When we talk about school bullying, we can see that it is marked by a number of traits: it is malicious and persistent and involves unequal positions of power (for example, a group bullying a single victim).
Cyber-bullying also involves harmful and repetitive relationships. And just as with ordinary bullying, they are about unequal positions of power and malicious intent. What distinguishes it is the use of all kinds of electronic means of communication: mobile phones, Internet sites and so on.
What are the signs of cyber-bullying?
- Repetitive sending of threatening or nasty e-mails, text messages, posts etc.
- Dragging personal information out of someone and spreading it about against their will.
- Pretending to be someone else (hacking into their e-mail account, sending false e-mails and messages etc.).
- Setting up websites etc. designed specifically to laugh at or mock someone or to create ill-feeling towards them.
- Cyber-bullying normally involves more than one person.
Parents, teachers and children themselves all have a role to play in preventing cyber-bullying. It is important that children are taught how they should behave when using media resources as soon as they start using them – normally around 7 or 8 years of age.