CyberBullying

Due to the unfortunate and highly publicized cases of teen suicide due to cyber bullying, parents are becoming increasingly aware of the problem and taking steps to prevent their child from being victimized in this manner. Cyber-bullying can be effectively reduced with the combination of parental involvement and newly developed software that filters content. Cyber-bullying affects people of all ages but teenagers are by far the most vulnerable and most victimized. This relatively new type of bullying does not inflict physical injury therefore may go unnoticed by parents. Too often parents do not realize their child is being libeled, coerced or taunted on Facebook, harassed through an online chat room or cyber-stalked by a number of electronic means. Cyber-bullying has been defined as online social malevolence and electronic bullying. It occurs via instant messaging, on a gaming or other social networking website, through email, by phone texting and in a chat room. Photos sent via these venues are another way to harass. Cyber-bullying shares common features with traditional, schoolyard bullying but is less observable and allows the perpetrator to be anonymous. Due to the unique qualities of cyber-bullying it presents distinctive challenges. There are three ways to deal with cyber-bullying, parental understanding and involvement, the ability for the person being victimized to take steps to stop the harassment and the means to track the perpetrator. According to statistics provided by the i-SAFE foundation: At least half of teenagers have bullied another person online and about half have been bullied. About one-third of teens have been threatened online. More than one-fourth of teens have received continual online threats. More than half of cyber-bullied teens do not inform their parents. According to surveys conducted by the Cyberbullying Research Center: More than eight in ten teens regularly use mobile phones. It is the most common cyber-bullying medium. Unlike the schoolyard, girls are more likely to be the cyber-bully. Boys are more likely to receive threats. Between 10 and 20 percent of teens are regular victims of cyber-bullying. All races are cyber-bullied to about the same extent. The most common form of cyber-bullying involves rumor mongering. Unsurprisingly, victims of cyber-bullying are likely to have a diminished self image and to contemplate suicide. (Zaleski, 2011). Cyber-bullying takes many forms. As an example, a teenager who has no known adversaries at school or in the neighborhood begins being inundated by psychologically hurtful and threatening emails from an anonymous sender or senders. The teen recipient does not know who or how many people are against them therefore becomes frightened and increasingly paranoid both at school and home. Another example could be: a cyber-bully builds a phony Facebook profile but uses a class-mates photo, actual name and contact information. The cyber-bully then posts hateful and/or embarrassing messages and pictures then makes friends with other classmates. The fake profile circulates rapidly around school due to its provocative nature causing continuous humiliation for the victim. A variation of this is spamming a school’s web-based bulletin board with rumors about a student. (Hardcastle, 2012). Actual instances include the infamous Rutgers student who committed suicide by