Cyber Bullying - The Clique of Friends Known as The Mean Girls

One type of cyber bullying is referred to as “Mean Girls” this may be a clique of friends (not necessary all girls) who decide it would be fun to publicly humiliate another person. There are several ways in which this humiliation occurs.

An embarrassing photo or video gets posted to a blog, Facebook page, or Youtube.

One member posts a negative IM (Instant Message) to all their friends who, in turn, post to all of their friends and so on.

A comment is made in a chat room or forum and then continues to feed by other members of the clique.

These victims are already struggling with new emotions, a body that’s going through physical changes, and hormones that change their emotional state from one moment to the next. The kind of mental anguish cyber bullying can cause can lead to depression and ultimately suicide. When suicide results from bullying it has been given the unofficial name of cyberbully. The most recent example of suicide resulting from a case of combined physical bullying and cyber bullying is that of Phoebe on January 14, 2010, in Massachusetts. She was assaulted both physically and online. This lead to severe depression and eventually suicide.This cyber bully/suicide relationship has been around for years, only recently has it piqued the interest of the news reporting and research community and gotten the attention it deserves.Since 2007, Dr. Justin W. Patchin and Dr. Sameer Hinduja have collected information from over 6,000 students between the ages of 11 and 18. Here are a few of their findings. For a more complete explanation of their findings, visit Cyber bullying Research Center.

Roughly 33% have been victimized by cyber bullying.

About 56% of cyber bullying takes place in chat rooms.

Of those bullied, 22% feel sad (sadness can be a precursor to suicide).

The method of cyber bullying differs by gender. Girls tend to spread rumors. Boys will say bad things online or post hurtful or embarrassing photos or videos.

Why do people participate in Online Bullying?
Patchin and Hinduja have created a list of reasons given for participating in cyber bullying.
Three reasons make up the bulk (over 50%) of the reasons given.
1.Revenge accounts for 22%.
2.Nearly 19% said the victim deserved it.
3.Overly 10.5% said they did it for fun.

Write all three are disturbing, perhaps the most shocking is the idea that it might be considered “fun” to cause a peer emotional anguish on this public forum.

What Victims and Parents Should Do When Cyber bullying Occurs
The best way to deal with cyber bullying is as quickly as possible after it is discovered. Make a Difference for kids suggests a list of actions to be taken.

Don’t erase any electronic evidence (email, blog or Facebook posts, chat room dialogs, etc.)

File a complaint with the Internet Service Provider, social network site, or Cell Phone Company.

Contact the school if the cyber bullying may be school related.

If a threat is made, contact law enforcement.

So far, teen suicide as a result of cyber bullying has been associated with four cases in the United States and many more abroad. To see this trend does not increase, a concerted effort must be made by parents, educators, and law enforcement to provide training and prevention to the public.

Beware of the Cyber Bully
The i-SAFE America research team has discovered a disturbing trend-cyber bullying has affected more than half the students surveyed, on both sides of the issue. Their latest assessments surveyed more than 1500 students ranging from fourth to eighth grade across the country. They found out.

58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online.

53% of kids admit having said something mean or hurtful things to another online

42% of kids have been bullied online.

The tradition of home as a refuge from bullies on the school playground is over. The internet is the new play-ground, and there are no off hours. The popularity of instant messages, e-mail, WebPages, and blogging means kids are a target 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Even worse, i_SAFE found out 58 percent of kids have not told their parents or any adult about something mean or hurtful that had happened to them online. Teachers and school officials need to be aware of the rising trend of cyber bullying as incidents online are brought onto school grounds.

I-Safe offers these tips to share with students who are being cyber bullied:
Tell a trusted adult and keep telling them until they take action.

Never open, read or respond to messages from cyber bullies.

If it is school related, tell your school. All schools have bullying solutions

Do not erase the messages. They may be needed to take action.

If bullied through chat or IM, the bully can often be blocked.

If you are threatened with harm, call the police.

Above all, students are the cure to the cyber bullying epidemic. By speaking out and telling adults they can stop bullying online and make the internet experience a more positive one.

Cyber Bullying: Breaking It Down
Cyber Bullying is verbal harassment that occurs during online activities. Cyber Bullying can take many forms. These are a few:
A threatening e-mail

Nasty instant messaging session

Repeated notes sent to the cell phone

A website set up to mock others

“Borrowing” someone’s screen name and pretending to be them while posting a message.

Forwarding supposedly private messages, pictures, or video to others.

References:

Cyber bullying as a Factor in Teen Suicide, Retrieved on February 17, 2012 from:

http://joe-nowk.suite101.com/cyberbullying-as-a-factor-in-teen-suicide-a...

i-SAFE Cyber Bullying, Beware of the Cyber Bully, Retrieved on February 17 2012

from: http://www.isafe.org/imgs/pdf/education/CyberBullying.pdf.