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What is Cyberbullying?

An online search will produce a variety of definitions of cyberbullying.  Weve chosen these two because we feel they cover the main points, including the fact that it is intended to be hurtful and it is a repeated behavior.  Why not ask your students to come up with their own definition of cyberbullying?  You might be surprised at what they choose to include/exclude.

In brief,

“Cyberbullying is when someone repeatedly harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person online or while using cell phones or other electronic devices.”

Nancy Willard at the Center for Safe and Responsible Use of the Internet provides a slightly more comprehensive definition:

“Cyberbullying is being cruel to others by sending or posting harmful material or engaging in other forms of social cruelty using the Internet or other digital technologies.  It has various forms, including direct harassment and indirect activities that are intended to damage the reputation or interfere with the relationships of the student targeted, such as posting harmful material, impersonating the person, disseminating personal information or images, or activities that result in exclusion.”

Caveat:  While I hope you find the above definitions a useful starting point, please bear in mind that, as with many other things in life, there is more to defining cyberbullying than maybe meets the eye.  For a more in-depth, nuanced understanding of this issue, take a look at Prof. Shaheen Shariffs work on cyberbullying, including Confronting Cyber-bullying: What Schools Need to Know to Control Misconduct and Avoid Legal Consequences (2009), and Truths and Myths of Cyber-bullying: International Perspectives on Stakeholder Responsibility and Childrens Safety (2010).  I will be writing more about her work in future blogs, and featuring her in the Whos Who section, as I consider her to be one of the leading experts/thinkers/writers in this field.

Why Do People Cyberbully?

Below are the top four reasons people bully online (www.stopcyberbullying.org):

  • Revenge – Although protecting yourself or your friends is important, seeking revenge will only continue the negative cycle.
  • Power – They want others to be fearful of them. In fact, they feel inferiority inside.
  • Entertainment – They think embarrassing others is funny.
  • Stupidity – They just don’t know what they are doing.

Suggestions about Cyberbullying?

The cyberbullying group:

There are tons of things you can do on the internet. Why choosing cyberbullying?

After doing these things, I am sure you will find cyberbullying is so boring..

The victim:

Reposted from http://www.safeteens.com/tips-to-stop-cyberbullying/

  • Don’t respond.
  • Don’t retaliate.
  • Save the evidence.
  • Talk to a trusted adult.
  • Block the bully.
  • Be civil.
  • Don’t be a bully.
  • Be a friend, not a bystander.

Want to know more? Read our recent articles on the right.