Cyber bullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed, or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen, or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies, or mobile phones. Cyber bullies can be classmates, online acquaintances, and even anonymous users, but most often they do know their victims.
According to a recent survey, more than one-third of U.S. teens say they have been cyber bullied or know someone who has. Cyber bullying can lead to low self-esteem and other negative emotional responses. Victims may feel scared, frustrated, humiliated, angry, and even depressed. They may become isolated, withdrawn, jumpy, or nervous when receiving a text or instant message, and may even stop going to school. There have been several reported cases in which cyber bullying victims have committed suicide.
Both boys and girls sometimes bully online, and just as in face-to-face bullying, tend to do so in different ways. Boys more commonly bully by sending messages of a sexual nature or by threatening to fight or hurt someone. Girls more often bully by spreading rumors and by sending messages that make fun of someone or exclude others. They also tell secrets. Both victims and perpetrators of cyber bulling are twice as likely to be girls.
Examples of Cyber Bullying:
- Sending someone mean or threatening emails, instant messages, or text messages
- Excluding someone from an instant messenger buddy list or blocking their email for no reason
- Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others
- Breaking into someone's email or instant message account to send cruel or untrue messages while posing as that person
- Creating websites to make fun of another person such as a classmate or teacher
- Using websites to rate peers as prettiest, ugliest, etc.
HISD has a zero tolerance policy against bullying, and students caught cyber bullying at school can be disciplined under the Code of Student Conduct. If you believe you are being cyber bullied or if you know someone who is, please contact your school's principal or another trusted adult on your campus.Prevention and Response:
HISD has partnered with Common Sense Media and the Cyber Bullying Research Center to educate our students, parents, and educators about the dangers of cyber bullying and to provide resources to assist with prevention and to facilitate response to incidents.
Check out the videos, tip sheets, tools, and links on this page to help prevent cyber bullying and to know what to do if it happens to you, your friend, your child, or one of your students.
- Tip sheet: elementary school
- Tip sheet: middle and high school
- Questions parents should ask
- Prevention tips for parents
- Response tips for parents
- Talking to your teen about online harassment
- Preserving evidence through screen shots
- Laws and legislation
- Common texts and chat room abbreviations
- What if my child is the bully?
- Reporting online abuse