Tuesday, May 1, 2012

5 Steps of Cyber-Bulling: How Proxy Bullying Works, Part 2

 How to Stop Bullies

Cyber-bullying utilizes bullying by proxy, or manipulating others into harming a victim on their behalf.

The internet makes bullying by proxy far more available, manipulative, and hurtful. Cyber-bullying by proxy can take place anywhere at any time—even without the victim’s immediate knowledge.

Of course, cyber-bullying requires an online social network—it is how a student comes in contact with a bully in the first place. The network can be as simple as the school’s intranet, or it can be a student’s Facebook account.

Here are 5 steps that cyber-bullies follow to use others as their proxy.

Step 1. Flag a peer’s account online

Cyber-bullies will start flagging another student’s online account as inappropriate, though the student has done nothing wrong. When internet provider (IP) servers receive enough flags on a particular IP address (computer), then the account gets blocked or shut down.

However, service providers are aware of this kind of abuse, and they usually verify the flags as a counter-measure. In response to that measure, a bully will often provoke the target into retaliating or saying something mean or defensive so that the flag shows up as legitimate.

Step 2. Tag an inappropriate image

Whether on their own account, a dummy account, or even on their victim’s account, a bully may post an inappropriate, insulting, or defamatory picture and tag their victim. The victim’s peers see the image and it spreads, or the peers may think the victim posted the image, causing backlash from friends.

Step 3. Hijack a student’s account to send inappropriate messages

If a bully is able to access account information, he/she may send rude, hateful, and inappropriate messages to the victim’s list of friends. Not only can the account then be flagged for inappropriate activity and get shut down, but the social ramifications are far reaching.

Step 4. Create a defamatory web page or group

A web page can create traffic, discussion, and inappropriate content related to a student. This is akin to gossiping in that the victim is unaware of the activity, but it goes far beyond merely talking about another person when pictures and even videos can be posted.

Step 5. Advertise their victim in chat rooms

One of the most harmful forms of bullying is the use of a chat room. Bullies have been known to enter explicit chat rooms and there advertise their victim’s online profiles, email, and sometimes even home phone numbers.

The internet provides a forum wherein the worst forms of bullying can be encountered. Now our students are bullying each other outside of the halls of school. What are your methods for preventing cyber-bullying? What role do we educators play in stopping these activities?

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