The Bully and Cyber-Bully

According to the Bully Police (see http://www.bullypolice.org/), cyber-bullying is more predominant among girls and can take many forms including: harassment through e-mail, instant messaging, text messaging, blog postings, and other electronic communications; posting embarrassing or doctored images; signing someone up to a pornographic web site; and planting statements about a person that results in third-party stalking and harassment.

No parent wants to learn that their child is involved in bullying other children, but some children find bullying to be an effective method for gaining strength and power. Learn the signs that your child may be bullying others:

  • Has been involved in bullying incidents at school or has been the target of bullies in the past.
  • Avoiding conversations about computer and cell phone activities.
  • Quickly switching screens or closing programs when you walk by the computer.
  • Laughing excessively while using the computer or cell phone.
  • Using multiple online accounts, or an account that is not his or her own.
  • Spending an unusual amount of time using the computer or cell phone.
  • Becoming extremely upset when access to the computer or cell phone is denied.

Why Do Kids Cyberbully?

As outlined in “Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard” by Hinduja and Patchin, and “Teens and Cyberbullying” research by the National Crime Prevention Council.

  • 22% motivated by revenge
  • 18.7% said the victim deserved it
  • 10.6 % said they did it for fun
  • 3.9% hated the victim
  • 3.5% pressured by peers
  • 2.8% retaliated against a bully
  • 2.5% venting anger
  • 5.7% other reasons

Further comments included:

  • They think it’s funny (81%)
  • They don’t think it’s a big deal
  • They don’t think about the consequences
  • They are encouraged by friends
  • They think everybody cyberbullies
  • They think they won’t get caught

Proactive steps to stop cyber-bullying behaviour at home:

  1. Limit your child’s time spent online, and limit online tools (computers, iPods, cell phones etc) to a common area of the house so you can more easily monitor use.
  2. Some groups of girls, even nice girls, will cyber-bully for fun when 2 or more of them are together using an online tool. Have your daughter and her friends do something different than use online tools when they are together.
  3. Be clear and consistent about your expectations regarding how your child behaves on the Internet
  4. Enforce the consequences. The more meaningful the consequence to the teen, the less likely they will break the rules.
  5. Learn about the digital devices your child uses.
  6. Communicate and be part of your child’s world!