Cyberbullying (page 2)
Bullying is aggressive behavior that is intentional and involves an imbalance of power or strength. Usually, it is repeated over time. Traditionally, bullying has involved actions such as: hitting or punching (physical bullying), teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying), or intimidation through gestures or social exclusion. In recent years, technology has given children and youth a new means of bullying each other.
Cyber bullying, which is sometimes referred to as online social cruelty or electronic bullying, can involve:
- Sending mean, vulgar, or threatening messages or images;
- Posting sensitive, private information about another person;
- Pretending to be someone else in order to make that person look bad;
- Intentionally excluding someone from an online group (Willard, 2005).
Children and youth can cyberbully each other through:
- Instant messaging,
- Text or digital imaging messages sent on cell phones,
- Web pages,
- Web logs (blogs),
- Chat rooms or discussion groups, and
- Other information communication technologies.
How common is cyber bullying?
Although little research has been conducted on cyber bullying, recent studies have found that:
- 18% of students in grades 6-8 said they had been cyberbullied at least once in the last couple of months; and 6% said it had happened to them 2 or more times (Kowalski et al., 2005).
- 11% of students in grades 6-8 said they had cyberbullied another person at least once in the last couple of months, and 2% said they had done it two or more times (Kowalski et al., 2005).
- 19% of regular Internet users between the ages of 10 and 17 reported being involved in online aggression; 15% had been aggressors, and 7% had been targets (3% were both aggressors and targets) (Ybarra & Mitchell, 2004).
- 17% of 6-11 year-olds and 36% of 12-17-year-olds reported that someone said threatening or embarrassing things about them through e-mail, instant messages, web sites, chat rooms, or text messages (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2006).
- Cyber bullying has increased in recent years. In nationally representative surveys of 10-17 year-olds, twice as many children and youth indicated that they had been victims and perpetrators of online harassment in 2005 compared with 1999/2000 (Wolak, Mitchell, & Finkelhor, 2006).
Who are the victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying?
In a recent study of students in grades 6-8 (Kowalski et al., 2005):
- Girls were about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying.
- Of those students who had been cyberbullied relatively frequently (at least twice in the last couple of months):
- 62% said that they had been cyberbullied by another student at school, and 46% had been cyberbullied by a friend.
- 55% didn't know who had cyberbullied them.
- Of those students who admitted cyber bullying others relatively frequently:
- 60% had cyberbullied another student at school, and 56% had cyberbullied a friend.
What are the most common methods of cyber bullying?
In recent studies of middle and high school students, (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2006; Kowalski et al., 2005; Wolak, Mitchell, & Finkelhor, 2006) the most common way that children and youth reported being cyberbullied was through instant messaging. Somewhat less common ways involved the use of chat rooms, e-mails, and messages posted on web sites. A study of younger children (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2006) showed that they were most often bullied through e-mail, comments on a web site, or in a chat room.
Where are children and youth cyber bullied?
In a recent telephone survey of preteens (6-11 year-olds) and teens (12-17 year-olds) (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2006):
- 45% of preteens and 30% of teens who had been cyber bullied received the messages while at school;
- 44% of preteens and 70% of teens who had been cyber bullied received the messages at home; and
- 34% of preteens and 25% of teens who had been cyber bullied received the messages while at a friend's house.
Do children tell others if they are cyber bullied?
According to one telephone survey of preteens and teens (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2006):
- 51% of preteens but only 35% of teens who had been cyber bullied had told their parents about their experience;
- 27% of preteens and only 9% of teens who had been cyber bullied had told a teacher;
- 44% of preteens and 72% of teens who had been cyber bullied had told a friend;
- 31% of preteens and 35% of teens who had been cyber bullied had told a brother or sister; and
- 16% of preteens and teens who had been cyber bullied had told no one.
Reprinted with the permission of the Department of Health and Human Services.
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