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Cyberbullying Prevention

Back in the day, bullying happened at school; you’d get pounded in the playground, or called names in the hall.  But, bullies, with the help of new technology, have created a different kind of bullying and it’s happening right now to our kids. 

 

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Did you know that bullying was named the top school trouble for kids between 8-15?

The Ad Council’s cyberbullying prevention campaign targets 12 and 13-year-olds, particularly girls, urging them to put an end to the cyberbullying chain. Tweens and teens can be lured into such behavior because it takes place in a virtual world. In fact, because they don't realize the tangible consequences, some don't even recognize these hurtful actions as bullying. Most kids say things online because they feel they couldn’t get in trouble, and see it as an easier way to play mind games with other kids.  The key is to help them realize that if they wouldn't say it in person, they shouldn't say it online.
People have said that there are two kinds of cyberbullying, both direct attacks (messages sent directly) and cyberbullying by proxy (using others to help cyberbully the victim).

Instant Messaging/Text Messaging Harassment

a) Hateful or threatening messages 

b) A youth may create a new IM account, with a screenname that is very similar to another kid's name. The name may have an additional "i" or one less "e". They may use this name to say inappropriate things to other users while posing as the other person.

 

c) Text wars or text attacks are when kids gang up on the victim, sending thousands of text-messages to the victims cell phone or other mobile device. The victim is then faced with an expensive cell phone bill and left to deal with angry parents.


Stealing passwords

a) A kid may steal another child's password and begin to chat with other people, pretending to be the other kid. He/she may say mean things that offend and anger this person's friends or even strangers. Meanwhile, they won't know it is not really that person they are talking to.

b) A kid may also use another kid's password to change his/her profile to include sexual, racist, and inappropriate things that may attract unwanted attention or offend people.

 

c) A kid often steals the password and locks the victim out of their own account.


Hurtful Blogs

Blogs are online diaries. Kids see them as a fun way to leave messages for their friends to see. But in some cases, kids use blogs to damage other kids' reputations or invade their privacy. For example, in one case, a boy posted a bunch of blogs about his breakup with his ex-girlfriend, detailing personal information, and calling her degrading names. Their mutual friends read about this and criticized her. She was embarrassed and hurt all because another kid posted mean, private, and false information about her. Sometimes kids set up a blog or profile page pretending to be their victim and saying things designed to humiliate them.

Internet Polls
Who's Hott? Who's the Nerd? Who is the biggest slut in the seventh grade? These are a few samples of Internet polls kids and teens create to humiliate others.


Sending Porn, Junk Mail and IMs

In some cases, cyberbullies will sign their victims up for e-mailing lists, often times including inappropriate content. When the victim receives thousands of e-mails from pornographers, or advertisements for condoms, or feminine products, not only does it destroy their innocence, but often times their parents get involved, either blaming them (assuming they have been visiting inappropriate sites) or making them change their e-mail or IM address.

Impersonation Of the Victim
By posing as the victim, kids can send hateful messages to the victim’s close friends, causing both pain and drama.

Cyberbullying by proxy is when a cyberbully involves a third party to do most of the bullying. Sometimes the accomplice is aware, and other times they are completely oblivious to what exactly is going on.  Either way, cyberbullying by proxy is just as hurtful. 

For more information, click here.

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Cyberbullying Prevention

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