Cyberbullying (internet harassment) as per wiki is “Cyber-bullying researchers Hinduja and Patchin define cyber-bullying as: “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the medium of electronic text” – Los Angles, California (JusticeNewsFlash.com) – The act of bullying has become easier with the introduction of text messaging and mobile connections in classrooms across the globe. Now, bullies can send short vulgar and threatening messages through a text without teachers or principals ever knowing. Bullying can now be carried out through E-mails, instant messaging, text messages and chat rooms where supervision is minimal.
Here are some statistics recently discovered about cyberbullying:
* 18% of students in grades 6-8 said they had been cyberbullied at least once in the last couple of months; and 6% said it had happened to them 2 or more times (Kowalski et al., 2005).
* 11% of students in grades 6-8 said they had cyberbullied another person at least once in the last couple of months, and 2% said they had done it two or more times (Kowalski et al., 2005).
* 19% of regular Internet users between the ages of 10 and 17 reported being involved in online aggression; 15% had been aggressors, and 7% had been targets (Ybarra & Mitchell, 2004).
* 17% of 6-11 year-olds and 36% of 12-17-year-olds reported that someone said threatening or embarrassing things about them through e-mail, instant messages, web sites, chat rooms, or text messages (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2006).
* Cyber bullying has increased in recent years. In nationally representative surveys of 10-17 year-olds, twice as many children and youth indicated that they had been victims and perpetrators of online harassment in 2005 compared with 1999/2000 (Wolak, Mitchell, & Finkelhor, 2006).
According to an Associated Press report, Assembly Bill 86, which was introduced by Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance, passed the Senate by a 21-11 vote and now heads back to the Assembly for consideration of Senate amendments. If passed, the bill would permit expulsion of students who bully through aggressive electronic communication. A difficulty proposed is the fact that unlike physical bullying, cyberbulling does not come with much evidence, unless of course, the child reports it. Laws such as these would help children and young teens to know that bullying cannot and will not be accepted and if committed, there will be dire consequences for the offenders. School boards, teachers and parents also must enforce this method of no tolerance for harassment via technology.
picture courtesy: news.research.ohiou.edu