Cyberbullying is bullying that has been taken to a whole new level of cruelty utilizing modern-day technology.
Any grade school, middle or high school child free to use a cell phone, iPad or a computer without parental or school official guidance and monitoring, has the ability to use the technology as a weapon.
Allowing children to have social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter and engage freely in chat room conversations, as well as email and text messaging without adult supervision makes it all too easy for them to either become the victim of cyberbullying or to act as bullies themselves.
What is Cyberbullying?
There is a big difference from the bullying of yesteryear when someone made fun of your shoes, or new hair cut in the hall at school or on the walk home, to the bullies of today who slander a classmate relentlessly 24/7. In the hall, on the playground, and through Facebook postings and tweets to most of the student body, the humiliation never ends and often escalates as everyone jumps on the mud-slinging bandwagon. Cruel messages are often accompanied by photos or altered photos adding insult to injury; pushing victims to the edge.
Victim or Bully – Both Encompass Consequences
Stopbullying.gov is an invaluable resource for parents dealing with bullying on every level; victims of bullying, having a child that is a bully, or an innocent bystander being affected after witnessing bullying.
According to stopbullying.gov, symptoms of kids who are bullied (in person and/or in cyberspace) include:
- Low self-esteem
- Drop in grades
- Skipping school, faking an illness to stay home, or dropping out all together
- Substance abuse
- Some seek and plot violent methods of revenge
Cyberbullying that includes violent threats, sexually explicit verbiage or photos, stalking, hate crimes or the sharing of photos or videos taken without the victims knowledge where privacy is expected is a crime. Report these instances immediately to local police.
Law’s change state by state. Learn the laws specific to your state here.