Seven: Cyber Bullying

What is cyber bullying?

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, cyber bullying is using the Internet, cell phones, video game systems, or other technology to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person. 

Cox Communications and the Pew Internet & American Life Project, found that 93% of youth in the U.S. are online and 73% have a cell phone. Another study conducted by the Cyber Bullying Research Center, reveals approximately 20% of young people reported experiencing cyber bullying in their lifetimes.  Another study by Cox Communications and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children indicates that about 1 in 10 teens have cyber bullied someone online or by text message and 16% have seen or heard of a friend who bullied.

Some examples of cyber bullying include:

  • Sending mean or threatening e-mails, messages, or texts
  • Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others
  • Sending or forwarding private messages to others
  • Sharing explicit pictures with others without consent
  • Starting rumors via text message or online  
  • Creating fake online profiles on websites such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc. to make fun of people

Terms you should know:

Flaming: online verbal attacks or fights via electronic messages. 

Harassment: repeated messages of an offensive or derogatory nature.

Cyberstalking: repeated messages of an intimidating character that make a person feel afraid for his or her physical safety. 

Denigration: online “put-downs,” including sending or posting hurtful gossip or rumors to cause a person embarrassment. 

Impersonation: using someone’s e-mail account to send out messages, supposedly from the account holder, that reflect badly on that person and may cause trouble, shame, or embarrassment. 

Outing and Trickery: disclosure of someone’s private information online, sending or posting embarrassing images, or deceptions leading another person to reveal personal details about him or herself. 

Exclusion: deliberately keeping someone out of an online group, such as a buddy list. 

What students should understand:

  • There can be consequences to actions you take online (schools, jobs, personal). 
  • You do not always know who you are talking to. 
  • Your messages can be re-broadcast to others. 
  • Tell an adult immediately if you receive a threatening, harassing, or upsetting message. 
  • Remember - never give out personal information online. 
  • Items that are posted online or texted can be traced to their original source. 

What schools should do:

  • Add cyber bullying to existing anti-harassment or bullying policies. 
  • Provide training and education for students, teachers and parents. 
  • Let students know where they can report an incident or seek help.
  • Take cyber bullying seriously. 

Form more cyber-bullying information, check out:

The National Crime Prevention Council at www.ncpc.orgThis site provides resources on many forms of bullying, harassment and crime. Many of the resources can be printed and shared with your community.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has a website dedicated to helping schools develop a comprehensive approach to confront harassment and bullying through electronic media. 

The Cyber Bully Research Center provides up-to-date information and research regarding cyber bullying. Use this site to find fact sheets, current trends, resources and other books to address cyber bullying in your schools and communities. is a federal anti-bully website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This site offers resources for parents, schools and students around all forms of bullying and harassment, including cyber bullying. The site also features information on bullying against LGBT youth.   

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