What are the forms that cyberbullying might take? Here are some potential examples:
Cyberbullies can and do use e-mail to send harassing and threatening messages to the targets of their hatred and loathing. Those who are bullied often ask themselves "What have I done to deserve this?" and the usual answer is that they have not done anything to deserve such awful messages.
It is often possible to trace which e-mail account the message was sent from, however, it is almost impossible to prove who actually used this e-mail account to send the offending messages. Messages sent from accounts with local/regional Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can be more easily traced and acted upon than messages sent from large Web-based e-mail accounts such as Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail etc.
Most e-mail programs allow you to use e-mail filters that will block or automatically delete messages from undesirable senders. This does work to a limited degree, but as most e-mail users now know, it is almost impossible to stop unwanted e-mail messages such as advertisements, SPAM etc.
Cyberbullies can and do use IM to send harassing and threatening messages to the targets of their hatred and loathing. IM has become a very large part of the social lives of our young people. The relationships they form with others in school and in other facets of their lives are extended and maintained through IM-ing. The conversations and conflicts that arise online often give rise to behaviours that are acted out in person during school or at the local shopping mall.
Rooms / Bash Boards:
The "bash board" is the nickname for an online bulletin board, or virtual chat room, where teenagers can go to anonymously and write anything they want, true or false, creating or adding mean-spirited postings for the world to see.
People are not always who they appear to be or who they say they are in chat rooms. Chat rooms can be places where some strangers may try to "befriend" others, especially young people. They may attempt to lure them into meeting in person. Young people should NEVER arrange to meet someone in person whom they have been in contact with online.
Young kids shouldn't be in chat room unless a trusted and responsible parent or guardian is sitting with them at the computer. Older kids should be only in moderated chat rooms and even moderated chat rooms can lead to compromising, embarrassing and harassing situations. Kids shouldn't exchange e-mail with someone from a chat room or arrange to meet someone from a chat room without a parent or guardian present.
SMS: The Short Message Service (SMS) is the ability to send and receive text messages to and from mobile telephones. The text can comprise of words or numbers or an alphanumeric combination. SMS was created when it was incorporated into the Global System for Mobiles (GSM) digital mobile phone standard. A single short message can be up to 160 characters of text in length using default GSM alphabet coding, and 70 characters when UCS2 international character coding is used.
EMS: -Enhanced Messaging Service (text messaging with more bells and whistles)
MMS -Multimedia Messaging Service, (MMS) is the ability to send messages comprising a combination of text, sounds, images and video to MMS capable handsets.
PDAs: PDAs stand for Personal Digital Assistants. You might recognize these better if we used names like Palm Pilot, RIM Blackberry, Handspring Visor / Treo, Sony Clie, iPaq, Pocket PC etc. Most of these are not only personal information organizers, they can now connect to the Internet, receive and send e-mail and browse the World Wide Web.
Unfortunately, some ISPs are not as responsible, and you may have GREAT difficulty in not only finding their AUP or abuse reporting options, but even in getting them to acknowledge your concerns, let alone having the defamatory Web site taken down. Equally unfortunately, some ISPs may not respond or take action unless you tell them that you are contacting the police, the media and/or a lawyer.
Defamatory Web sites posted on large Web hosts such as Yahoo! / Geocities, Tripod, Homestead etc. may be even harder to get the attention of, let alone see action from, so this is why www.cyberbullying.ca believes that the most effective efforts that can be made with respect to the issue of cyberbullying is based upon PREVENTION.
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