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What is cyberbullying?


With the Internet now incorporated into children’s daily lives, harassment can take many forms. Cyberbullies use technology such as e-mail, instant messaging, cell phones, and websites to spread rumors and gossip, steal passwords to assume someone else’s identity, post pictures of someone without their consent, and threaten or harass with offensive language. The speed at which information travels online can be frightening, and because most people use aliases, cyberbullies are hard to track.

 

A study conducted by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children shows that online harassment of youth ages 10 to 17 has increased in the last five years.1 This form of harassment is particularly disturbing for children because it is most often their peers who are harassing them. According to one victim, the difference between being bullied at school and being bullied on the Internet is that you cannot get away from it. Cyberbullying follows you, even after you get home from school.

 

 

1David Finkelhor, Kimberly J. Mitchell, and Janis Wolak. Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later. Alexandria, Virginia: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2006, pages 10-11.