Cyber Bullying: Protecting Kids and Adults from Online Bullies

Cyber Bullying: Protecting Kids and Adults from Online Bullies

Cyber Bullying: Protecting Kids and Adults from Online Bullies

Cyber Bullying: Protecting Kids and Adults from Online Bullies

Synopsis

Before the advent of the widespread use of the internet, bullying was confined to school grounds, classrooms, and backyards. Now, the virulence of bullying has taken on new meaning, as bullies take to the web to intimidate, harrass, embarrass, and offend others. Through email, cell phones, text messaging, and social networking sites, bullies can carry out their bullying in many cases without ever having to confront their victims, and often without consequence. Whereas the audiences for humiliation in the past was often limited to those who witnessed the bullying and perhaps talked to other about it, now, bullying takes place in cyberspace, where images and audio can be posted online for whole school communities to witness, discuss, and comment on. The social, psychological, and sometimes economic trauma experienced by victims can be devastating, and in some cases, cyber bullying has crossed the line into the criminal. Because just about anyone can be the victim of cyber bullying, and because it often goes unreported, there are precious few resources available to victims, parents, teachers, and others interested in combatting this new form of bullying. This book provides, however, a thoroughly developed, well-researched analysis of cyber bullying - what it is, how it is carried out, who is affected, and what can and should be done to prevent and control its occurrence in society. The book captures the sensational, technological, and horrific aspects of cyber bullying while balancing these with discussion from perspectives about social computing, various academic disciplines, possibilities for public policy and legislation formulation, education, and crime prevention strategies. Using case examples throughout, readers will come away with a new sense of indignation for the victims and a better understanding of the growing problem and how to combat it.

Excerpt

Cyber bullying, or what some people call “Internet aggression,” “Internet bullying,” or “digital harassment,” involves using computers or other information technology (IT) devices, such as personal digital assistants or cell phones, to embarrass, harass, intimidate, threaten, or otherwise cause harm to individuals targeted for such abuse. This definition takes into account our view that bullying typically evolves over time to include more extensive use of the Internet and IT devices, along with escalating forms of aggression when these are not prevented. Most bullying does not result in property damage, or physical injury, nor does it cause prolonged or extensive psychological or emotional trauma. In addition, most children probably face some type and level of bullying as they grow up, which is not to say that bullying is normal or acceptable behavior.

Our fear and concern in writing this book is that online bullying, especially by and among youth and including adults of any age, appears to be becoming so prominent, technologically insidious, and severe in its consequences that classical forms of bullying may also be spreading as a consequence of youth interacting online. In other words, online and classical forms of bullying are increasingly intertwined behaviors. This condition exists throughout modernized societies in which the Internet is relied on to support various types and combinations of written or audible interpersonal communications such as e-mail, instant messaging, texting via cell phones, and myriad other social computing activities including electronic gaming, blogging, chatting or posting messages, images and videos onto web pages and so on.

Online activities that support communications for interpersonal, recreation, commercial, education, and government purposes have enabled variations of so-called Internet culture to emerge throughout the amorphous realm of cyberspace. In cyberspace, youth and adults interact in ways that extend their activities, experiences, and associations. They do so in largely unmonitored, unregulated, and unsanctioned ways. What a person would . . .

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