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Cyberbullying Myths You Need to Know

By Tamekia Reece

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Here are some very real myths about cyberbullying you will want to know to protect your children and yourself.

MYTHS and TRUTHS about bullying and technology

Suppose you were asked: What is cyberbullying?

Could someone get in trouble for it? Is it as bad as face-to-face bullying? What should or shouldn’t you do if you’re being cyberbullied?

Could you answer each of those questions? If not, you’re definitely not alone. Although cyberbullying is talked about often in real life, magazines, movies, and on the Internet, a lot of misinformation still exists. To help keep you safe (and out of trouble), here’s the real deal on cyberbullying.

MYTH: Everyone experiences online bullying — cyberbullying

TRUTH: Anyone who spends time in the digital world will come across negativity. It might mean being called a hater because you disagree with someone on an online message board, receiving a mean text message from a friend you’re having a disagreement with, or getting a “that’s dumb” comment about your YouTube video. Those things aren’t cyberbullying. “Cyberbullying is when someone repeatedly targets you in a negative manner using electronic media: texting, instant messaging, calls, e-mails, online forums, or social networks,” says Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, author of CyberSafe.

MYTH: Cyberbullying isn’t as bad as face-to-face bullying

TRUTH: It’s possibly worse. When someone bullies you in person, the bullying stops when you’re no longer around that person. With cyberbullying, even if you turn off your computer or cell phone, the hurtful messages will be waiting when you turn the device back on. That constant harassment can have damaging effects. “Cyberbullying victims may experience anxiety, fear, self-esteem issues, or physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, or trouble sleeping,” O’Keeffe says. Some teens, she adds, feel so hopeless they think they have to take drastic steps to end their pain.

That almost happened with Pennsylvania teen Heather.* After a classmate noticed she and Heather had identical pencil cases, the girl told her friends Heather had copied. “They contacted me on Face-book chat asking what my problem was and saying I was stupid,” Heather says. Because it was about something so simple, Heather thought it would be a one-time thing. But they repeatedly sent messages for more than a month, calling Heather names, saying she had problems, and telling her everyone disliked her.

“I was depressed, felt really bad about myself, and (believed] no one liked me,” Heather says. “I even thought about hurting myself physically.” Fortunately, Heather didn’t act on her thoughts and instead got counseling. However, the many news reports of teens committing suicide or harming others because of cyberbullying show some teens aren’t as lucky.

MYTH: Only known troublemakers are likely to cyberbully

TRUTH: The anonymous nature of the Internet makes it easy to say and do things you wouldn’t in person, O’Keeffe says. Anyone could be behind the screen: the swim team captain, the most popular guy at school, the quiet girl from science class.

Plus, people sometimes get caught up in cyberbullying without intentionally meaning harm, says Thomas Jacobs, a retired judge and the author of Teen Cyberbullying Investigated. Think about it: When a celeb is a trending topic on Twitter, people tweet insults and jokes because they’re bored, they think it’s fun, or they don’t want to be left out. The same can happen with teens. “If the bully is popular, other teens may feel pressured to join in because ‘everyone else is doing it,'” Jacobs explains.

MYTH: Cyberbullies are never caught

TRUTH: With a little investigative work, law enforcement officials can trace just about anything you do online or through a cell phone back to you, says Jacobs. And cyberbullying, depending on the circumstances, can have severe consequences. “Not only may there be punishments at home, bullies may face suspension, expulsion, or other disciplinary action at school, and there can also be legal consequences — like your parents being sued or criminal charges being filed against you,” Jacobs says.

MYTH: Fighting back online will stop the cyberbullying

TRUTH: Doctoring your bully’s online photos or creating a slam book probably won’t make him or her leave you alone. It will most likely start a cyber war. “Instead of trying to retaliate against the bully, it’s best to save copies of harassing messages or online posts [in case you need them as proof later], and then ignore the person,” Jacobs says. Many bullies like the attention they get from bothering others, so if you ignore a bully by not responding and blocking the person from contacting you by phone, IM, e-mail, or your social networking profiles, he or she may get bored and leave you alone.

If you have a bully who just won’t quit (or you’re being threatened), it’s time to call in some adult help. Don’t worry about losing your phone or Internet privileges if you tell your parents. You most likely won’t: Being cyberbullied isn’t your fault, and parents usually understand that, Jacobs says. Notifying your parents or other trusted adults, such as your school principal or counselor, is a good idea because they may be able to do things you can’t — such as talking with the bully’s parents, reporting the bully’s behavior to an Internet service provider, or if it’s really bad, contacting law enforcement officials. Whatever you do, don’t think you have to deal with it on your own. The important thing to remember, Jacobs says, is no one has to suffer from cyberbullying, because help is available. CH

31 percent of teens admit they have said something online that they would not have said face-to-face.

Source: GFI Software 2011 Parent-Teen Internet Safety Report

Need Cyberbullying Help?

www.stopcyberbullying.org. This Web site by the group WiredSafety includes information on identifying cyberbullying, preventing it, and how to handle it if it happens to you.

www.stopbullying.gov. This government Web site has a ton of information on both bullying and cyberbullying.

www.athinline.org. Get facts on digital abuse and cyberbullying and learn how to deal with those things and help others at this Web site from MTV.

Bully Block app. Block unwanted text messages, pictures, and calls with this app for Android phones. You can also record to a secret file and send the information to your parents.

Think About It…

Why, do you think, is it so easy for cyberbullying to take hold and continue? What are some ways teens who are bystanders can help stop cyberbullying?

Source: Reece, T. (2012). Cyberbullying 411. Current Health Teens, 38(5), 7-9.

Related Continuing Education Course for Mental Health Professionals

Bullies have moved from the playground and workplace to the online world, where anonymity can facilitate bullying behavior. Cyberbullying is intentional, repeated harm to another person using communication technology. It is not accidental or random. It is targeted to a person with less perceived power. This may be someone younger, weaker, or less knowledgeable about technology. Any communication device may be used to harass or intimidate a victim, such as a cell phone, tablet, or computer. Any communication platform may host cyberbullying: social media sites (Facebook, Twitter), applications (Snapchat, AIM), websites (forums or blogs), and any place where one person can communicate with – or at – another person electronically. The short and long-term effects of bullying are considered as significant as neglect or maltreatment as a type of child abuse. This course reviews evidenced-based research for identification, management and prevention of cyberbullying in children, adolescents and adults. It will describe specific cyberbullying behaviors, review theories that attempt to explain why bullying happens, list the damaging effects that befall its victims, and discuss strategies professionals can use to prevent or manage identified cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a fast-growing area of concern and all healthcare professionals should be equipped to spot the signs and provide support for our patients and clients, as well as keep up with the technology that drives cyberbullying.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 

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New CE Course on Cyberbullying

By Edie Deane-Watson, MS, CCC-A, CCM & Laura More, MSW, LCSW

Bullies have moved from the playground and workplace to the online world, where anonymity can facilitate bullying behavior. Cyberbullying is a fast-growing area of concern and all healthcare professionals should be equipped to spot the signs and provide support for our patients and clients, as well as keep up with the technology that drives cyberbullying. This new online course is here to help:

CyberbullyingCyberbullying is a new 2-hour online CEU course that reviews evidenced-based research for identification, management and prevention of cyberbullying in children, adolescents and adults. Cyberbullying is intentional behavior, meant to hurt another person. It is not accidental or random. It is targeted to a person with less perceived power. This may be someone younger, weaker, or less knowledgeable about technology. It is by nature invasive and repetitive. Any communication device may be used to harass or intimidate a victim, such as a cell phone, tablet, or computer. Any communication platform may host cyberbullying: social media sites (Facebook, Twitter), applications (Snapchat, AIM), websites (forums or blogs), and any place where one person can communicate with – or at – another person electronically. Cyberbullying is similar to in-person bullying in three ways: it is an act of aggression, there is a power imbalance, and the negative behavior is often repeated. Unlike traditional in-person bullying, however, cyberbullying is persistent and invasive. The short and long-term effects of bullying are considered as significant as neglect or maltreatment as a type of child abuse. This course will describe specific cyberbullying behaviors, review theories that attempt to explain why bullying happens, list the damaging effects that befall its victims, and discuss strategies professionals can use to prevent or manage identified cyberbullying. Course #21-09 | 2016 | 32 pages | 15 posttest questions | $28

This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

 

Popular Related Courses of Interest

 

Children with difficult temperaments and those with developmental delays may have learned to express their dissatisfaction with challenging and defiant behavior like whining, anger, temper tantrums or bad language. They sometimes engage in negative behavior or “misbehave” because they do not have the necessary skills – communicative or otherwise – to make their needs known. The purpose of this course is to teach clinicians effective and practical strategies to manage challenging and defiant behavior in their young clients. The course will also focus on how clinicians can educate parents on how to manage difficult behavior and avoid power struggles at home. The dynamics and techniques described in this course are intended for use with typically functioning children and those with developmental or language delays. They are not generally adequate or even appropriate for children with serious behavior conditions like oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorders.

 

School refusal is a problem that is stressful for children, for their families, and for school personnel. Failing to attend school has significant long and short-term effects on children’s social, emotional, and educational development. School refusal is often the result of, or associated with, comorbid disorders such as anxiety or depression. Careful assessment, treatment planning, interventions, and management of school refusal are critical to attainment of the goal of a successful return to school as quickly as possible. Interventions may include educational support, cognitive therapy, behavior modification, parent/teacher interventions, and pharmacotherapy.

 

This is a test only course (book not included). The book (or e-book) can be purchased from Amazon. This CE test is based on the book “Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem-Solving Approach” (2006, 246 pages). This book provides a detailed framework for effective, individualized intervention with highly oppositional children and their families. Many vivid examples and Q&A sections show how to identify the specific cognitive factors that contribute to explosive and noncompliant behavior, remediate these factors, and teach children and their adult caregivers how to solve problems collaboratively. The book also describes challenges that may arise in implementing the model and provides clear and practical solutions. Two special chapters focus on intervention in schools and in therapeutic/restrictive facilities.
 

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How Does Cyberbullying Affect the Lives of Young People?

cyberbullyingIn our technologically advanced society, not all bullying is physical. Start a discussion about cyberbullying and how young people can protect themselves and their friends

By Beth Cassidy

In the past, bullying occurred in places such as the school playground.

But these days, some young people fall victim to a more sinister type of abuse: cyberbullying.

Using different types of technology, young people can now be subjected to a world of virtual taunting and harassment.

To help protect young people, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre has asked social networking site Facebook to install a panic button on every page of its site which would allow users to report abuse immediately.

Start a discussion with young people about cyberbullying. Are young people aware of what it is? Discuss what it might involve. Cyberbullying is defined as a young person bullying another young person using technology such as text messages, social networking sites, chat rooms or emails. Writing nasty comments about someone on their Facebook page, sending threatening or Cybermentors offer support to victims of bullying abusive texts and writing intimidating emails are all forms of cyberbullying. Some cyberbullies have even created online hate groups about a young person and invited their peers to join.

Have young people ever been victims of cyberbullying? How did they feel? Did they talk to anyone about it? Cyberbullying is particularly nasty because the bullies can get to their victim without even being in the same room, making it more difficult to escape or track down the culprits. Discuss why teenagers being cyberbullied may feel worried about going to school. How might they feel? Paranoid? Anxious? Suicidal?

Discuss what measures young people can take to protect themselves from cyberbullying. Do young people think a panic button on sites such as Facebook is a good idea? Will it make young people feel more secure online? Talk about whether cyberbullying should be discussed in school lessons. Do young people think more awareness would help stamp out cyberbullying? What would young people do if they experienced cyberbullying? How would they advise a friend who was being bullied online?

As with any type of bullying, it’s important that young people tell someone they trust Cyberbullying is serious. Young people can do their bit by keeping an eye on friends and talking to them if they see any signs of cyberbullying. Confidential website services such as Beatbullying’s CyberMentors give young people the opportunity to talk to someone their own age, rather than an adult. Consider how this could empower young people to speak out about bullying.

Source: Cassidy, B. (2010, April 27). How does cyberbullying affect the lives of young people? Children & Young People Now, 22.

Cyberbullying prevention

Related Online Continuing Education Courses: 

Bullying Prevention: Raising Strong Kids by Responding to Hurtful & Harmful Behavior is a 3-hour online CE course. This video course starts with a thoughtful definition of “bullying” and goes on to illustrate the functional roles of the three participant groups: the targeted individuals, the bullies, and the bystanders. The speaker discusses the concepts of resiliency, empathy, and growth/fixed mindsets, and considers the pros and cons of alternative responses to harmful behavior. Included also are an examination of the utility of zero tolerance policies and a variety of adult responses when becoming aware of bullying behavior. The speaker utilizes multiple examples and scenarios to propose strategies and techniques intended to offer connection, support and reframing to targeted individuals, motivation to change in the form of progressive, escalating consequences to bullies, and multiple intervention options to bystanders. Further segments discuss ways in which schools can create safe, pro-social climates.

Electronic Media and Youth Violence is a 1-hour online CE course. This course, based on the publication Electronic Media and Youth Violence: A CDC Issue Brief for Educators and Caregivers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, focuses on the phenomena of electronic aggression. Electronic aggression is defined as any kind of harassment or bullying that occurs through email, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites, blogs, or text messaging. The brief summarizes what is known about young people and electronic aggression, provides strategies for addressing the issue with young people, and discusses the implications for school staff, mental health professionals, parents and caregivers.

Building Resilience in your Young Client is a 3-hour online CE course. It has long been observed that there are certain children who experience better outcomes than others who are subjected to similar adversities, and a significant amount of literature has been devoted to the question of why this disparity exists. Research has largely focused on what has been termed “resilience.” Health professionals are treating an increasing number of children who have difficulty coping with 21st century everyday life. Issues that are hard to deal with include excessive pressure to succeed in school, bullying, divorce, or even abuse at home. This course provides a working definition of resilience and descriptions of the characteristics that may be associated with better outcomes for children who confront adversity in their lives. It also identifies particular groups of children – most notably those with developmental challenges and learning disabilities – who are most likely to benefit from resilience training. The bulk of the course – presented in two sections – offers a wide variety of resilience interventions that can be used in therapy, school, and home settings.

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for all programs and content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by theTexas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2015 in General

 

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