What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is defined as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.” Cyberbullying can take many forms. Sometimes, it could be as simple as someone sending you abusive messages; for instance calling you names or insulting you. It could also entail sending out your private personal information to others in order to publicly shame you. It could even include a coordinated campaign of harassment by multiple individuals.
If something written to or directed at you is:
- Making you uncomfortable
- Making your feel embarrassed
- Done with malicious intent
- Done to you by many people
- A continuation of real world bullying
- or doesn’t stop after attempts to block or ignore the user(s) in question,
It is harassment, and you do not have to tolerate this behavior.
Whatever the form it takes, cyberbullying is a serious matter. It can lead to the victims feeling depressed, angry and frustrated. It destroys self confidence, and can lead to academic problems and even violence.
We take cyberbullying very seriously. We want our site to be a fun, inclusive community for everyone, and cyberbullying is absolutely not acceptable. It is against our Terms of Service (TOS), and may even be illegal (depending on the severity). If we find someone cyberbullying, we will immediately remove the account, and if requested, work with law enforcement to add real world consequences for online bullies. If you or someone you know are being bullied on Formspring, please contact us as soon as possible..
How is this different from regular bullying?
While cyberbullying is related to traditional bullying in many ways, it differs in a few key regards.
Many victims do not know who is bullying them. Unlike traditional bullying, which is often done face to face, cyberbullying is often done anonymously. Cyberbullies can use fake names, temporary emails, or even virtual phone numbers to harass victims. Cyberbullies also deal with a much more public space than traditional bullies. Internet abuse can easily be spread across various social networks or websites, making the victim feel more publicly humiliated than regular bullying.
Since the internet allows for anonymity and pseudonymity, many victims who don’t know their abusers think that nothing can be done to help them. We, along with many other social networks are working hard to dispel this conception. Even seemingly anonymous users can be held accountable for their actions by both the website and law enforcement. If you or someone you know is being abused by an anonymous individual, always report them to the site on which you’re being harassed.