrators, victims and bystanders. There was this connection between people – an eye contact, a word, a smile, a threat or a physical interaction. When you are alone with your thoughts, fears and imagination, it can get ugly quiet fast.

 

Cyber bullying may seem like the same old behavior using different means, but because cyber bullying can be done anonymously it can take on very different qualities. The ability to resend emails and text messages create confusion about what has happened. It also creates an illusion that the whole world is against you and that every single person you know has gotten the e-mail.

 

I stumbled upon a set of new terms that is used for cyber bullying and decided to look in to them.

Terminology you may or may not know:

  • Cyber stalking– repeated messages of an intimidating character that make a person feel afraid for his or her physical safety.
  • Harassment– repeated messages of an offensive or derogatory nature directed to a target.
  • Flaming– online verbal attacks or fights via electronic messages, (e.g., in chat rooms) and using hostile and vulgar language.
  • Denigration– online “put-downs,” including sending or posting hurtful gossip or rumors to cause the target embarrassment.
  • Impersonation– using someone’s email account to send out messages (supposedly from the account holder) that reflect badly on that person and may cause trouble, shame, or embarrassment.
  • Outing and Trickery– disclosure of someone’s private information online, sending or posting embarrassing images, or deceptions leading another person to reveal personal details about him or herself.
  • Exclusion– deliberately keeping someone out of an online group such as a buddy list or game.

Most people today consider e-mailing, text messaging, chatting and blogging a vital means of self-expression and a central part of their social lives and it should stay that way.  We need to be aware of what we do, what we say and how we interact with other people.  Words can be misunderstood, twisted and forwarded to other people.

Play it safe!

Some resources to look into:

http://www.stoptextbully.com/help/15/advice-for-parents-and-teachers

http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/what_is_cyberbullying_exactly.html

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