Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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CYBER BULLYING

Bullying was once an act limited to playgrounds or school hallways. The Internet has opened up a whole new world of socialization for young people through e-mail, Web sites, instant messaging, chat rooms, blogs and text messages. The increased use of the Internet and prevalence of computers in schools and homes has transformed bullying into a new kind of threat for children. It has given school "bullies" a new platform on which to intimidate and harass others. Cyber bullying is quickly becoming a challenging issue facing young people, parents and educators.

What is Cyber Bullying?

Cyber bullying is sending or posting harmful or cruel text or images using the Internet or other digital communication devices, including cell phones and PDA's (personal digital assistants). 

Cyber bullying can include:

  • Sending cruel, vicious or threatening e-mails.
  • Creating Web sites that have stories, pictures and jokes ridiculing others.
  • Posting pictures of other students/kids online with derogatory phrases or questions attached to them.
  • Using someone else's e-mail to send vicious or incriminating e-mails to others.
  • Using instant messaging tools to harass others.

Age and Gender

Cyber bullying is not limited to high school students. In many cases younger children, who have grown up with computers and the Internet, have a greater knowledge of the technology and engage in online bullying more than students in older grades. There is often extensive bullying behavior in middle school-aged children.

A common assumption is that boys bully more than girls. Boys do engage in more physical bullying, but girls are often more active in cyber bullying.

According to recent studies, nearly 60 percent of boys who are classified as bullies in grades six through nine were convicted of at least one crime by the age of 24. Even more dramatic, 40 percent of them had three or more convictions by age 24.
- "Bullying Prevention is Crime Prevention" A 2003 report by Fight Crime Invest in Kids

The following links are for students, parents and teachers to learn more about Cyber Bullying.