Cyberbullying and Sexting Prevention Tips
Electronic Resources (Click on link to retrieve document):
Build Awareness about Cyberbullying
Social networking and cell phones have become regular means of communication for young students, but sometimes kids take the texting too far. With many states implementing cyberbullying legislation, schools are often caught in the middle. How should a school balance expectations from parents with its actual role when it comes to online harassment? Check out the resources below to learn more about how to address and handle the growing phenomenon of cyberbullying.
Help students understand when texting, instant messaging, or social networking goes too far by introducing them to That's Not Cool, a site that provides kids resources for identifying and dealing with harassment.
Find articles, professional development materials and resources about cyber safety, Web 2.0 tools, and online harassment that you can disseminate to your staff.
Do you feel adrift trying to keep up with the latest trends in social media and what your students are doing online? Check out the blog of social media researcher danah boyd to learn about online privacy, youth culture, social media, sexting and more. A Thin Line
Engage students in open dialogue about online harassment using these resources from A Thin Line. Real-life scenarios, forums, expert advice, videos and interactive features provide teens with a wealth of information about behavior that is "over the line".
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is similar to other types of bullying, except it takes place online and through text messages sent to cell phones. Cyberbullies can be classmates, online acquaintances, and even anonymous users, but most often they do know their victims.
Some examples of ways kids bully online are
- Sending someone mean or threatening emails, instant messages, or text messages
- Excluding someone from an instant messenger buddy list or blocking their email for no reason
- Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others
- Breaking into someone's email or instant message account to send cruel or untrue messages while posing as that person
- Creating websites to make fun of another person such as a classmate or teacher
- Using websites to rate peers as prettiest, ugliest, etc.
Both boys and girls sometimes bully online and just as in face-to-face bullying, tend to do so in different ways. Boys more commonly bully by sending messages of a sexual nature or by threatening to fight or hurt someone. Girls more often bully by spreading rumors and by sending messages that make fun of someone or exclude others. They also tell secrets.
How Are Teens Cyberbullied?
Being a victim of cyberbullying can be a common and painful experience. Some youth who cyberbully
- Pretend they are other people online to trick others
- Spread lies and rumors about victims
- Trick people into revealing personal information
- Send or forward mean text messages
- Post pictures of victims without their consent
When teens were asked why they think others cyberbully, 81 percent said that cyberbullies think it’s funny. Other teens believe that youth who cyberbully
- Don’t think it’s a big deal
- Don’t think about the consequences
- Are encouraged by friends
- Think everybody cyberbullies
- Think they won’t get caught
How Do Victims React?
Contrary to what cyberbullies may believe, cyberbullying is a big deal, and can cause a variety of reactions in teens. Some teens have reacted in positive ways to try to prevent cyberbullying by
- Blocking communication with the cyberbully
- Deleting messages without reading them
- Talking to a friend about the bullying
- Reporting the problem to an Internet service provider or website moderator
Many youth experience a variety of emotions when they are cyberbullied. Youth who are cyberbullied report feeling angry, hurt, embarrassed, or scared. These emotions can cause victims to react in ways such as
- Seeking revenge on the bully
- Avoiding friends and activities
- Cyberbullying back
Some teens feel threatened because they may not know who is cyberbullying them. Although cyberbullies may think they are anonymous, they can be found. If you are cyberbullied or harassed and need help, save all communication with the cyberbully and talk to a parent, teacher, law enforcement officer, or other adult you trust.
How Can I Prevent Cyberbullying?
Teens have figured out ways to prevent cyberbullying. Follow in the footsteps of other quick-thinking teens and
- Refuse to pass along cyberbullying messages
- Tell friends to stop cyberbullying
- Block communication with cyberbullies
- Report cyberbullying to a trusted adult
You can also help prevent cyberbullying by
- Speaking with other students, as well as teachers and school administrators, to develop rules against cyberbullying
- Raising awareness of the cyberbullying problem in your community by holding an assembly and creating fliers to give to younger kids or parents
- Sharing NCPC’s anti-cyberbullying message with friends
Don’t forget that even though you can’t see a cyberbully or the bully’s victim, cyberbullying causes real problems. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online. Delete cyberbullying. Don’t write it. Don’t forward it.
What Else Can I Do To Stay Cyber-safe?
Remember that the Internet is accessed by millions of people all over the world, not just your friends and family. While many Internet users are friendly, some may want to hurt you. Below are some ways to stay cyber-safe:
(Cyberbullying information retrieved from http://www.ncpc.org)
- Never post or share your personal information online (this includes your full name, address, telephone number, school name, parents’ names, credit card number, or Social Security number) or your friends’ personal information.
- Never share your Internet passwords with anyone, except your parents.
- Never meet anyone face-to-face whom you only know online.
- Talk to your parents about what you do online.
What is “sexting”?
Sexting is the act of sending pictures of a sexual nature between cell phones, or other electronic media such as the Internet. It is often done between minors.
How common is sexting?
Some 20 percent of teens admit to participating in sexting, according to a nationwide survey by the National Campaign to Support Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
How does sexting affect youth?
There can be a bullying aspect to sexting. In one case in Cincinnati, a girl committed suicide after photos she sent to a boyfriend were sent to hundreds of people. The girl received harassing messages through her MySpace and Facebook accounts, and in person.(Sexting information retrieved from http://www.aasa.org/)
THE NAT’L YOUTH ANTI-DRUG MEDIA CAMPAIGN ANNOUNCES CYBER SAFETY MATERIALS HELP PARENTS KEEP TECH-SAVVY TEENS SAFE
With the rise of social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter, and more time on their hands during summer vacation, teens are able to retreat into their own digital worlds. While it might be difficult to keep up with the latest online fads, parents can actively monitor their teens' Internet use to ensure their children are using these interactive tools safely.
Many teens say their parents are unaware of their online activities. Furthermore, nearly one-third (29%) of students say their parents would disapprove if they knew what they were really doing on the Internet.* It's important for parents to take the time to learn about the many online dangers teens are exposed to on a regular basis to effectively keep them out of harm's way.
Parents must also be mindful of teaching their teens to use their cell phones safely and to understand the ramifications of photo-sharing and video tools. Unwanted photos or videos showing teens in undesirable activities can easily be posted on sites like YouTube or MySpace and have lasting consequences. A recent survey indicates that 6 percent of teens who use social networking sites say someone has posted an embarrassing picture of them online without their permission.**
Here's how you can help spread these important Internet safety messages to parents in your community: