Cyber-bullying: Cyber-bullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others. Cyber-bullying is bullying which uses e-technology as a means of victimizing others. It is the use of an Internet service or mobile technologies – such as e-mail, chat room discussion groups, instant messaging, Webpages or SMS (text messaging) – with the intention of harming another person.

Examples include communications that seek to intimidate, control, manipulate, put down or humiliate the recipient. Cyber-bullying definition by The National Crime Prevention Council: “when the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.” Cyber-bullying definition by “a situation when a child is repeatedly ‘tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted’ by another child or teenager using text messaging, email, instant messaging or any other type of digital technology.” Note: The term cyber bullying is believed to have been introduced and defined by anti bullying activist William “Bill” Belsey. Mr. Belsey is the President of, the creator of , the world’s first website about the issue of cyberbullying, originator of the annual Bullying Awareness Week and the facilitator of , an educational resource that offers online courses about bullying and cyberbullying for parents and educators Who should protect children from each other?

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Parents Parents must monitor a child’s internet activities / communications. If a parent becomes aware that a child is sending and / or receiving malicious, harassing, threatening, hurtful and / or embarrassing emails steps must be taken to immediately address the behavior. Immediately report the behavior the incident (s) to Police and School Officials. When reporting the cyber bullying incidents make every effort to ascertain the identity of the Offender. Encourage the child to refrain from engaging with the Offender because it will encourage the behaviors to continue. Report the cyber bullying to the email provider, service provider, social networking site, instant messaging provider or other online service that is being used by the person who is committing the bullying. Gather and preserve your evidence. Print out hard copies of blog posts, emails, instant messages and photos. Save all voice mails and be sure to note the dates and times of transmissions. Ask the victimized child questions to determine the scope of the harassment Law Enforcement

Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Officials are also empowered to ensure the safety of children regarding cyber bullying. In Pennsylvania the criminal offense of cyberbullying would fall under the following statute Harassment - 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2709 § 2709. Harassment A federal cyberbullying bill, also known as the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, was introduced to the House of Representatives on April 2, 2009 but the bill died before being enacted. Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act - Amends the federal criminal code to impose criminal penalties on anyone who transmits in interstate or foreign commerce a communication intended to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to another person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior. Currently there are no international cyberbullying laws.

School Officials, Administrators and Staff Members Through educational programs at school children can be educated about responsible internet usage and the consequences of irresponsible internet usage Children should be provided a trusted place where they can report cyber bullying they are subjected to and / or cyberbullying that they are witness. Schools should enforce disciplinary actions against Offenders who use the internet to commit the offense of cyberbullying against other students.

In September 2010 the School District put a policy in place to address cyber bullying. In summary the Philadelphia School District policy states if a student and / or their parent believes the child is the victim of cyber bullying , they are encouraged to immediately report the incident to “the building principal or designee, or to any other member of the school staff, including teachers, guidance counselors, coaches and administrators.” The incident will be investigated by the school district and if the allegation is confirmed the offending student will be subjected to disciplinary action by the school district. Children

Children should have “In-School” communication sessions during school hours to openly communicate with one another about this matter Social Website IT Monitoring There should be a dedicated Informational Technology team that gathers complaints of each specific site.

This team should relay and store all information gathered from complaints and reported bullying. This team should be mandated by law. There should be a dedicated Anti-Cyber Bullying Task Force dedicated to protecting children from cyber bullies and reforming offenders. This task force would work directly with Social Website Monitors as well as teachers, student, parents and children themselves. The media should play a vital role in this effort because they will be the main source of anti-cyber bullying information dissemination How can they be protected?

Prevention is the best way to protect children from Cyberbullying. Establish computer rules- Monitor websites that children in your care visit. Explain to children the consequences of sharing personal information. Establish computer rules- Monitor websites that children in your care visit. Explain to children the consequences of sharing personal information.

Explain the ramifications of spreading rumors – Children must understand spreading rumors could cause them to become a target. Monitor children’s electronic devices – Parent / Guardians should insist that children show all electronic messages that they send and receive. Privacy rules- Teach children to not give away passwords and / or personal information. Open door policy- Keep the computer where you can see the child at all times. Never let children engage in online activities alone. Keep tabs on children

Examples of this would include Google your child’s name, address, etc., to see if anything pops up. Utilize Internet parental controls. If you feel your child just cannot be safe on the computer it is best to redirect them to a different activity to assure their safety. Community Support A number of businesses and organizations are in coalition to provide awareness, protection and recourse for the escalating problem of cyberbullying and have developed tools to help parents combat cyberbullying. What are the consequences of cyberbullying?