Before the advent of the widespread use of the internet, bullying was confined to school grounds, classrooms, and backyards. Now, the virulence of bullying has taken on new meaning, as bullies take to the web to intimidate, harrass, embarrass, and offend others. Through email, cell phones, text messaging, and social networking sites, bullies can carry out their bullying in many cases without ever having to confront their victims, and often without consequence. Whereas the audiences for humiliation in the past was often limited to those who witnessed the bullying and perhaps talked to others about it, now, bullying takes place in cyberspace, where images and audio can be posted online for whole school communities to witness, discuss, and comment on. The social, psychological, and sometimes economic trauma experienced by victims can be devastating, and in some cases, cyber bullying has crossed the line and became a criminal act.
Because just about anyone can be the victim of cyber bullying, and because it often goes unreported, there are precious few resources available to victims, parents, teachers, and others interested in combatting this new form of bullying. This book provides, however, a thoroughly developed, well-researched analysis of cyber bullying – what it is, how it is carried out, who is affected, and what can and should be done to prevent and control its occurrence in society. The book captures the sensational, technological, and horrific aspects of cyber bullying while balancing these with discussion from perspectives about social computing, various academic disciplines, possibilities for public policy and legislation formulation, education, and crime prevention strategies. Using case examples throughout, readers will come away with a new sense of indignation for the victims and a better understanding of the growing problem and how to combat it.