Cyberbullying comes in many different varieties. It can range from the straightforward types of bullying that involve traditional teasing and/or hate speech, to more cunning forms of Internet harassment that are creatively deceptive and highly manipulative. It’s important for parents, teachers, and teens themselves to know the many different ways that cyber bullying takes place, so that they understand the danger and can recognize it when it occurs. If you think cyberbullying is limited to kids saying mean things on the web, you may be surprised at just how complex and sophisticated Internet bullying can be.
The Many Forms Of Online Harassment
Cyber bullying can take on many different forms, including:
1. Posting slanderous or hurtful messages about a person on a personal blog or other online web page.
2. Taking a private email, instant message or text message that the creator intended to be kept private and then posting it where others can see it or forwarding it to peers to embarrass the victim.
3. Ganging up on a teen in a chat room or using a chat room as a forum for the type of name-calling that normally occurs in schools.
4. Spreading hurtful rumors about another person online.
5. Threatening or harassing the victim through aggressive emails, instant messages or text messages.
6. Videotaping an incident of bullying that takes place in the real world and then posting this online to humiliate the victim further.
7. Making a video about the victim to post on You Tube. This can include things like slanderous songs about the victim that the bully created, videos demonstrating the various ways the bullies intend to hurt the victim, or other video scripts designed to hurt, humiliate, or intimidate the child being bullied.
8. Gaining access to intimate or personal pictures and then posting these pictures online to embarrass the victim, or forwarding them to friends through the use of a computer or cell phone.
9. Using a camera phone to take unflattering pictures of the victim incognito and without their knowledge or consent, and then posting these pictures online, usually with a message about how weird/horrible/stupid/freakish the victim is.
10. Setting up a fake web page, web profile or account in the victim’s name, and then using that page to fraudulently represent that person. For example, setting up a fake Facebook page for the victim which then says he is gay, loves to watch snuff films and still wets his bed. In another example, it could be posting a fake ad on Craigslist with a photo of the victim and her phone number, claiming that she is an escort or prostitute looking for customers.
11. Assuming the identity of the victim by copying their hash tags or instant messaging names, and then posting messages under that name or saying things in chat rooms that are intended to alienate the target from her friends and/or peers. For example, pretending to be Janice while saying hurtful things about Rebecca, who is Janice’s best friend, so that friend Rebecca turns against Janice.
12. Pretending to be somebody else on the Internet and then forming a relationship with the victim for the purpose of humiliation. For example, pretending to be a good-looking girl who is interested in a boy, then getting him to sext her with a nude image which the bully then posts online or spreads around the school. Another example is the highly publicized case of Megan Meier, in which a bully and her mother pretended to be a boy and started an online romance so that they could then humiliate Megan by dumping her and breaking off the romance in a hurtful and humiliating way. (13-year-old Megan then killed herself.)
12. Signing up for services in the victim’s name so that the victim receives emails or other offers for potentially embarrassing things such as gay-rights newsletters or incontinence treatment. It can also include things they hope will get the victim in trouble with their parents, such as signing up a teen from a highly religious family to receive porn offers or spam from adult websites.