There are bullies and then there are cyberbullies. While bullying typically happens at school or work, cyberbullying takes place over cyberspace. This includes both Internet and cell phone communication. Like physical bullying, cyberbullying is aimed at younger people, such as children and teenagers. It may involve harassing, threatening, embarrassing, or humiliating young people online.
Cyberbullying can take many forms. The following are just a few examples:
- Making fun of another user in an Internet chat room.
- Harassing a user over an instant messaging session.
- Posting derogatory messages on a user's Facebook or MySpace page.
- Circulating false rumors about someone on social networking websites.
- Publishing lewd comments about another person on a personal blog.
- Posting unflattering pictures of another user on the Web.
- Spamming another user with unwanted e-mail messages.
- Sending threatening or provocative e-mails.
- Repeatedly calling another person's cell phone.
- Sending unsolicited text messages to another user.
Cyberbullying may seem humorous to some people, but it is a serious matter. Kids who are bullied online often feel hurt and rejected by their peers. This can lead to low self esteem and depression. Therefore, cyberbullying should not be tolerated and should be reported to authorities.
NOTE: Technically, cyberbullying takes place between two young people. When adults are involved, it may be called cyber-harassment or cyberstalking.