Just as we are beginning to understand and prevent bullying on a systematic level, along comes a unique and cruel form: cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is an entirely different animal. Contrary to traditional bullying that occurs in the open, cyber bullying often occurs in the privacy of a victim’s home, where few adults are present. Additionally, while the bully, the bystanders, and the victims are usually easily identifiable when bullying occurs in its conventional form, victims of cyber bulling may not even be able to identify their aggressor.
Similarities do exist between the two forms; both classic bullies and cyber bullies are after power and aim to inflict pain on their peers. Through technology, cyber bullying spreads like wild fire in cyber space, where parents offer little protection because we are the digital immigrants and our children are the digital natives. Much like traditional bullying, cyber bullying comes in many different forms as well. It’s done through instant messaging, postings to online bulletin boards or social networking sites, and through cell phones. According to the article “Cyber Bullying: Intervention and Prevention Strategies” by Ted Feinberg & Nicole Robey of the National Association of School Psychologists 2009, there are several types of cyber bullying:
In addition to having its own unique forms of bullying, cyber bullying has a typically identifiable bully. And so far, there is no evidence that kids and teens who are bullies on the playground are also cyber bullies.
We carry in our heads and hearts the portrait of the classic bully. The male bully is personified by such famous movie characters as Scut Farkas in “A Christmas Story” and Johnny Lawrence in “Karate Kid”. Both of these traditional male bullies used physical aggression to pick on kids who were smaller and weaker than them. The female bully is epitomized by Regina George, the alpha female character in the film “Mean Girls”, and her group of “Plastics”, who dominate and intimidate their entire school as they strive for power and attention.
Anonymity frees the cyber bully from the constraints of the typical bully. The cyber bully doesn’t need a posse or a group of onlookers to ensure and maintain his or her position of power. He need not be imposing, and she need not be popular. With a simple click of a button the cyber bully gets immediate gratification. And often there are no consequences for their behavior.
“STOP”, a Cyber bullying program through Wired Kids, Inc. identifies four types of cyber bullies:
Even though cyber bullying comes with its challenges, there are some actions you can take, especially up front, to lessen the chances your child will be a victim of cyber bullying:
There are also many informative and useful websites out there to aid you and your child in effectively dealing with cyber bullying.
Here are just a few:
For more information about cyber bullying, visit out homepage at Insteppc.com. Call In Step today and register before school starts.