"Cyberbullying" and "griefers" - Harassment Online: School Yard Bulls Go Digital


The Main Page - A Review

Governance Structures Found in Several Different Text-Based Online Communities

Ethical and Social Problems that Arise in Online Communities

Identities and Social Interactions in MUDs

Online Gaming Communities and Their Governance Structures

Remember that grammar school bully that stole your lunch, teased you, or generally made your life miserable? The school bully is back, but now it has gone digital. The generation of youngsters growing up today is experiencing bullying in a way very different from their parents. The schoolyard bullying does not end when a student leaves the school yard, but can continue at online via email, chat, blog and website.

“The incident reflects the latest way technology is altering the social lives of children at an age when they are especially vulnerable to insults. The emergence of cyberbullying has intensified adolescent angst. It allows bullies to unleash put-downs, nasty rumors and humiliating pictures in e-mail and blogs that can strike victims at home and at any time. The damage can be devastating, psychologists say, even as it is not always obvious to parents and teachers” (Jon Swartz, USA Today).

Cyberbullies, usually age between the 9 and 14, and are typically from affluent suburbs. But unlike their treatment of offline bullying, school communities are being proactive about stopping cyberbullying. "Two burly kids can take an issue outside and settle it with their fists," says Teri Schroeder, CEO of i-Safe America, a non-profit that teaches Internet safety to children. "Cyberbullies can turn tormenting into a long-pitched battle involving dozens of people." Special governance may be needed because often school official, and parent don’t know about these online activities. Part of it parental inattention, but another part is that kids just are talking to parents about the problem. “Many victims don't tell their parents, out of fear they'll be barred from using the Internet…What happens online, stays online. There is a code of silence," says Nancy Willard, a tech lawyer and executive director of Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use in Eugene, Ore. According to the USA Today, below are steps kid, parents, and school officials can take to handle the cyberbullying situations.

If you're being victimized by a cyberbully, you have options that should be pursued in this order:

  • Ignore the cyberbully and block further online communications.
  • Save evidence and try to identify the bully.
  • Contact parents of the cyberbully and present them with evidence. Request that the behavior stop.
  • Inform school officials.
  • Contact an attorney or file a claim in small-claims court. The parents of a bully can be sued for defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
  • Contact police if there are threats of violence, extortion, hate crimes or sexual exploitation.

    For more information, please go to Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
    Jon Swartz, SAN FRANCISCO, USA TODAY, March 7, 2005, Monday

The following document, Responsible Netizen Philosophy and Approach, provides more information about the underlying philosophy and approach of the Institute.
A Children's Internet Protection Act Planning Guide
A group called Operation Respect that promotes tolerance in schools, says cyberbullies are the newest way for kids to hurt one another.