In this age of MySpace, cell phones, and instant messaging; it has never been more important to ensure that you are part of your children's lives: the real and the virtual. It is no surprise that girls are enamored with social communications as a way to make connections and keep in touch. By the time they are ten or eleven, they may be developing their own websites, and creating fun emoticons, avatars and colorful texts for their emails.

Let me give an example: Let's say there are two teen girls named "Julie" and "Anne". One day, Julie gives Anne a funny look in science class. Anne recoils, but does not do anything about it until she gets home and types "R U mad at me?" Julie responds, "U R 2 sensitive?" Rather than picking up the phone and straightening it out, Anne then sends a message about Julie to forty of their closest friends, beginning a progression of misunderstandings, and frustrations that eventually leads to someone – Anne, Julie, or maybe someone else –being ostracized, teased and left out in the cold. This unpleasant and likely sounding scenario, however unsettling, is not the norm that it is sometimes portrayed to be. Girls have not stopped talking to each other directly on the phone, as many parents can attest. While it is true that girls who have been raised not to show anger or deal with conflict directly continue to dodge face-to-face confrontations, the behavior itself isn't new. The tools of expression have simply changed.

And don't forget, CYBER BULLING happens to boys too.

What is Traditional Bullying?

Bullying is aggressive behavior that is intentional, repeated over time, and involves an imbalance of power or strength. Traditionally, bullying has involved actions such as: hitting, punching (physical bullying), teasing or name calling (verbal bullying), or intimidation through gestures, or social exclusion. In recent years, technology has given children and youth a new means of bullying each other. A child who is being bullied (either in real time or virtual) has a hard time defending him/herself.

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyber bullying which is sometimes referred to as online social cruelty or electronic bullying and can involve:

  • Sending mean, vulgar or threatening messages or images

  • Posting sensitive, private information about another person

  • Pretending to be someone else in order to make that person look bad

  • Intentionally excluding someone from an online group.

What are the Tools?

  • Emails, instant messages, text or digital messages from cells

  • Phones, web pages, web logs, blogs, chat rooms

  • Discussion groups, other information technologies

  • IPods, MP3 players.

How Common is Cyber Bullying?

  • 18% of students in grades 6–8 said they HAD BEEN CYBERBULLIED at least once in the last couple of months.

  • 11% of students in grades 6–8 said they HAD CYBERBULLIED another person at least once in the last couple of months.

  • 19% of regular internet users between the ages of 10–17 reported being involved in online aggression.

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