Anthony Magit, MD
What is Cyber-Bullying?
Adults typically use social networking websites as a way to stay in touch. However, today’s youth are often using these types of sites for a more sinister purpose. Bullying among adolescents has occurred for generations. With the event of increased technology, bullying in today’s society has expanded and become more extreme and more anonymous. Though it can affect all ages, the implications on the adolescent population are the most evident. Cyber-bullying is defined as the “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices”. (www.cyberbullying.us/cyberbullying_fact_sheet.pdf)
Some Cyber-Bullying facts:
- In November 2007 a 13 year old girl committed suicide after negative posts were put on MySpace by parents of an old friend, who posed as an online boyfriend.
- In South Korea, legislation to regulate the internet is pending after one of the country’s biggest young movie stars committed suicide after a negative blogging campaign against her.
- 4 in 10 teenagers report they have experienced some form of cyber-bullying according to a 2006 study by the National Crime Prevention Council.
- Cyber-bullying is more common among females with the highest prevalence in 15 and 16 year olds.
- California joined at least 13 other states on January 1, 2009, when it passed legislation to regulate cyber-bullying. As of January 1, 2009, students can be suspended or expelled from school for cyber-bullying.
Ways to protect against Cyber-Bullying:
- Never respond to a flame or online harassment.
- Always block a bully from sending future messages.
- Select the setting that allows you to preview all comments and posts of another user before they are made public
- “Buddies or friends” should be deleted if they post any comments or images that are meant to embarrass, threaten or harass.
Links to other information dealing with Cyber-Bullying: