Bullying among children and teenagers is not something new but thanks to modern methods of communication it has risen extremely.
Cyberbullying happens when a child or teenager is threatened, embarrassed or put in danger by another child or teenager. This is done especially through modern means of communication like the Internet, social media networks or mobile phones.
A study by a Canadian University found out that half of the young people interviewed reported that they were being bullied. One of the reasons is that the use of cell phones has increased dramatically over the past years. Today’s children are connected with each other electronically. They call friends whenever they want or communicate with them on Facebook.
This kind of bullying has become extremely popular because it allows teens and children to stay anonymous. It is easier to become aggressive towards someone on the Internet than it is face to face. Many think they won’t get caught.
Cyberbullying is not as harmless as many people think. In some cases it has even led to suicide. Many countries have conducted campaigns to make adults and children aware of the dangers of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullies act in many different ways. They harass others by sending photos or text messages to cell phones or by posting them on Facebook. Sometimes they send junk mail with sexual remarks or steal passwords of other children or teenagers and log on to websites with false identities. Children play internet games in which they tease each other in various ways.
Many children and adolescents act this way out of different reasons. They might be frustrated or jealous because someone else has better marks. They want to take revenge on somebody for something that has happened to them. At other times they do it just for fun or become cyberbullies because they are bored and have nothing else to do. Parents face the fact that they don’t know their child is a cyberbully. They realize it when the victim or the victim’s parents contact them.
How do you know that a child is being cyberbullied? In many cases they show certain signs, like not being able to sleep or fear of using the internet
There are a few ways to prevent cyberbullying. First of all, it is important to show children that they should respect the private sphere of others. They must be taught that they are responsible for what they do.
For victims it is important not to respond to bullies and ignore them. They should not play a bully’s game or answer their emails and text messages. It is also important to get help from parents and teachers. Many children are afraid to tell anyone that they are being harassed because they feel ashamed.
Often schools get involved. They bring together the parents of victims and cyberbullies and talk with them. Cyberbullying does not always end at school. Often, parents go to the police and press charges against cyberbullies.
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- adolescent = a young person, usually between 12 and 18 who is growing into an adult
- adult = a grown up person
- anonymous = people do not know who you are
- ashamed = to feel bad because someone has made fun of you
- aware = to know that something exists
- bored = something is not interesting
- bully = to hurt or make someone afraid, especially someone who is weaker or smaller
- campaign = program , operation
- certain = special
- conduct = carry out
- cyberbully = to be a bully by using electronic media
- electronically = here: through computers or cell phones
- embarrass = to feel worried about what people think of you ; to be made fun of
- especially = above all
- extremely = very much
- face = to be confronted with
- face to face = to be together with another person
- false = wrong, not real
- fear = to be afraid
- frustrated = feel angry or worried about something, because you cannot control it
- harass = to say bad things about someone, or to make them afraid
- harmless = not dangerous
- identity = name
- ignore = not to care about
- increase = go up
- involve = to be part of something
- jealous = to feel angry and unhappy because someone has something that you want to
- junk mail = here: emails or messages that you do not want
- log on = to get into an internet website
- mark = letter or number that you get for a test at school
- means = forms
- press charges = go to the police station and tell them that someone has hurt you
- realize = find out
- remark = comment
- respect = here: not to do something that is wrong
- respond = answer
- responsible = to be blamed
- rise = go up
- sign = feature
- social media network = internet platforms on which people contact each other through computers and communicate
- sphere = field, area
- suicide = to kill yourself
- take revenge = to do something bad because someone has done something bad to you
- tease = to make fun of
- threaten = to make afraid
- victim = here: the person who is threatened or bullied