Cyber bullying

Some things never change; where, and how it happens, does. Bullying is not just a normal childhood behavior. It adds to and reflects a growing culture of disrespect to which media contributes through its portrayals, subjects, discourse and technology. Traditional face to face bullying still occurs especially where there is not adult supervision such as playgrounds, on school buses and outside of school. But, how, where, when and how often it is happening is changing rapidly as technology is widespread and accessible to youth.

What is Cyber Bullying?
Since children and teens have become adept users of media, cyber bullying, the use of media technology to bully, is increasing. In traditional bullying, an imbalance of power is commonly present. In cyber bullying, that imbalance may involve possession of potentially damaging info, images or video that can be used to inflict harm using computers, cell phones, or other technology. It may simply take the form of repeated messages intended to bother, hurt, embarrass or intimidate another person. In some cases, it is combined with faceto-face bullying where someone might be taunted, ignored, laughed at or physically intimidated. Messages, once put in cyberspace, do not go away, can be spread within seconds, and delivered anonymously, making it easier for anyone to bully and harder to be found out. Children may know that cyber bullying is wrong but still be involved because risks are not apparent to them. Others do not even understand that that they are bullying or being bullied. Others get caught up in the culture of it and do it because they can. Damage can be hurtful, long lasting and have legal consequences for perpetrators, victim and bystanders alike.

What Can Parents and Families Do?
Most importantly, parents must be involved with their children’s use of media.

By Rona Zlokower, Executive Director, Media Power Youth
Media Power Youth, in collaboration with PIRC (Parent Information Resource Center), Bully Free New Hampshire, the NH Attorney General’s office, school districts and professionals, helps with the prevention of cyber bullying. Feel free to contact Media Power Youth for resources, speaking programs, trainings, or to collaborate or share ideas. Together, we can empower our children to lead safe, healthy lives through smart use of media. or

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