Cyberbullying is defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as “the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person, often done anonymously”. For many children, the internet plays a huge role in their social life. Cyberbullying is similar to other types of bullying except that it takes place online or through text messaging. Victims of cyberbullying may experience many of the same effects as children who are bullied in person, such as a drop in grades or low self-esteem.
According to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, cyberbullying 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.
Cyberbullying is included under H.B. 1067, 2008: 24 Pennsylvania Statutes §1303.1-A. This bill requires all school systems in Pennsylvania to establish policies prohibiting bullying.
The Center for Safe Schools offers assistance for bullying prevention.
The National Crime Prevention Council has various resources regarding cyberbullying and includes helpful tips for parents and teachers.