Guest Blog: Cyber Bullying

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(Last Updated On: November 25, 2014)

I became involved with the Izzy Dix Anti Bullying Memorial Group shortly after Izzy took her life due to bullying both online, in School and within the local Community.

Initially I was working on the petition for changes to ask.fm.
The petition in memory of the 14-year-old schoolgirl collected 145,000 signatures to shut down ask.fm, which has been linked to 15 plus teen suicide deaths around the world. The ask.fm website allows anyone to post anonymous questions and comments.

Now Latvian-based ask.fm has been bought by the totally unconnected American internet company Ask.com, better known as Ask Jeeves in the UK. Ask.com were fed-up with being wrongly linked with Ask-fm that its founder and CEO pledged to pour millions into making it safe for children. A huge victory for the campaign..

Parents and teens were contacting us via our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IzzyDixAntiBullyingMemorialPage
seeking help with both online bullying, (cyber bullying) and bullying in School.

So what is cyber bullying?
Cyber bullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as mobile phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.

Cyber bullying can take many forms:
-Sending mean messages or threats to a person’s email account or mobile phone
-Spreading rumours online or through texts.
-Posting hurtful or threatening messages on social networking sites or web pages
-Using a person’s name and photograph to open a ‘fake’ Facebook account and send damaging messages
-Taking unflattering pictures of a person and spreading them through mobile phones or the Internet
-Sexting, or circulating sexually suggestive pictures or messages about a person

Cyber bullying can be very damaging to adolescents and teens. It can lead to anxiety, depression, self harm and even suicide.

Also, once things are circulated on the Internet, they may never disappear, resurfacing at later times to renew the pain of cyber bullying.

Many cyber bullies think that bullying others online is funny. Cyber bullies may not realize the consequences for themselves of cyber bullying. The things teens post online now may reflect badly on them later when they apply for college or a job. Cyber bullies can lose their mobile phone or online accounts for cyber bullying. Also, cyber bullies and their parents may face legal charges for cyber bullying, and if the cyber bullying was sexual in nature or involved sexting, the results can include being registered as a sex offender.

Teens may think that if they use a fake name they won’t get caught, but there are many ways to track some one who is cyber bullying.

How does Cyber bullying differ from bullying?
-Cyber bullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reach a teen even when he or she is in the safety or his or her home. It can happen any time of the day or night.
-Cyber bullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience. It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to trace the source.
-Deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts, and pictures is extremely difficult after they have been posted or sent.

Teens who are being cyber bullied are often bullied in person as well. Additionally, Teens who are cyber bullied have a harder time getting away from the behaviour.

Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.
More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online.

Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their mobile phones or the Internet. Yet, fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported.

Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.

Over 80 percent of teens use a mobile phone regularly, making it the most popular form of technology and a common medium for cyber bullying
About half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying, and some experience it regularly.

Mean, hurtful comments and spreading rumours are the most common type of cyber bullying.

1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phone cameras.

Cyber bullying victims are more likely to have low self esteem and to consider suicide.

Cyber bullying is a form of teen violence that can do lasting harm to young people. Bullying statistics show that cyber bullying is a serious problem among teens. By being more aware of cyber bullying, teens and adults can help to fight it.