What is Cyber Bullying?
You have probably seen viscous comments in forums or even in places like YouTube or at the end of a post. This sort of hate mail is a form of bullying. Some people prefer to carry this out online. It gets worse than this. You may get a virus sent to your website or to your computer by someone who has the hacking abilities and also just want to be out right nasty.
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It may have been a joke to get into somebody else's Facebook account and send messages, but this has become out of control and this is something that cyber bullies enjoy doing. There is nothing friendly about the messages or status updates they send. In fact it can ruin your relationships. Kids who get into this habit may see it as a joke, but if you post rude comments on your friends wall, it can cause some serious issues to develop.
Was this Necessary?
Ryan Halligan - a Tragedy
Ryan Halligan is not the only one who could not take it anymore. There have been many teenagers who have decided that enough was enough and have taken their own life. When a bully starts sending messages to their victim, which starts off as " you are ugly", or "you are a loser", that is bad enough, however, when they start saying, "why don't you just kill yourself?", one can only wonder just how long it is going to take.
Recently, there have been a couple of states that have taken bullying more seriously. Of course, no charge is going to bring back a loved son or daughter, it will reduce the incidents.
Why Do People Cyber Bully?
Just like bullying in schools, there are many reason why kids will take this form of action. It can be just for entertainment or a bit of a giggle. However, they may have feelings of anger or frustration, and this is their way of dealing with it. Obviously, there are different levels here so sometimes you will find that a particular case will be more severe when it comes to hackers and viruses.
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This is simply malicious. This is different from the bully in the playground, because you are not seeing the victim everyday. This is based on communication.
How to Prevent Cyber Bullying
This starts with eduction. A lot of parents are not even aware of this. They don't know what is going on in little Johnny's room. He may be working on a school project. In the mean time, he is learning about the ins and outs of hacking, sending trojan viruses and giving other kids a hard time from the comfort of his computer. Once you know about this, you will know how to handle it.
A lot of kids who are in this situation, don't even realize they are doing anything wrong and parents need to teach them about etiquette. It is just like having good manners offline. The same thing applies online. Maybe you can learn a thing or two along the way, because it is not rare to find the odd mom or dad being given a bad name on some of the internet forums.
As punishment, it would help to take away their accounts so they can't have access to the internet. If you have found out that your child has been doing this, then you have to monitor the situation very carefully. Talk to him or her and you should probably let the school know as well. A good guidance counselor at the school will be helpful in the situation.
Teach your children about respect and also let them know about the consequences of their actions. Instead of releasing their anger online, help them to get out of the house and participate in sport, for example.
What about the Victim?
It is just as serious to keep an eye on your kids to ensure that they are not getting bullied. It is probably very tough to tell if they don't communicate and that is why you have to listen for any signs and really take note when they speak of anything. There have been kids who have committed suicide over this, so this is no laughing matter. Ryan Halligan is just one of the victims that could not take it anymore and decided to end his life at the age of 13.
Some signs to look for
- Your child is looking a lot more withdrawn or upset after using a social network.
- He or she suddenly closes down Twitter or Facebook.
- They are either spending a lot less time on their social network accounts or more time.
Approach the matter gently if you feel that your child is being bullied because often they will be too embarrassed to come to their parents. A lot of the time lies, rumors and obscene photos and spread all over the internet of them. Cyberbullies should understand what they are doing to their victims and the sooner they get over this hurdle, the better off they will be in years to come.
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