Cyber bullying, also identified as online social cruelty or electronic bullying, has been defined as "an aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or individual, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself. " Cyber bullying is bullying through technological means, such as emails, text messages, cell phone communications, or social networking websites. Cyber bullying can be environmental or motivational but always leaves it victims feeling powerless and vulnerable.Cyber bullying is a rapidly growing trend that can be more detrimental than "traditional" forms of bullying in many ways. A key difference between cyber bullying and traditional bullying is the ability to bully without a face-to-face altercation.
The bully is also invisible and not knowing who is responsible can add to a victim's insecurity. It is no longer about the one big, mean bully picking on the smaller kid in the schoolyard. Any person with an Internet connection of any kind can bully almost anyone else.Cyber bullying has the same insidious consequences as any kind of bullying, causing isolation and fear in its victims. There is no escape from cyber bullying because it can happen any time and any place.
A cyberbully victim feels like there is no safe place from cyber bullying. Even being at home in their own room will lead to a sense of insecurity and trepidation. The secrecy and anonymity of cyber bullying can add to the victims feeling of being unsafe. Victims of cyber bullying often suffer from depression and low self-esteem.They often are frightened and humiliated and feel they have nowhere to turn. They often are not even sure where the cyber bullying is coming from.
Cyber bullies become bolstered by the false feeling of being unidentified. It is anonymous, without a face-to-face confrontation. A cyber bully can stalk and harass someone with much less risk of being caught. They say things they would never write or say in person. Cyber bullying takes little effort and the victim’s reaction remains invisible, the effect is not taken seriously.
The cyber bully is often detached from their actions and the pictures and messages are delivered swiftly to the target audience. A cyber bully often does not see themselves as a bully, and feel that they are just using their power to make themselves look good to others or to feel better about themselves. Cyber bullies are often motivated by anger, retribution, and frustration or just do it for entertainment because they are bored and have too much time on their hands Cyber bullying is difficult to detect and even more difficult to stop. It leaves no visible signs of abuse and rarely are there witnesses.The effects of cyber bullying are extensive and at times deadly.
Children have killed themselves or others after having been involved in cyber bullying incidents. Education can help considerably in preventing and dealing with the consequences of cyber bullying. Increased awareness of cyber bullying and understanding how much bullying hurts and how destructive it can be is a step to ending the widespread problem. Cyber bullying legislation has been introduced in several states and has been proposed as a federal law that would criminalize acts of cyber bullying.