Cyberbullying is "bullying for the 21st century, using email, text messages and the internet." (Richard Aedy, ABC Radio National)
Research shows that almost one in four children between the ages of 11 and 19 have been the victim of cyberbullying. The same research shows that approximately 65% of kids know of someone who has been cyberbullied.
"Cyberbullying has the same insidious effects as any kind of bullying, turning children away from school, friendships, and in tragic instances, life itself."
Any type of bullying is not harmless. It some cases, it can even be a criminal offence. Most victims, suffer shame, embarrassment, anger, depression and withdrawal, but in extreme incidents, cyberbullying has led kids to suicide.
"There's no safe place anymore. You can be bullied 24/7...even in the privacy of your own bedroom."
Nearly all of us can be contacted 24/7 via the internet or our mobile phones. Victims can be reached anytime and anyplace. For many children, home is no longer a refuge from the bullies. "Children can escape threats and abuse in the classroom, only to find text messages and emails from the same tormentors when they arrive home."
For children, the internet and mobile phone act as a kind of social lifeline to their peer group
One in six Australians count their mobile phone as their most prized possession (Spin Sweeney Report). Imagine if your most prized belonging was infiltrated by a bully. How would you feel? One 17 year old girl has had enough of the bullies. Each time a bully gets her mobile phone number, she contacts her phone company and changes her number to a new one. As of August 2005, she is up to her sixth mobile phone number.
One in six Australians count their mobile phone as their most prized possession. Imagine if your most prized belonging was infiltrated by a bully.
'So what can we do about it?' many people wonder. The best weapon, is awareness. If you feel that you can talk about the problem, that your parents, your teachers and your friends understand the problem, then cyberbullying will come out of the mobile phone inboxes and out of the computers, and into the open.