Online Harassment and Cyberbullying
Online Harassment: Threats or other offensive behavior, sent online to the youth or posted online about the youth for others to see.
Awareness of online harassment has increased since the first Youth Internet Safety Survey (YISS) was published. Stories about people using the Internet to threaten, embarrass, harass, and humiliate youth have been widely reported in the media.
- YISS-2 saw a 50% increase in online harassment.
- One in 11, or 9% of youth said they were harassed online in YISS-2, compared to approximately 1 in 17, or 6% in YISS-1.
Click here for more information about the Youth Internet Safety Surveys: http://unh.edu/ccrc/internet-crimes/projects.html
Increased time spent online among the youth population could account for at least part of this increase; however, we expect a considerable portion of the increase reflects a real rise in online incivility among youth. In addition to the youth who said they were harassed, we found a marked increase in the number of youth who admitted to being rude and harassing to others online.
- The number of youth who said they had “made rude or nasty comments to someone on the Internet” increased from 14% in YISS-1 to 28% in YISS-2.
- The number who said they had “used the Internet to harass or embarrass someone they were mad at” increased from 1% to 9%.
These behaviors are highly related to being harassed online (Ybarra & Mitchell, 2004a). The Internet is apparently being used more and more for the bullying and harassment widespread among many youth peer groups.
Although the term cyberbully is often used interchangeably with online harassment, there are some important differences to take note of.
Click here to read more: http://unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/CV172.pdf
What Can We Do?
There are worrying signs about the increasing numbers of youth experiencing online harassment, including bullying, threats, and other offensive behavior. We need to do more to head off this trend; we need to:
- Describe the harassment and bullying problem effectively and in detail so youth, parents/guardians, and other authorities understand it and identify it when they see it.
- Make sure existing anti-bullying and other prevention programs include discussions about Internet harassment and cyberbullying as part of their content.
- Create and publicize codes of conduct that include Internet behavior and get these codes adopted through Internet service providers, schools, clubs, and organizations as well as on web sites.
- Encourage Internet service providers, schools, and other youth-serving organizations to have strong sanctions against Internet harassment and cyberbullying.
- Because much bullying and harassment, both off- and online, occurs in school or arises from events that occur in school, School Resource Officers could be an important component in prevention and intervention programs.