Bullying is a big concern for parents and can distress many students, so online bullying should not be treated any differently.
“Bullying is defined as persistent unwelcome behaviour and can include anything from teasing, deliberately ostracising someone to assaults and abuse”
The internet gives bullies another means to attack their victims, and is generally a recent development. Experts on bullying believe that any bullies tend to lack good communication skills and therefore the impersonal nature of email makes an ideal tool for them to victimise others. Unfortunatley it is not immediately possible to check the origin of an email, the best advice is:
If a name is not familiar, it may be safer not to open the email If the sender is a known bully or if they have sent unpleasant or annoying messages before, then ignore it and delete it straight away If the bullying happens through a personal email account, report it to the sender’s email account provider – you can find this address after the @ sign If it is not obvious who the sender is and there is continual bullying using email, then there are tools to trace senders. To find out more about this email tracking, go to one of the search engines, (e.g. Google, Yahoo, etc) and type in ’email tracking software’ – this software can then be downloaded. Once you know the identity of the bully, get in touch with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) who can then block the sender from your email If the email bullying is occurring in school, then this should be dealt with through the school’s anti-bullying policy.
Bullying on the Internet Aftermath
Although sometime online bullying seems quite juvenile and only stays in the school yard, it can lead to legal action being taken against the perpetrator. Cases over the past few years include ‘Star Wars Kid’, who filmed himself re-enacting scenes from star wars class mates then uploaded this to the net and has since become the most watched viral video on the internet. In 2003 the students family sued the families of 4 schoolmates for CA$250,000.