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Bullying is no longer restricted to playground taunts or hallway shoves. With the advent of social media, message boards and other web-based platforms, bullies now have a new channel through which they can pick on their victims: the internet.
Cyberbullying is an act of aggression that occurs via electronic media, such as email, chat rooms, websites, text messages, instant messaging and more. During the past two decades, it has become serious problem in schools throughout the country.
Similar to other forms of bullying, cyberbulling can be used to:
- spread lies and rumors
- send hurtful messages
- embarrass through video and photographs
- trick the victim into revealing personal information
Social networks and message boards can give bullies a wider audience to abuse their victims. What's more, the internet never sleeps. So while bullying victims were once afforded a break from the verbal and physical chastisement when school was finished, cyberbullying has the capacity to continue around the clock.
According to a study from the Cyberbullying Research Center, 1 in 5 students between the ages of 11 and 18 has been the victim of cyberbullying at some point in his or her life. There are many detrimental consequences to cyberbullying, including:
- intense feelings of depression, sadness or anger
- low self-esteem
- fear or anxiety of going to school
- a tendency to lash out
- poor performance in school
- suicide or suicidal thoughts
Further complicating the issue to stop cyberbullying is the anonymity provided by the internet and electronic messages. Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying does not occur face to face, which means the aggressor can remove his or her identity from the situation, protecting him- or herself from being linked to the act.
This anonymity may also provide someone who would not otherwise do so an excuse to bully another person. According to the Cyberbulling Research Center's report, 20 percent of those surveyed admit to having cyberbullied others, and 10 percent say they have been both bully and victim.
Cyberbullying is perhaps the most difficult form of bullying to prevent. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers several tips on how to stop cyberbullying from occurring in your school.
- Identify and monitor the problem
- Know the facts - Why does cyberbullying occur?
- Develop prevention strategies and test them regularly
- Spread the word through assemblies, fliers and other forms of communication
These efforts to stop bullying can be enhanced with the uTip anti-bullying solution from e2Campus, which enables individuals to report bullying through text message. This ensures that the proper personnel are aware of a situation and are able to handle it immediately and effectively.