Get With It! A Guide to Cyberbullying

National Centre for Technology in Education, Office for Internet Safety, & Barnardos. (ND). Get With It! A Guide to Cyberbullying.
The ease of access to powerful communication tools such as social networking websites, video and photograph sharing sites, internet enabled camera-phones and games consoles means that, all over the world, people are saying new things in new ways to new audiences. Individuals are sharing ideas and views like never before. Email, instant messaging, texting, and social networking sites such as: Bebo, Facebook, MySpace and Nimble, are allowing children in Ireland to connect with each other and engage with society in ways that were previously unimaginable. At the same time we are seeing how the anonymous, instant, and far-reaching communication capabilities have brought a new dimension to child protection issues such as bullying. Bullying is not a new phenomenon. However the ways in which it happens are changing. Technologies are being used by young people for a wide range of activities that annoy, harass, and intimidate each other. Depending on the context, these behaviours can be considered anywhere on a spectrum from relatively harmless to very damaging. The issue is further clouded by the fact that this generation of teenagers is dealing with a massive amount of communications that don’t have the nuance of tone-of-voice or body language; two factors that play such an important role in how we interpret messages. In the past, throw away comments disappeared into the ether as soon as they were spoken whereas nowadays messages are persistent, almost permanent. In fact these communications are archived online and are not only visible to many but may be searchable, even when they are believed to have been removed. The internet gives us a window into many previously unknown aspects of children’s lives, things that previously happened without our knowledge.