A Definition of Cyberbullying:
Cyberbullying is an act of one child, preteen, teen or young adult which is intended to harass, embarrass, or humiliate another child, preteen, teen or young adult using the Internet, mobile phones or other digital technology. Cyberbullying usually has at its root a desire to (1) balance or establish perceived power, (2) inflict harm on the other person, and (3) repetition of the bullying action to achieve the bully's end.
Forms of Cyberbullying:
Cyberbullying can take many forms. A recent study indicated that 63% of cyberbullying attacks come via social media, 25% come by email and 19% by phone. Posting photos online with a victim's head atop a body that is not theirs, hacking into a victim's Facebook page, posting embarrassing videos on YouTube, sending photos taken with a camera phone to many people, creating websites that tell lies or share embarrassing details have all been techniques used in recent years to harass unwitting victims.
The Cyberbullying Research Center estimates that 1 in 3 teenagers and young adults and 1 in 6 preteens have been victims of cyberbullying. Statistics also suggest that girls are much more likely to be victims than boys.
How Cyberbullying Differs from Other Forms of Bullying:
Bullying usually takes place in person and in front of a relatively small number of people. In contrast, cyberbullies harass their victims either anonymously, or at least in a setting where the victim's reaction is not immediately seen. This can result in the bully having no immediate feedback on their bullying, which may cause the attacks to intensify quickly. In addition, cyberbullies' attacks often encompass large groups of people through mass texts, Facebook posts, emails or posted videos that can at times go viral.
What Fathers Should Do If Their Child is a Victim:
Talk with your child to learn the extent of the attack(s). Help them think through options for dealing with this attack and to prevent future attacks. If the attacks turn vicious or threatening, report the actions to local police and school officials. Block the harasser from sending text messages or instant messages. Change all passwords for your child's email and other online accounts and have her keep them confidential. Check her online presence regularly to monitor for further problems.