Thursday, February 7, 2008


What is Cyberbullying?

A growing concern as more & more of our communications occur online is cyberbullying. Teens & younger children are particularly suspectible to this type of online intimidation.

Cyberbullying is, according to the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use, "sending or posting harmful or cruel text or images using the Internet or other digital communication devices." Cyber bullying may occur directly, such as when a hateful message is sent to a target, or indirectly, as when a message, website, or photograph is sent to others and results in later bullying behavior toward the target (source:

As the excellent Unicel site on the subject suggests, "when it comes to broadcasting negative information, the cyber world has become the new bathroom wall." Cyberbullying is occurring across many of our newer technologies: instant messaging services, camera phones, chat rooms, e-mail, Web logs, social networking sites and cell phone text messaging.

The nameless, faceless nature of much of digital communication seems to be empowering folks to say hurtful things or transmit threatening images to others that they would never think to say in a face-to-face situation. Many people are, like the guy in the Brad Paisley song are "so much cooler online." The dark reality is, though, that many people are also decidedly "so much crueler online."

While the damage caused by cyberbullying usually ends at hurt feelings, the consequences can become much more dire, as a recent case in Missouri attests. This case may be an extreme example, but it is an eye-opener as to the bearing the threats or abuse can have on young people lives.

While some states (Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Washington) have laws specifically addressing cyberstalking, many states are struggling with ways to place the same legal penalties verbal threats & physical threats carry to cyber threats. What Can I Do to Protect Myself or My Child?

The National Crime Prevention Council suggests the following guidelines:

*Refuse to pass along cyberbullying messages
*Tell friends to stop cyberbullying
*Block communication with cyberbullies
*Report cyberbullying to a trusted adult
*Blocking communication with the cyberbully
*Deleting messages without reading them
*Talking to a friend about the bullying
*Reporting the problem to an Internet service provider or website moderator

You can also help prevent cyberbullying by

*Speaking with other students, as well as teachers and school administrators, to develop rules against cyberbullying
*Raising awareness of the cyberbullying problem in your community by holding an assembly and creating fliers to give to younger kids or parents
*Sharing NCPC’s anti-cyberbullying message with friends

The most critical of the NCPC's recommendations are below:

*Never post or share your personal information online (this includes your full name, address, telephone number, school name, parents’ names, credit card number, or social security number) or your friends’ personal information.
*Never share your Internet passwords with anyone, except your parents.
*Never meet anyone face-to-face whom you only know online.
*Talk to your parents about what you do online.

Web Resources for Cyberbullying

Or, checkout the information provided on the Unicel site at The Get Involved section is particularly worth checking out.

A series of short information videos about Internet safety produced by the South Carolina Association for Educational Technology for what it calls the "cyber generation" can be found at

One last recommended site is

If you have questions or suggestions, respond to this blog or email me at


Brenda Jo said...

As a parent, I became alarmed at everything my child was subjected to while online, cyber bullying, sexual predators, profanity, nudity and just plain inappropriate content. I did extensive research and found a website that is socially responsible for children ages 5-18. Before a child can become a member, their school must verify the child’s identification. The site is free, content monitored, cyber bulling controlled and predator free. My child can still play games, instant message, email, and all the other fun stuff, even create his own web page. It is a relief to know when he is online, he is safe.
Predators and bullies will not just go away, but on iland5, they can not get to my child. We as parents need to take every step to ensure our child’s safety while online, this is what I did and I hope you can pass the message.

The site for parents, teachers, and law enforcement is

and the site for the children

Jeanne said...

I went to and saw that tutoring is offered on ,I hope this too is free. My kid needs extra help. said...

Dear Jeanne,

You'll be happy to know that the tutoring services are offered to the students at no charge they are able to leave questions for our tutors when they are unavailable also, the tutors are on-line from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm M - F Standard Eastern Time and they are able to answer educational questions in real time during these business hours.

Best wishes,

Thomas Pursifull
Domain Administrator

Bangor Public Library

Bangor Public Library
Bangor Public Library,
145 Harlow Street,
Bangor ME 04401