Here's some info on a disturbing trend. Cyberbullying, according to website stopcyberbullying.com, occurs "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. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is NEVER called cyberbullying."
Cyberbullying.us has a fact sheet on legal and policy issues on cyberbullying. It is dated April 2007. While their definition of Cyberbullying is not kid-specific, the inferred meaning is that cyberbullying is about kids.
We define cyberbullying as "willful and repeated harm inflicted through the medium of electronic text" (Patchin & Hinduja, 2006). We developed this definition because it is simple, concise, thorough, and captures the main elements of cyberbullying. Those elements include: "willful" (the behavior has to be intentional, not accidental); "repeated" (bullying reflects a pattern of behavior, not just one isolated incident); "harm" (the target must perceive that harm was inflicted); and "electronic text" (this, of course, is what differentiates cyberbullying from traditional bullying).
Which creates a bit of cunundrum. When adults start owning the term "Cyberbullying" are we taking attention away from the very real and important work that organizations are doing to protect our kids? Will their work become diluted because the term "cyberbullying" will no longer be the exclusive domain of youth but include cyberstalking and cyber harassment? From a marketing perspective, cyberbullying is a strong term. Much stronger, shorter, and zippier than cyberstalking or cyber harassment.
On March 5,2007, the Ad Council posted this video on YouTube.
But just because it sounds good doesn't mean we can use it. It's for the kids. Using it for our own problems feels a little like taking candy from a baby. On March 5, 2007 the ad council added their take on cyberbullying on YouTube. It's called the Cyberbullying - The Talent Show.Image Credit: Scott Mccleod
This is cross-posted at Blogher.