Howdy, readers. If you’ve been reading my blog since it’s start, then you know that the first official post focused on bullying. Although it offered up some explanation and tips about how to handle bullies, I realized it barely scratched the surface of the issue. Because of this, I decided to write a series of posts about bullying that will mainly focus on cyber bullying and the people behind it. As the title suggests, anyone can look tough behind a computer. Now back to your regularly scheduled post.
There are thousands of ways to contact and connect with people on the internet. You can instant message or video chat with someone. You can leave them a message, post, or comment on Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. You can even ask your friends and strangers questions on Formspring. Although all these methods allow for easier and quicker contact, they also allow for people to easily harass others.
You see and hear about people using the internet to harass others every day. When it comes to minors it’s cyber bullying. For adults the offense is called cyber stalking or cyber harassment. Today’s post will focus on the differences between the three types of cyber offenses.
Cyber bullying is the term used to describe the harassment,torture, intimidation, humiliation or embarrassment of children, preteens, and teenagers (those between 7 and 17 years of age) through the use of the internet or cell phones. There are two types of cyber bullying, direct attacks and proxy attacks. Direct attacks involve the bully directly sending or posting hurtful things about the victim. Proxy attacks involve the use of others and are usually used to make the victim look they are the ones doing something wrong.
Cyber harassment is repeated and unwanted threatening behavior directed at someone over the internet or text messaging. The harasser’s intent is stalk, threaten, humiliate, embarrass, torture or intimidate the victim. This can be done by sending emails or posting messages, pictures and videos, or by hacking and taking over the victim’s accounts and computer. The harassment can take place anywhere such as social networking sites, email, message boards and chat rooms, however a forum post that just states a general opinion about someone isn’t considered cyber harassment.
Cyber stalking is similar to cyber harassment. It is when someone repeatedly sends threatening or intimidating messages or unwanted advances to another person. Cyber stalking can include threatening and obscene emails, inappropriate messages and content posted on social networking sites, chat rooms and message boards, sending viruses and spam and tracing the victim’s online activity and identity theft.
Obviously, cyber bullying, cyber harassment, and cyber stalking can have serious consequences. They can lead to the victim returning the favor, physical violence and even drive the victim to suicide. If you or someone you know is being harassed online, you need tell someone. It could be a friend, family member or someone else you know and trust. If the harassment escalates or you feel that you can no longer handle the situation, tell the authorities. Although each state and country has different laws when it comes to cyber crimes, the police can definitely put an end to what’s been going on.