should know children's language
There's a new bully in town-cyberbully
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
HIG AAF MIHAP TCOY KWIM L8R.
Dont understand? Its a simple message to a friend in
acronyms and text messaging shorthand. It means, Hows
It Going? As A Friend - May I Have Your Attention Please - Take
Care of Yourself - Know What I Mean - Later.
While the language may seem foreign to some, most teenagers are
very familiar with it - they can text a message faster than you
can decipher what the meaning is.
The new language of the technology age of today is seen commonly
whenever people are online, which can include cell phones, PDAs,
websites, blogs, instant messaging - IM, and more.
Communication in any language can be a good thing or it can be harmful.
Its the person doing the communicating that sets the tone
for the conversation. With 17 million kids ages 12-17 using the
Internet, a new term has erupted: cyberbullying. The difference
between playgound bullying and cyberbullying is the setting. The
playground is of course out in the open, but the cyberspace is,
somewhat anonymous. With the beginning of the new school year only
days away, the face of bullying could be more than a confrontation
on the playground.
People sometimes say things on the Internet or through a text message
on a cellular phone they would never say in a face-to-face confrontation.
They feel invisible. Its just them and their keyboard and
computer or phone. However, according to information from the Center
for Safe and Responsible Internet Use, the idea of being invisible
is false. What some cyberspace users may not know is that they are
leaving little cyberfootprints wherever they go. Their
behavior can be traced.
Sgt. Noel Houze Jr., Public Information Officer for the Indiana
State Police, Versailles Post, noted that in some cases criminal
charges can actually be filed after detectives find Internet fingerprints.
What defines cyberbullying?
According to Nancy E. Willard, M.S., J.D., it is being cruel
to others by sending or posting harmful material or engaging in
other forms of social cruelty using the Internet or other digital
technologies. Cyberthreats are either direct threats
or distressing material that raises concerns that a young person
may be considering committing an act of violence against others
Willard, who has a background in working with at risk
children, law, and technology in schools, wrote, The impact
of cyberbullying on the well-being of students and the school climate
can be significant.
There are different types of cyberbullying. Some include:
angry, rude arguments
spreading rumors or posting false information online
giving out private information or tricking someone into disclosing
pretending to be someone else and posting material to damage
that persons reputation
intentional exclusion from an online group, or creating fear
by sending offensive messages.
Communication online can be very cruel and vicious. The incidents
can occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with information widely
spread that is impossible to fully remove. This type of behavior
can cause great emotional harm to the person who becomes the target.
What is merely a game for some teens who think theyre invisible
online, becomes harmful to their target, sometimes resulting in
death for the victim.