What Are the Forms That Cyberbullying Might Take?
Short for electronic mail, the transmission of messages over communications networks. The messages can be notes entered from the keyboard or electronic files stored on disk. Most mainframes, minicomputers, and computer networks have an e-mail system. Some electronic-mail systems are confined to a single computer system or network, but others have gateways to other computer systems, enabling users to send electronic mail anywhere in the world. (Webopedia: http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/e/e_mail.html)
Cyberbullies can and do use e-mail to send harassing and threatening messages to the targets of their hatred and loathing. Those who are bullied often ask themselves "What have I done to deserve this?" and the usual answer is that they have not done anything to deserve such awful messages.
It is often possible to trace which e-mail account the message was sent from, however, it is almost impossible to prove who actually used this e-mail account to send the offending messages. Messages sent from accounts with local/regional Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can be more easily traced and acted upon than messages sent from large Web-based e-mail accounts such as Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail etc.
Most e-mail programs allow you to use e-mail filters that will block or automatically delete messages from undesirable senders. This does work to a limited degree, but as most e-mail users now know, it is almost impossible to stop unwanted e-mail messages such as advertisements, SPAM etc.
Instant Messaging (IM):
A type of communications service that enables you to create a private chat room with another individual. Typically, the instant messaging system alerts you whenever somebody on your private list is online. You can then initiate a chat session with that particular individual. There are several competing instant messaging systems such as ICQ, AOL Messenger, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger etc.. Unfortunately, there's no standard, so anyone you want to send instant messages to must use the same instant messaging system that you use. (Webopedia: http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/i/instant_messaging.html).
Cyberbullies can and do use IM to send harassing and threatening messages to the targets of their hatred and loathing. IM has become a very large part of the social lives of our young people. The relationships they form with others in school and in other facets of their lives are extended and maintained through IM-ing. The conversations and conflicts that arise online often give rise to behaviours that are acted out in person during school or at the local shopping mall.
Prevention: Sit with your child when they are signing up for an IM account. If you are not careful, you can give others a great deal of access to your personal contact information. Users of IM should create a buddy list of only people you know and trust well. Most IM programs allow users to create a list of others that users may wish to "block" from sending them messages or contacting them for the purposes of chatting in real time (while the users are both online together at the same time).
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