ACS Malden

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Cyber-Bullying
An Information Sheet for Teachers and Other Professionals Who Work With Young People

The Benefits of Technology
This information may make the Internet, or mobile phones, or email accounts all seem rather dangerous - but technology is morally neutral and can be a channel for comfort as well as threats. The phone line that carries a threatening text message may also carry information and advice to an anxious parent or a worried child. Whilst technology can be used to bully, the Internet also can be a sanctuary for the victims of bullying by masking their "differences" and allowing them to be part of communities beyond their local one.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Problems
The digital age has seen the development of new ways in which to bully, slander and abuse. We are now faced with bullying by email, over the phone and by text message; with the use of digital cameras and camera phones to intrude on the privacy of individuals; with so-called 'happy slapping' attacks - the filming and sharing of physical attacks on individuals by groups; the posting of offensive websites; the impersonating of individuals through hijacking email accounts; abusive and threatening behaviour in chat rooms, on discussion boards and through instant messaging. We have also seen reports of school reunion sites being used to slander ex-pupils and teachers alike. A Scottish secondary school had to take its chat room offline due to aggressive bullying activity (Edinburgh Evening News 29.3.06). Recently a phenomenon called "bluejacking" (the sending of anonymous text messages over short distances using "Bluetooth" wireless technology) has been reported. All these examples of cyber-bullying may be taking advantage of cutting edge technology, but the motives of those who are doing this and the excuses they make for their behaviour are age-old.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some Issues
Technology allows the user to bully anonymously or from an unknown location, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
No place, not even a bedroom, provides sanctuary from the intrusion of a threatening text message or an abusive e-mail.
Cyber-bullying leaves no physical scars so it is, perhaps, less evident to a parent or teacher, but it is highly intrusive and the hurt it causes can be very severe.
Young people are particularly adept at adapting to new technology, an area that can often seem a closed world to adults. For example, the numerous acronyms used by young people in chat rooms and in text messages (POS - Parents Over Shoulder, TUL - Tell You Later) make it difficult for adults to recognise potential threats.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Advice for Professionals
If you manage a website, email service or chat room that is used by young people, then you should make sure that it is used safely:
Find out about any relevant guidelines that are published by your local authority or governing body.
Be prepared to close down any website or chat room if it is used to send bullying or threatening messages.
Agree a code of conduct. If the service is one, such as a chat room, that is used by a relatively small number of young people, any discussion could involve all users. If the service involves large numbers of young people, a representative group should be assembled and tasked with agreeing a code. All users should be required to agree to abide by this code.
Make sure that young people who use your messaging, email, mobile or web service know that any messages they send or post may be read by an adult.
Make sure that young people for whom you are responsible know that sending abusive or threatening messages is against the law.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Code of Conduct
Here are some points that could be included in the code of conduct that you discuss and agree with young people. Use these points to help you start the discussion, but aim to end up with a small number (up to five or so) of short statements that are suitable for the age of the users.

If you feel you are being bullied by email, text or online, do talk to someone you trust.
Never send any bullying or threatening messages. Anything you write and send could be read by an adult.
Serious bullying should be reported to the police - for example threats of a physical or sexual nature.
may be able to track the bully down.

5
★★★★★

Cyber-Bullying
An Information Sheet for Teachers and Other Professionals Who Work With Young People

The Benefits of Technology
This information may make the Internet, or mobile phones, or email accounts all seem rather dangerous - but technology is morally neutral and can be a channel for comfort as well as threats. The phone line that carries a threatening text message may also carry information and advice to an anxious parent or a worried child. Whilst technology can be used to bully, the Internet also can be a sanctuary for the victims of bullying by masking their "differences" and allowing them to be part of communities beyond their local one.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Problems
The digital age has seen the development of new ways in which to bully, slander and abuse. We are now faced with bullying by email, over the phone and by text message; with the use of digital cameras and camera phones to intrude on the privacy of individuals; with so-called 'happy slapping' attacks - the filming and sharing of physical attacks on individuals by groups; the posting of offensive websites; the impersonating of individuals through hijacking email accounts; abusive and threatening behaviour in chat rooms, on discussion boards and through instant messaging. We have also seen reports of school reunion sites being used to slander ex-pupils and teachers alike. A Scottish secondary school had to take its chat room offline due to aggressive bullying activity (Edinburgh Evening News 29.3.06). Recently a phenomenon called "bluejacking" (the sending of anonymous text messages over short distances using "Bluetooth" wireless technology) has been reported. All these examples of cyber-bullying may be taking advantage of cutting edge technology, but the motives of those who are doing this and the excuses they make for their behaviour are age-old.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some Issues
Technology allows the user to bully anonymously or from an unknown location, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
No place, not even a bedroom, provides sanctuary from the intrusion of a threatening text message or an abusive e-mail.
Cyber-bullying leaves no physical scars so it is, perhaps, less evident to a parent or teacher, but it is highly intrusive and the hurt it causes can be very severe.
Young people are particularly adept at adapting to new technology, an area that can often seem a closed world to adults. For example, the numerous acronyms used by young people in chat rooms and in text messages (POS - Parents Over Shoulder, TUL - Tell You Later) make it difficult for adults to recognise potential threats.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Advice for Professionals
If you manage a website, email service or chat room that is used by young people, then you should make sure that it is used safely:
Find out about any relevant guidelines that are published by your local authority or governing body.
Be prepared to close down any website or chat room if it is used to send bullying or threatening messages.
Agree a code of conduct. If the service is one, such as a chat room, that is used by a relatively small number of young people, any discussion could involve all users. If the service involves large numbers of young people, a representative group should be assembled and tasked with agreeing a code. All users should be required to agree to abide by this code.
Make sure that young people who use your messaging, email, mobile or web service know that any messages they send or post may be read by an adult.
Make sure that young people for whom you are responsible know that sending abusive or threatening messages is against the law.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Code of Conduct
Here are some points that could be included in the code of conduct that you discuss and agree with young people. Use these points to help you start the discussion, but aim to end up with a small number (up to five or so) of short statements that are suitable for the age of the users.

If you feel you are being bullied by email, text or online, do talk to someone you trust.
Never send any bullying or threatening messages. Anything you write and send could be read by an adult.
Serious bullying should be reported to the police - for example threats of a physical or sexual nature.
may be able to track the bully down.

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Text Size: A A A
Federal Laws

Although no federal law directly addresses bullying, in some cases, bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment when it is based on race, national origin, color, sex, age, disability, or religion. When bullying and harassment overlap, federally-funded schools (including colleges and universities) have an obligation to resolve the harassment. When the situation is not adequately resolved, the U.S. Department of Education??s Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice??s Civil Rights Division may be able to help.

Are there federal laws that apply to bullying?

At present, no federal law directly addresses bullying. In some cases, bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment which is covered under federal civil rights laws enforced by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). No matter what label is used (e.g., bullying, hazing, teasing), schools are obligated by these laws to address conduct that is:

Severe, pervasive or persistent
Creates a hostile environment at school. That is, it is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student??s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school
Based on a student??s race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion*
Although the US Department of Education, under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not directly cover religion, often religious based harassment is based on shared ancestry of ethnic characteristics which is covered. The US Department of Justice has jurisdiction over religion under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
What are the federal civil rights laws ED and DOJ enforce?

A school that fails to respond appropriately to harassment of students based on a protected class may be violating one or more civil rights laws enforced by the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, including:
Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

5
★★★★★

Text Size: A A A
Federal Laws

Although no federal law directly addresses bullying, in some cases, bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment when it is based on race, national origin, color, sex, age, disability, or religion. When bullying and harassment overlap, federally-funded schools (including colleges and universities) have an obligation to resolve the harassment. When the situation is not adequately resolved, the U.S. Department of Education??s Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice??s Civil Rights Division may be able to help.

Are there federal laws that apply to bullying?

At present, no federal law directly addresses bullying. In some cases, bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment which is covered under federal civil rights laws enforced by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). No matter what label is used (e.g., bullying, hazing, teasing), schools are obligated by these laws to address conduct that is:

Severe, pervasive or persistent
Creates a hostile environment at school. That is, it is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student??s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school
Based on a student??s race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion*
Although the US Department of Education, under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not directly cover religion, often religious based harassment is based on shared ancestry of ethnic characteristics which is covered. The US Department of Justice has jurisdiction over religion under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
What are the federal civil rights laws ED and DOJ enforce?

A school that fails to respond appropriately to harassment of students based on a protected class may be violating one or more civil rights laws enforced by the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, including:
Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

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Research had demonstrated a number of serious consequences of cyberbullying victimization.[4][6][7][8] For example, victims have lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and a variety of emotional responses, retaliating, being scared, frustrated, angry, and depressed.[6]
One of the most damaging effects is that a victim begins to avoid friends and activities, often the very intention of the cyber-bully.
Cyberbullying campaigns are sometimes so damaging that victims have committed suicide. There are at least four examples in the United States where cyber-bullying has been linked to the suicide of a teenager.[6] The suicide of Megan Meier is a recent example that led to the conviction of the adult perpetrator of the attacks.
Intimidation, emotional damage, suicide
According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, "there have been several high?profile cases involving teenagers taking their own lives in part because of being harassed and mistreated over the Internet, a phenomenon we have termed cyberbullicide ?? suicide indirectly or directly influenced by experiences with online aggression."[28]
The reluctance youth have in telling an authority figure about instances of cyberbullying has led to fatal outcomes. At least three children between the ages of 12 and 13 have committed suicide due to depression brought on by cyberbullying, according to reports by USA Today and the Baltimore Examiner. These would include the suicide of Ryan Halligan and the suicide of Megan Meier, the latter of which resulted in United States v. Lori Drew.
Lost revenue, threatened earnings, defamation
Studies are being conducted by large companies to gauge loss of revenue through malicious false postings. Cyberstalkers seek to damage their victim's earnings, employment, reputation, or safety. A 2008 High Court ruling determined that, generally speaking, slander is when a defamatory statement has been made orally without justification. Libelous statements are those that are recorded with some degree of permanence. This would include statements made by email or on online bulletin boards.[29]
Adults and the workplace

Cyberbullying is not limited to personal attacks or children. Cyberharassment, referred to as cyberstalking when involving adults, takes place in the workplace or on company web sites, blogs or product reviews.
A survey of 1,072 workers by the Dignity and Work Partnership found that one in five had been bullied at work by e-mail and research has revealed 1 in 10 UK employees believes cyberbullying is a problem in their workplace.[30]
Cyberbullying can occur in product reviews along with other consumer-generated data are being more closely monitored and flagged for content that is deemed malicious and biased as these sites have become tools to cyberbully by way of malicious requests for deletion of articles, vandalism, abuse of administrative positions, and ganging up on products to post "false" reviews and vote products down.
Cyberstalkers use posts, forums, journals and other online means to present a victim in a false and unflattering light. The question of liability for harassment and character assassination is particularly salient to legislative protection since the original authors of the offending material are, more often than not, not only anonymous, but untraceable. Nevertheless, abuse should be consistently brought to company staffers' attention.
Recognition of adult and workplace cyberbullying tactics
Common tactics used by cyberstalkers is to vandalize a search engine or encyclopedia, to threaten a victim's earnings, employment, reputation, or safety. Various companies provide cases of cyber-stalking (involving adults) follow the pattern of repeated actions against a target. While motives vary, whether romantic, a business conflict of interest, or personal dislike, the target is commonly someone whose life the stalker sees or senses elements lacking in his or her own life. Web-based products or services leveraged against cyberstalkers in the harassment or defamation of their victims.
The source of the defamation seems to come from four types of online information purveyors: Weblogs, industry forums or boards, and commercial Web sites. Studies reveal that while some motives are personal dislike, there is often direct economic motivation by the cyberstalker, including conflict of interest, and investigations reveal the responsible party is an affiliate or supplier of a competitor, or the competitor itself.

5
★★★★★

Research had demonstrated a number of serious consequences of cyberbullying victimization.[4][6][7][8] For example, victims have lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and a variety of emotional responses, retaliating, being scared, frustrated, angry, and depressed.[6]
One of the most damaging effects is that a victim begins to avoid friends and activities, often the very intention of the cyber-bully.
Cyberbullying campaigns are sometimes so damaging that victims have committed suicide. There are at least four examples in the United States where cyber-bullying has been linked to the suicide of a teenager.[6] The suicide of Megan Meier is a recent example that led to the conviction of the adult perpetrator of the attacks.
Intimidation, emotional damage, suicide
According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, "there have been several high?profile cases involving teenagers taking their own lives in part because of being harassed and mistreated over the Internet, a phenomenon we have termed cyberbullicide ?? suicide indirectly or directly influenced by experiences with online aggression."[28]
The reluctance youth have in telling an authority figure about instances of cyberbullying has led to fatal outcomes. At least three children between the ages of 12 and 13 have committed suicide due to depression brought on by cyberbullying, according to reports by USA Today and the Baltimore Examiner. These would include the suicide of Ryan Halligan and the suicide of Megan Meier, the latter of which resulted in United States v. Lori Drew.
Lost revenue, threatened earnings, defamation
Studies are being conducted by large companies to gauge loss of revenue through malicious false postings. Cyberstalkers seek to damage their victim's earnings, employment, reputation, or safety. A 2008 High Court ruling determined that, generally speaking, slander is when a defamatory statement has been made orally without justification. Libelous statements are those that are recorded with some degree of permanence. This would include statements made by email or on online bulletin boards.[29]
Adults and the workplace

Cyberbullying is not limited to personal attacks or children. Cyberharassment, referred to as cyberstalking when involving adults, takes place in the workplace or on company web sites, blogs or product reviews.
A survey of 1,072 workers by the Dignity and Work Partnership found that one in five had been bullied at work by e-mail and research has revealed 1 in 10 UK employees believes cyberbullying is a problem in their workplace.[30]
Cyberbullying can occur in product reviews along with other consumer-generated data are being more closely monitored and flagged for content that is deemed malicious and biased as these sites have become tools to cyberbully by way of malicious requests for deletion of articles, vandalism, abuse of administrative positions, and ganging up on products to post "false" reviews and vote products down.
Cyberstalkers use posts, forums, journals and other online means to present a victim in a false and unflattering light. The question of liability for harassment and character assassination is particularly salient to legislative protection since the original authors of the offending material are, more often than not, not only anonymous, but untraceable. Nevertheless, abuse should be consistently brought to company staffers' attention.
Recognition of adult and workplace cyberbullying tactics
Common tactics used by cyberstalkers is to vandalize a search engine or encyclopedia, to threaten a victim's earnings, employment, reputation, or safety. Various companies provide cases of cyber-stalking (involving adults) follow the pattern of repeated actions against a target. While motives vary, whether romantic, a business conflict of interest, or personal dislike, the target is commonly someone whose life the stalker sees or senses elements lacking in his or her own life. Web-based products or services leveraged against cyberstalkers in the harassment or defamation of their victims.
The source of the defamation seems to come from four types of online information purveyors: Weblogs, industry forums or boards, and commercial Web sites. Studies reveal that while some motives are personal dislike, there is often direct economic motivation by the cyberstalker, including conflict of interest, and investigations reveal the responsible party is an affiliate or supplier of a competitor, or the competitor itself.

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