Monday, August 16, 2010


August 13, 2010. Back to school is a time when adults begin looking at school related issues. New to our technological world, is the issue of cyberbullying. According to Dr. James Hughes, CEO of Inspirations for Youth and Families, a teen residential program and boarding school for behavior problems, “teen cyberbulling is a behavioral issue that occurs when Teens bully other people through use of the internet, cell phones, and other media sources.” As defined by the researchers, cyberbullying includes aggressive, intentional, repeated acts against victims who cannot easily defend themselves. There are two kinds of cyberbullying, direct attacks (messages sent to your kids directly) and cyberbullying by proxy (using others to help cyberbully the victim, either with or without the accomplice's knowledge). Because cyberbullying by proxy often gets adults involved in the harassment, it is much more dangerous.

Dr. Hughes states: “Cyberbulling is a teen behavior problem and an indicator of a more serious mental health issue. Teens involved in cyberbulling are often engaging in teen drug abuse, which can lead to an escalation of the bullying and physical harm to the victim.” Dr. Hughes and Inspirations teen residential program works with community organizations to bring cyberbullying to the frontline of “concerning teen behaviors”, along with teen drug use and teen drug abuse behaviors. According to Stop Cyberbullying, a non-profit web-based organization, there are several approaches in cyberbulling:

Teens may send hateful or threatening messages to other teens. While not said in real life, unkind or threatening messages are hurtful and very serious.

Teens send death threats using IM and text-messaging as well as photos/videos.Text wars or text attacks are when teens gang up on the victim, sending thousands of text-messages to the victims cell phone or other mobile device. The victim is then faced with a huge cell phone bill and angry parents.

Blogs are online journals. They are a fun way for teen to send messages for all of their friends to see. However, teens sometimes use these blogs to damage other teen’s reputations or invade their privacy.

Children used to tease each other in the playground; now they do it on Web sites. Teens sometimes create Web sites that may insult or endanger another teen. They create pages specifically designed to insult another teen or group of people. Teens also post other people’s personal information and pictures, which put those people at a greater risk of being contacted or found.

Many of the newer cell phones allow teens to send pictures to each other. The teens receive the pictures directly on their phones, and may send it to everyone in their address books. There have been cases of teens sending mass e-mails to other users, that include nude or degrading pictures of other teens. Once an e-mail like this is sent, it is passed around to hundreds of other people within hours; there is no way of controlling where it goes.

Teens often take a picture of someone in a locker room, bathroom or dressing room and post it online or send it to others on cell phones. Teens can use graphics and photo-crop to alter an innocent picture into looking pornographic.

According to the July issue of Archives of General Psychiatry and author Dr. Matthew Davis, an associate professor of pediatrics, internal medicine and public policy at the University of Michigan, children aged 10 to 17 years old were reportedly aggressive to another person on the interned, 4 percent were victims of online aggression, and 3 percent reported being an aggressor and a target. In cyberbullying, victims are at risk 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The widely publicized death of aMassachusetts teen who took her life after months of relentless cyberbullying, created national attention and highlighted this media-based crime.

As teenagers return to school, most schools and educational professionals are very concerned about alarming teen behaviors including teen drug abuse and teen cyberbullying. Dr. Hughes of Inspirations states: “If schools take a proactive position and create consequences, along with the support of law enforcement, teen behaviors will be considered serious and result in legal charges. Cyberbullying creates a paper trail and data trail, allowing for an easier trace of the cyber-perpetrator and cyervictim. Effective anti-bullying programs are ones that suggest that bystanders should get involved and report it to the school.

Written by: K. CorcoranSources: Inspirations for Youth and Families, LLC – Dr. James HughesStop Cyberbullying and Wired Kids Inc.

If the information you are looking for is not found here and you need immediate attention you may contact us:
Addiction Treatment for Teens: 1-888-757-6237

Addiction Treatment for Adults and Young Adults: 1-888-387-6237

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