Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mauritian kids exposed to ebullying

Studies from different countries suggest that around 1 in 10 children has been or is being bullied via ICT tools. This is known as cyberbullying. According to Wikipedia, "Cyberbullying or online bullying is the term used to refer to bullying and harassment by use of electronic devices though means of e-mail, instant messaging, text messages, blogs, mobile phones, pagers, and websites". However, cyberbullying can be more invasive, as bullies can continue to taunt their victims even when they are not physically present. For instance, the bully might send SMS messages late at night, interrupting the victim's sleep patterns and causing increased stress.

It can take many forms, and can involve quite sophisticated use of technology. For instance, children may use mobile phones with cameras to film bullying incidents – termed ‘happy slapping’ and post them online on video sites such as YouTube. An early example of cyberbullying was the case of the Star Wars Kid, where a private self-made video was shared without the boy’s permission online via peer-to-peer networks and became a global phenomenon. The boy in question suffered depression due to taunts from his peers, and unusually became a cult hero as a result. However, more typically, cyberbullying is low-level, persistent and has a constant negative impact on victims.


Physical impact: victims may find their health suffers due to the stress of bullying, and when cyberbullying is accompanied by physical harassment, te impact is more significant.
Educational impact: victims typically show poorer academic performance, and bullying can impact negatively on the morale of classmates.

Spoofing: bullies can use false mobile phone identities and hence aggravate their bullying actions by making themselves non-identifiable


74% of teenagers don’t ask for advice when they are cyberbullied. Source: MSN

10% of Belgian youngsters claims to have been a victim of bullying through the internet or by mobile phone. Source: Belgian node

12% of teenagers between 11 and 15 years old in the Netherlands experience bullying on the Internet. Source: Insafe Newsletter

Bluetooth bullies
Cyberbullying: big deal? (PDF in Dutch)
Spain offers support to victims of online bullying

Council of Europe Internet Literacy Handbook: Bullying Factsheet
Spanish node: Anti-bullying helpline
A Parents' Guide to Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats
Stop Cyberbullying
Internet Superheroes: Cyberbullying

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