“This type of bullying can be more serious than conventional bullying. At least with conventional bullying the victim is left alone on evenings and weekends,” says Ann Frisén, professor of psychology at the University of Gothenburg.

“Victims of Internet bullying – or cyberbullying – have no refuge. Victims may be harassed continuously via SMS and websites, and the information spreads very quickly and may be difficult to remove. In addition, it is often difficult to identify the perpetrator.”

Frisén’s research concerns body image, identity development and different types of bullying among children and adolescents. She is also part of an EU network of researchers studying cyberbullying and since the beginning of the year has been national coordinator of this type of research.

What is cyberbullying?

“Cyberbullying occurs when new technologies such as computers and mobile phones are used to harass or bully somebody. The perpetrators often use SMS, e-mail, chat rooms and Facebook to spread their message.”

One example of this is the Facebook group ‘Vi som hatar Stina Johansson’ (Those of us who hate Stina Johansson). “This Facebook group was very difficult to remove. It took Stina’s parents almost one whole month,” says Frisén.

Who are the victims?

Who are the victims? “Around 10 percent of all adolescents in grades 7-9 are victims of cyberbullying. There is a clear connection to school life – it usually calms downs in the summer. The perpetrator is almost always from the same school as the victim.

“It is a lot easier to be a perpetrator on the Internet since it enables you to act anonymously. This also makes it possible for a weaker person to bully a stronger, which is uncommon in conventional bullying,” says Frisén.

Blurring of boundaries is another important factor: “In these contexts, people take liberties they normally wouldn’t. For example, nobody would ever think of starting a magazine called “Those of us who hate Stina Johansson.’”

So how can cyberbullying among children and adolescents be prevented?

Parents have an important role, according to Frisén:

“Adults shouldn’t be so naive about what they put out about themselves on the Internet, for example, pictures. Kids get inspired by what adults do. In addition, it’s good if parents show interest and ask their children to show them which sites they like to visit. But it’s usually not a good idea to forbid them from visiting certain websites; they should instead teach them how to act when they are there.

“It is also important not to blame victimized children, since it’s really not their fault. Our job is instead to help them end the harassment.”

Frisén feels that people in Sweden generally are a bit naive when it comes to these issues. “All school children in the UK are taught to “zip it, block it and flag it” – don’t share information, block contacts and tell an adult!”

Source: University of Gothenburg

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Bullying?

Even if you’ve never been bullied or harassed, chances are you know someone who has. Harassment can be a big problem for kids and teens, especially when smartphones, online messaging, and social media sites make it easy for bullies to do their thing.

When bullying behavior involves unwanted sexual comments, suggestions, advances, or threats to another person, it’s called sexual harassment or sexual bullying.

Here’s what you need to know and what you can do if you or someone you care about is being sexually harassed or bullied.

What Are Sexual Bullying and Harassment?

Just like other kinds of bullying, sexual harassment can involve comments, gestures, actions, or attention that is intended to hurt, offend, or intimidate another person. With sexual harassment, the focus is on things like a person’s appearance, body parts, sexual orientation, or sexual activity.

Does your school do a good job of fixing bullying problems?

 

Sexual harassment may be verbal (like making comments about someone), but it doesn’t have to be spoken. Bullies may use technology to harass someone sexually (like sending inappropriate text messages, pictures, or videos). Sometimes sexual harassment can even get physical when someone tries to kiss or touch someone that does not want to be touched.

Sexual harassment doesn’t just happen to girls. Boys can harass girls, but girls also can harass guys, guys may harass other guys, and girls may harass other girls. Sexual harassment isn’t limited to people of the same age, either. Adults sometimes sexually harass young people (and, occasionally, teens may harass adults, though that’s pretty rare). But most of the time, when sexual harassment happens to teens, it’s being done by people in the same age group.

Sexual harassment and bullying are very similar — they both involve unwelcome or unwanted sexual comments, attention, or physical contact. So why call one thing by two different names?

Sometimes schools and other places use one term or the other for legal reasons. For instance, a school document may use the term “bullying” to describe what’s against school policy, while a law might use the term “harassment” to define what’s against the law. Some behaviors might be against school policy and also against the law.

For the person who is being targeted, though, it doesn’t make much difference if something is called bullying or harassment. This kind of behavior is upsetting no matter what it’s called. Like anyone who’s being bullied, people who are sexually harassed can feel threatened and scared and experience a great deal of emotional stress.

What Behaviors Count?

Flirting or Harassment?

How to Handle Sexual Harassment

If You See Something, Say Something

If You Suspect Something

…read more

Source: KidsHealth Org