Lakeside

Cyberbullying: 24/7 Harassment

Research is diverse, but conservative estimates suggest that at least 10 percent of teenagers between 7th and 9th grades experience some form of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying: literally, the act that’s difficult to follow

Cyberbullying can take the form of harassment, threats, accusations, public embarrassment or blackmail. And now with video technology and cell phone cameras revealing photos can also be included, unfortunately, often without the subject’s knowledge.

2 facts about cyberbullying
Statistics show many teens have experienced an incidence of cyberbullying

It is very difficult to detect the cyberbully due to the array of venues for bullying. Since the Internet is used for so many purposes, it is an easily accessible and nearly perpetual means for perpetrators to abuse their victims. Perpetrators of cyberbullying can use cell phones, chat rooms, email, SMS (text messaging) and social networking venues such as Facebook and YouTube.

Consider that the cyberbully:

  • Can remain anonymous and yet be completely familiar with the victim
  • Easily bully because there is no face-to-face communication
  • Manipulate typical relational boundaries.

Instances of cyberbullying can be serious or in jest, and since adolescents are known for risk-taking behavior, it is easy to see how this technology could be exploited.

Feeling oppressed and unsafe

Because it is can occur seven days a week at any hour, cyberbullying feels life-dominating. It feels oppressive to some teenagers because no matter where one is on the computer, the cyberbully can be lurking. Unlike school bullys that are limited by environment, the cyberbully can be online at any time. Research shows most teenage cyberbullies target teenagers from their same school–which gives them some knowledge about their victims. This reality can often create fear and safety concerns.

Average teen guy
Cyberbullying has many venues

Cyberbullying can often be used to compensate for a variety of peer relationship problems. For instance,  if a teenager feels inferior to peers, he or she can regain that sense of power and dominance through bullying on the Internet. Therefore, the Web can serve as a way for those who are victims of bullying to get their own sense of personal justice.

What can parents do?

Parents should learn all they can about technology and help their teenagers learn appropriate online behavior, thereby playing an important role in preventing bullying.

  • Show interest in your teen’s use of technology
  • Openly discuss internet use
  • Learn what web sites your teenagers regularly visit

Parents can sometimes overreact about Internet bullying. If the reaction is extreme, and as a consequence, the parents do things to embarrass their teenager, the teenager will avoid telling them about other instances of bullying.

One thing parents should not do is blame victimized teenagers. Instead, we should help them end the harassment and protect them from cyberbullies. We want to join them in handling this extremely damaging  issue.

If there is a severe threat to your teenager emotionally or physically, you should go to your local police department with evidence of the internet threat. They will advise you as to how to proceed to further investigate the source of the bullying.

It is important to be mindful of and engaged in technology to be wary of this dangerous world of cyberbullying. The potential harm to our teenagers is too great to ignore.

Gerry Vassar, President and CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

4 Comments

  1. Mike Bogdanski

    Great facts about this covert method of bullying. It is a hidden danger that needs us to be vigilant as parents.

    1. Gerry Vassar

      Thank you for your interest and recent comment to our blog post on Cyberbullying. We appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts. We hope you will continue to read future posts and comment.

  2. atama dindyal

    i am a mother to a teen, recently he was riding his bicycle in our neighborhood, and some of the neighborhood children were outside playing. As my son rids back and forth a few of the teens decides to tell him not to ride bass them, my son ignores them and kept on with his business. soon, the other children decides to throw sticks and pine cones at him while he rides buy. Now, furious as my son was decides to take the better side of the situation, and instead on acting in self defense and ignorance and attack the other teens, he decides to come home and ask me to address the situation before he react in and violent manner.
    I approach the teens and asked to speak to their mother, the mother came out and says “so what” i stated if the harassment is not address by you i will call the police to press charges for harassment. it escalated that i called the officers to respond. the responding officers asked about the situation and i told him. then he went to the parents. the teens were told to go inside and about 8 of the elementary age children remained. the parents proceed to telling the officers that it was the elementary aged children committed the harassment. the officer came back and stated ” you called me over hear to address your son being bullied buy kids. I stated no, it was the teens that are inside. he said that there is no harassment and my son needs to keep to his side of the subdivision. i asked the officer if their were any-wear else we were segregated from in our neighborhood. And can i get a police report filed of the incident, mentioning the teens by description. he said “no” he will give me one mentioning the smaller children, so when i go to court to press charges the judge will :laugh and throw the case out. now my son standing buy my side says ” mom, if you and i were white, like the responding officers and the bullying children the situation would have been different, and i would haven not been recommended to be segregated” ” this situation, reminded me of the article of Apartheid’s in America. I was unable to address my son and his discomfort with the law. And, now an officer of the law reinforces his belief that the only comfort that he has, is to segregate himself, and racial bullying is accepted.
    I want to per-suite justice for him, and i do not know how?

    1. Gerry Vassar

      Thank you for your interest and recent comment to our blog post on Cyberbullying. We appreciate you sharing your experiences, and we will give consideration to your suggestions as we feature other topics. We hope you will continue to read future posts and comment.

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