Cyberbullying is using the internet or other digital communication devices to send or post harmful or cruel text or images to bully others. Cyberbullying can be related to in school bullying. Sometimes a student who is being victimized at school is also being bullied online. Sometimes the student who is being victimized at school uses cyberbullying to retaliate against the school bully. Since there is no auditory or visual feedback that an action has caused harm, cyberbullying provides an illusion of invisibility and anonymity removing concerns of detection and punishment.
Examples of cyberbullying:
- Sending cruel or threatening text or instant messages
- Creating websites that ridicule or threaten others
- Posting pictures of classmates to be rated
- Sending cruel or embarrassing emails through another person’s email account
- Tricking someone into instant messaging sensitive information and then forwarding it to others
- Taking an embarrassing picture of a person using a cell phone and sending the pictures to others
- Creating a web log (blog) that invites others to post cruel or threatening messages about a person
Warning signs that a child may be a victim of cyberbullying:
- Emotional upset, depression, anger, fear, especially if upset after using the internet
- Avoidance of friends, school or other activities
- Decline in grades
What can parents do to stop cyberbullying?
- Save all evidence of the cyberbullying
- Try to identify the cyberbully
- Send one clear message stating “Do not communicate with me again or I will contact the appropriate authorities
- Contact the ISP (internet service provider), forward messages and request the account be terminated
- Notify the website and request removal of inappropriate material
- Contact the phone company if bullying is happening through cell phone
- Contact the police if severe
- Discuss bullying and cyberbullying with your children
- Emphasize the importance of speaking out against cyberbullying and reporting it to an adult
Cyber-Bullying and Internet Safety Information Provided by the Prevention Office Pinellas County Schools
What is Cyber-bullying?
Cyber-bullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others.
Concerns:Emotional Harm 24/7
• Text and images widely disseminated
• Impossible to fully remove
• No Place to HideSelf Esteem ErodedSense of Safety ViolatedFear of Reporting
• Afraid bullying will get worse
• Afraid adult over reaction and restriction from technology
Send one message clearly stating “Do not contact me again or I will contact the authorities”
Contact the ISP, forward messages and request the account be terminated
• Contact the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
Notify the website and request removal
Trace phone number and contact phone company
5517.01 POLICY AGAINST BULLYING AND HARASSMENT: (K-12 and Adults)
Pinellas County Schools’ policy prohibits bullying and harassment including stalking, cyber stalking and the use of data or computer software. For more information on the Policy against Bullying and Harassment go to www.pcsb.org.
5517.03 Teen Dating Violence and Abuse Policy:(Secondary (grades 7-12) Students Only)
The School Board strictly prohibits any act of Teen Dating Violence and Abuse committed by one student against another on school property, during a school-sponsored activity, or during school-sponsored transportation.
Cyber Stalking Legislation:
2003 Florida Legislature amended the states “stalking Statute” 784.048 to include “cyber stalking,” which equates to electronic bullying in cyberspace.
Penalties for acts under this statute range from a first degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony.
Tips for Educators:
Educate faculty, staff and students
Address cyber-bullying in anti-bullying policies
Contact law enforcement when appropriate
Determine School’s Responsibility
· Substantial disruption
· School equipment
· Occurred at school
Tips for Students:
Keep personal information to yourself
Never post a picture
Always use neutral username
Don’t give password to anyone but parents
Tell adult if cyber bullying occurs
Keep anything sent by the person who is cyber bullying
Tips for Parents:
Create rules for internet use
Educate yourself and your child
Know what your child is doing online
Learn the language
Don’t allow solitary surfing
Don’t rely solely on technology to protect kids
Know your child’s e-mail accounts, profiles, IM screen names, etc
Bullying/Harassment or Teen Dating Violence and Abuse at school can be reported:
- Verbally or in writing to the principal or the principal’s designee
- Anonymously using the designated anonymous reporting procedure at each school or by going to http://bullying.pcsb.org. or http://harassment.pcsb.org or http://teendatingviolence.pcsb.org
- By calling the Campus Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-873-8477or Text keyword TIP144 plus your message to CRIMES(274637)
Local law enforcement can also be contacted for assistance or for more information.