Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cyber Bullying: Questions and Answers


"Cyberbullying is any harassment that occurs via the Internet. Vicious forum posts, name calling in chat rooms, posting fake profiles on web sites, and mean or cruel email messages are all ways of cyberbullying".

Below questions and answers would help you to have a better understanding about cyber bullying.


Q: What does cyber bullying involve? What methods are used?
A: There are several ways that young people bully others online. They send e-mail containing insults or threats directly to a person. They may also spread hateful comments about a person through e -mail, instant messaging or postings on websites and online diaries. Young people steal passwords and send out threatening e-mail or instant messages using an assumed identity. Technically-savvy children may build whole websites, often with password protection, to target specific students or teachers.
These methods are simple as all one needs to know is how to log into the Internet, send/receive e-mail, chat and download files.
Q: Is there any way to trace the bully?
A: Yes, any kind of bullying or illegal activity done via the Net is traceable. This is done by analysing system logs, full headers and other information or evidence that can be extracted from a machine used to carry out the bullying activities.
Q: Is cyber bullying legal? Are there any laws to tackle such cases?
A: Cyber bullying is illegal. Bullies can be convicted under the Computer Crimes Act, the Penal Code or the Juvenile Act, depending on the nature or severity of the case.
Q: Whose responsibility is it to ensure this problem does not persist?
A: It is the responsibility of parents, schools and youngsters to take proactive action to prevent or minimise such activities in the society.
Parents should be more aware of and monitor their children's activities on the Internet. They should even consider installing software in their home PCs to monitor their child's online activities. Parents should also limit the time spent by their children on the computer. Schools can integrate curriculum-based Net-bullying programmes into classrooms and educate teachers, students and parents about the seriousness of cyber bullying. Schools may consider updating the school or board's computer Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) to specifically prohibit using the Internet for bullying.

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Comment: As everybody is able to act anonymously in the Internet, effective and applicable law should be enacted and imposed by legal entities to enusre this type of crime will be minimized.

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