Cyberbullying is not about technology, but about the way technology is used. Just like a baseball bat’s main purpose is to engage in a sporting activity, if someone uses it to hit another person, it can cause serious damage.
Cyberbullying is not such a new phenomenon, since it is linked to bullying in general. There have always been bullies, who thrive on the mockery and humiliation of others and there always will be. What makes it so unique in its viciousness is that compared to school-yard bullying (or offline bullying) the target has no way to get a break or get away from it. Cyberbullying is open for business 24/7. Nasty text messages, ridiculing e-mails, fake websites or troll Facebook accounts enable the bully to pursue its victim after school hours. Especially since text messages and other form of messages can spread like wildfire.
To make it more specific, imagine an awkward teenager standing in front of his class, reciting a lesson which he/she may not have fully prepared for. A pretty humiliating experience in itself, one that I believe only a few of us have not experienced. Now imagine a classmate filming this on his/her Smartphone and promptly posting it on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and/or other social media sites teens are using these days.
This is why there is still a massive need for awareness and education, of parents, of teachers and of children themselves. Even if perhaps a large portion of cyberbullying starts out as casual joking and just having fun from the bully’s point of view, bullying is never ok, and children and young people need to understand its consequences…