Online Bullying can be the beginning of the bullying or can develop later in the bullying cycle. It involves the use of technology to do the bullying and is also known as cyber bullying.
If it is just beginning, the Bully is building up courage and testing reactions of the target and peers, staying anonymous and having some “fun” with the target. The reaction of the target and those watching will determine if the bullying escalates. Technology is a part of our lives whether we parents like it or not. Our children live in a very different world.
ONLINE BULLYING Includes:
· Unwanted emails
· Nasty notes on your website
· Telling false stories or starting rumors about you online
· Using message boards to post embarrassing pictures
· Excluding you from joining groups your friends are involved with.
· Taunting and making fun of you in an online chat room
Sharing embarrassing photos or videos can also be included in this list
The taunts and messages are verbal but they have social repercussions and may include threats of physical violence.
If nothing is done about online bullying it can escalate. The Bully will be encouraged if peers join in or don’t get involved and the target does not take action. Then the bully feels a sense of power and the bullying can get worse. Other types of bullying can develop.
Or Online Bullying can be the last step of the bullying. The target already gets bullied at school, on the playground, verbally, physically and socially and this is just another avenue for the bully to use to reach out and “hit” the target and increase the reach of the bullying.
This can be very scary because the bullying can reach the target in their homes and if they have their own computer it can reach them right in their very own bedroom. The Person being bullied has nowhere to go to feel safe.
Imagine going home after a day of being taunted and threatened. Closing the door behind you and taking a deep breath when you get home. After a good meal you head upstairs to get your homework done… You start to feel a sense of fear and anxiety. You open your email…and There it is…more insults, more threats and more pain. So, you dodge it…don’t open it…you decide to go visit some friends in an online chat or facebook to avoid it. Unfortunately, bullies have found out about your safe zone online with your friends and you have been un-friended and there is an embarrassing picture posted… This is the life of a kid being bullied online.
This further de-humanizes the person. Isolates and causes them to be terrorized in their own home. It often includes all the other types of bullying, verbal, social and the threat of physical.
It may seem impossible but there are ways to deal with Online bullies.
“We are the ones we have been waiting for” June Jordan
It is up to each of us to take responsibility for our actions and in-actions. This is a social issue. It may seem there are only 2 parties involved. However, if the “audience” …all those who witness the bullying get involved it would have to stop.
If we discover it is our child who is doing the online bullying we need to work with them to problem solve and figure out how to meet their needs in a constructive way and help them make it right with the bullied child.
If we discover our child is being bullied online we need to problem solve with them to stop it and deal with the effects.
More suggested reading: