|What is Online Bullying?|
Bullying has always been a controversial and prevalent issue in many American schools. It normally takes place in school yards where students converge and gather. While most victims do not suffer intense physical abuse, there are a lot of instances where injury can become serious enough for parents to decide to transfer their child to another school.
Over the years, schoolyard bullying has been brought to the attention of parents and school authorities. This meant that students who are frequent victims of bullying are subjected to discussions and therapy in order to prevent the abuse from happening again. Support groups are really helping a lot in stopping this social problem permanently. Sadly though, another form of bullying is taking its toll on our children.
Cyber bullying is one of the key disadvantages of technology. It happens when a child or teen is harassed, embarrassed, humiliated, or threatened online by another child or teen.[i]
The main characteristic of this kind of abuse is the use of the internet, web technology, and cell phones. Also called online bullying, it is a problem many American teens and children are facing, but the kind of attention given to it by parents is not enough for children to know how to handle it.
The common objective of online bullying is embarrassing or defaming the character or personality of a person. It focuses on the use of false accusation and information to let the victim feel ridiculed, mocked, and harmed. When the bully sees or feels the reaction of the victim, it will just encourage him or her to do it over and over again. This type of encounter may be experienced by a kid as early as in the 2nd grade and most of the bullies are kids from the same school or neighborhood.
As a parent, the first thing you need to know is if your child is actually suffering from online bullying. If the person who threatens or exploits your child online is an adult, it is not bullying, but rather a case of online harassment or exploitation – which of course entails criminal liability. On the other hand, when a fellow child or teen is the one who harasses your kid online, then that’s bullying.
Unlike online exploitation and trafficking of minors, bullying does not usually carry an organized method. Since it is done by a child or teen bully, harassment is limited to boundaries of a young person’s imagination and knowledge in computers and technology. The bully may play such a role at one point and later become the bullied the next time. There is no such thing as serial bullies because the perpetrators are just young and often misunderstood individuals who might end up regretting what they did.
Nonetheless, this kind of harassment might reach a point where victims become desperate, violent, and suicidal. It involves not just a single encounter, but a series of correspondence between the bully and victim, which is characterized by making rude actions, humiliating comments and posts, giving death threats, using profane language, and blackmail. Furthermore, the gravity of cyber bullying may even lead to a harassment charge or juvenile delinquency. Whatever the result is, both the bully and the bullied are led to a very troublesome childhood that can eventually lead to deviant behavior as they grow older.[ii]