October has been designated National Anti-Bullying Month in order to call attention to the serious bullying issues that are taking place within our schools, neighborhoods and playgrounds. But today, bullying goes beyond name calling at recess and mean kids in the classroom. The advent of the internet and cell phones has created an entirely new way for kids to harass one another.
"Not just the internet, there's flicker, xboxes and playstations, or cell phones, there are 67 different ways to cyber-harrass with a cellphone..."- Parry Aftab, founder of Wired Moms
This is the new bullying, cyberbullying. According to Stop Bullying, "cyberbullying" is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is NEVER called cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is far more widespread than some might believe. According to Stop Bullying Now!, a study by Fight Crime investigated how often children (6-11 year-olds) and teens (12-17-year-olds) had been cyberbullied during the previous year. One-third of teens and one-sixth of the children reported that someone said threatening or embarrassing things about them online.
In a survey of middle school students, Hinduja and Patchin (2009) found that:
- 9% had been cyberbullied in the last 30 days
- 17% had been cyberbullied during their lifetime
- 8% had cyberbullied others in the last 30 days
- 18% had done so during their lifetime
This is a call to action to moms and parents everywhere to join in: "Don't Stand By, Stand Up!"
Here are some websites for more information: