Bullying no longer just for the playground; now 24 hours a day

Hammond—Jodie Powell of Crime stoppers states, “It’s startling how around 10 percent of all adolescents in grades seven through nine are victims of Internet bullying.
Victims of Internet bullying, or cyber bullying, have no refuge. Victims may be harassed continuously via SMS and websites, and the information spreads very quickly and may be difficult to remove. In addition, it is often difficult to identify the perpetrator states Lt. Patrick Gipson of Southeastern Louisiana University Police.
In the 2003-04 school year, i-SAFE America surveyed students from across the country on a new topic: cyber bullying. It is a topic that not many adults were talking about. It turns out to be a topic all too familiar with students states Gipson said.
Bullying is no longer about the strong picking on the weak in the schoolyard. The physical assault has been replaced by a 24-hour per day, seven days a week online bashing. Savvy students are using instant Messaging, e-mails, chat rooms and websites they create to humiliate a peer. No longer can parents count on seeing the tell-tale physical signs of bullying: a black eye, bloody lip, torn clothes. But the damage done by cyber bullies is no less real.

Cyber Bullying Statistics
• 42% of kids have been bullied while online. One in four has had it happen more than once.
• 35% of kids have been threatened online. Nearly one in five has had it happen more than once.
• 21% of kids have received mean or threatening e-mail or other messages.
• 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than four out of 10 say it has happened more than once.
• 53% of kids admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online. More than one in three has done it more than once.
• 58% have not told their parents or an adult about something mean or hurtful that happened to them online.
Based on 2004 i-SAFE survey of 1,500 students grades 4-8

Cyber Bullying Tips
• Tell a trusted adult about the bullying, and keep telling until the adult takes action. Tell your school if it is school related. Schools have a bullying solution in place.
Don’t open or read messages by cyber bullies.
• Don’t erase the messages—they may be needed to take action.
• Protect yourself—never agree to meet with the person or with anyone you meet online.
• If bullied through chat or instant messaging, the “bully” can often be blocked.
• If you are threatened with harm, inform the local police.

What is cyber bullying?
Cyber bullying occurs when new technologies such as computers and mobile phones are used to harass or bully somebody. The perpetrators often use SMS, e-mail, chat rooms and Facebook to spread their message, according to Jodie Powell, a member of Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa.

A clear link to school life
According to Jodie Powell, a member of Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa, states that around 10 percent of all adolescents in grades seven- nine are victims of cyber bullying. There is a clear connection to school life — it usually calms downs in the summer.
The perpetrator is almost always from the same school as the victim. ‘It is a lot easier to be a perpetrator on the internet since it enables you to act anonymously. This also makes it possible for a weaker person to bully a stronger, which is uncommon in conventional bullying,” says Gipson.

Parents have an important role, according to Hebert:
Adults shouldn’t be so naive about what they put out about themselves on the internet, for example pictures. Kids get inspired by what adults do. In addition, it’s good if parents show interest and ask their children to show them which sites they like to visit. But it’s usually not a good idea to forbid them from visiting certain websites; they should instead teach them how to act when they are there.
It is also important not to blame victimized children, since it’s really not their fault. Our job is instead to help them end the harassment. Dr. Barbara Hebert, a counselor at Southeastern Louisiana University, says that people in general are a bit simple when it comes to these issues: ‘All school children in the Louisiana are taught to “zip it, block it and flag it” — don’t share information, block contacts and tell an adult!’


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