CYBER - Bullying
A “New Form of Bullying”  
 

School violence is an issue in the news and on the minds of educators and parents. We have always known bullying as a face to face interaction.  In the past, we would encourage our children to ignore the bully, and eventually he/she will stop.  However, the problem of bullying hasn't gone away and it has now taken a new twist.  It is called cyberbullying.

 

Cyberbullying is bullying that occurs on the internet.  Students will harass/bully others in chat rooms, through emails, and ESPECIALLY through instant messaging.  It can often involve racial, religious and/or cultural slurs.   Often your child will know the person; however, this may not always be the case.

 

Cyberbullying is different because the bully does not see the victim, yet the bully can "contact" the victim whenever they like.  Since the bully does not see the reaction, he/she is removed from the situation - worse yet, the bully thinks his/her actions are acceptable since there is no "physical contact".   Yet the effects of Cyberbulling are equally as devastating to our children as if were to also happen on the playground at school.

 

Cyberbullying usually occurs after school.  It is important that parents are aware of this problem and what their child is doing on the computer.

 

Here are some questions that can help a parent start up a conversation:


 

Have you had any direct experience with cyberbullying?  
Do you think children say things that they would not say face-to-face?  Why?
 

Why do you think children are reluctant to tell their parents or guardians when they are being bullied over the internet?


 

For more information on cyberbullying you can go to http://cyberbully.org



 

Thanks for reading,



 

Jon Zimmerman





 

(thanks to Beth Janowitz of Webber Middle School)