Actually, cyber bullying was already here. Whatever happened to the good old days where the bullies just made everyone’s life miserable on the playground?
Area schools and parent-teacher organizations are meeting to discuss the growing trend of cyber bullying where children and teens use computers, hand-held devices, cell phones and blackberries to harass torture and embarrass their peers.
Apparently the problem is so epidemic that PW County Schools plan to include cyber bullying in the Code of Behavior. Regular bullying is already a point of emphasis. In the past few years, schools have become increasingly sensitive to the harmful affects of bullying. Deputy Superintendent Rae Darlington has been a champion of the anti-bullying programs that already exist in the county.
According to the News and Messenger:
The suggested changes to the Code of Behavior, which the School Board reviews and updates annually, would expand the definition of bullying to say that “cyber bullying, the intentional and/or repeated harm of others through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic or technological devices, is strictly forbidden.”
Clarice Torian, Director of Student Services for Prince William County Schools recently told the school board:
“The suggested additions to the code of behavior would apply to student behavior in school, and outside of school if the behavior impacts the school environment.”
News and Messenger also reports:
According to a study by criminology professors Sameer Hinduja and Justin Patchin, who started the Web site http://www.cyberbullying.us, 9.4 percent of middle schoolers reported being recent victims of cyberbullying and 17.3 percent reported being victims at some point in their lives.
The study also said that 8.2 percent of middle schoolers reported being recent cyber bullies themselves and 17.6 percent reported being cyber bullies at some point in their lives.
According to the study, some examples of cyber bullying are sending harassing e-mails or instant messages, posting insulting or slanderous things on online bulletin boards or social networking sites.
Does this behavior stop at adolescence? Is this something kids outgrow or is it something we continue to see way into adulthood? Certainly those of us who have traveled about the blogosphere are quite familiar with bullying. Additionally, those of us who have dealt with political issues are certainly familiar with some of the bully tactics that are used in against the ‘enemy.’
What is adult cyber bullying? Would those who bully do so on the playground or is the anonymity of a computer what brings out this disturbing behavior? How does it manifest itself in the blogosphere? The chat rooms? Emails?
Over the weekend, let’s take a look at examples of cyber bullying as it relates to blogging and politics. I am sure many of us have a story to tell.