What is a Cyberbully? Who Are the Victims of Cyberbullies? Another aspect of cyberspace that can lead cyberbullies to be more vicious than physical A cyberbully is someone who uses technology to bullies is that cyberbullies aren’t physically there harass, embarrass, intimidate, or stalk someone when they are harassing their victims. This can else. lead to a lessened empathy. Since the bullies cannot see how much they are hurting the The methods used can include emails, instant victims, they may think they have not actually messaging, text messages sent via cell phones, hurt them much or at all and may, therefore, digital photos and all other means of electronic continue the harassing behavior. communications. Many people believe that there are no rules in The cyberbully can send: Most victims of cyberbullies are children, but cyberspace. They feel free to do whatever they there are also many adults who are wish. More than that, they believe they have the angry and vulgar argumentative messages cyberbullying victims. RIGHT to do whatever they want in cyberspace cruel, offensive, and insulting messages without suffering any consequences. threats and false promises Generally, cyberbullies will know their victim, but occasionally they will pick victims they don’t Warning Signs that your Child may be a The cyberbully can: know. In these situations, the cyberbully is Victim of a Cyberbully picking on someone based on a type of bias or post secrets or embarrassing information, prejudice. They may pick on people based on displays signs of depression, sadness, anxiety including pictures, for everyone to see religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or or fear – particularly if these signs intensify post gossip or rumors for the explicit purpose people who are deemed “not cool.” after your child uses the cell phone or after of damaging the person’s reputation being online send out messages pretending to be the victim Other times, they will pick on someone based on avoiding friends, activities, or school in an attempt to damage that person’s a message that he/she has posted that the bully experiences difficulty with school or a drop in friendships doesn’t like. grades for no apparent reason alienate the victim from online groups expressing subtle comments that indicate your Why Can Cyberbullying be Worse child is disturbed or upset Who Are Cyberbullies? Than Physical Bullying? What to do if a Cyberbully Many times, a cyberbully is also a bully in face- Many people erroneously assume that “words to-face encounters. Bullying over the computer can never hurt.” In cyberspace, however, Targets your Child is a natural extension of their destructive cyberbullies can strike anytime, anywhere, behavior. thanks to modern technology. As long as the victims are online, they can be vulnerable to Some people who become cyberbullies are cyberbullying. often the victims of bullying. They may take out their anger and frustration in cyberspace. They Many bullies pick on people for the feeling of may be targeting the people who bully them or power that it gives them. Because the Internet they may have picked a different target. seems to give anonymity, cyberbullying is often seen to have fewer consequences to the bullies, Still others regard cyberbullying as a game -- which can encourage them to be more nothing more than a fun thing to do. aggressive. Retaliation may only escalate the problem. If you feel the need to respond to the cyberbully, help The Parent’s Guide your child develop an appropriate response, Additional Sites for more Information asking the cyberbully to stop the behavior. This About Cyberbullying may resolve some of the problems that are occurring. MS-ISAC: to Cyberbullies www.msisac.org/awareness/news/2007-01.cfm By filtering email, instant messages and text messages, you can cut off many of the ways the Cyberbully.org: www.cyberbully.org cyberbullies contact your child. By having your child avoid the sites and groups where the McGruff.org: attacks occur, he/she can ignore the bully. www.mcgruff.org/advice/cyberbullies.php If the harassment continues, then you can Power in You: www.powerinyou.org/?id=MzI2 change your child’s email address, Internet account, and usernames. Bully Online: http://www.bullyonline.org/related/cyber.htm If a believable physical threat is made, the police should be contacted. Staying Safe Online: groups.msn.com/StayingSafeOnline/cyberbullies If none of these steps are successful, then you .msnw may need to take additional action, as follows: National Crime Prevention Council: 1) Compile a copy of all harassing www.ncpc.org/media/cyberbullying.php messages and postings. Save the addresses of web sites where other hostile information, embarrassing pictures or negative messages are posted. The more documentation you can save the better. Brought to You By The MS-ISAC: Insert STATE or ORGANIZATION 2) Contact your child’s school. Even if the Logo and Branding Information cyberbullying is not occurring in school, officials might be able to assist. 3) If possible, contact the bully’s parents. In many cases, they will be unaware of their child’s behavior. Send them a Multi-State registered letter detailing the messages Information Sharing and Analysis Center and asking them to make the bullying (MS-ISAC) stop. They could be held liable for financial and emotional damages. www.msisac.org 4) Finally, if the situation is not resolved, contact the police.