School has been in session for about a month and with school being in session, we begin to see a rise in reports of Cyber bullying. Long gone are the days of pulling pig tails, passing notes or fights on the playground. With technology, bullies have become more sophisticated and more lethal than ever before. With one push of a button a young person's life can be demolished within their school and home communities...even throughout cyberspace.
Cyber bullying is when someone "repeatedly makes fun of another person online or repeatedly picks on another person through email or text message or when someone posts something online about another person that they don't like."
Research estimates of the number of youth who experience cyber bullying vary widely (ranging from 20-40%
Cyber bullying typically consists of mean or hurtful comments and rumors spread online as the most common types
Adolescent girls are significantly more likely to have experienced cyber bullying in their lifetimes
Initially, many kids hung out in chat rooms, and as a result that is where most harassment took place. In recent years, most youth are have been drawn to social networking websites (such as Facebook) and now it seems that it is rarity when a teenager does NOT have a cell phone for texting.
Why is cyber bullying so impactful?
First, victims often do not know who the bully is, or why they are being targeted. The cyber bully can cloak his or her identity behind a computer or cell phone using anonymous email addresses or screen names.
Second, the hurtful actions of a cyber bully are viral; that is, a large number of people (at school, in the neighborhood, in the city, in the world!) can be involved in a cyber-attack on a victim, or at least find out about the incident with a click of the mouse.
Third, it is often easier to be cruel using technology because cyber bullying can be done from a physically distant location, and the bully doesn't have to see the immediate response by the target.