That cyberbullying in the educational setting is not always directed at teachers. That report might have raised more eyebrows than this one: A new survey has found that one-third of American teens who frequent the online world have been targets of cyberbully attacks.
The survey, by the Pew Internet Project, found that girls were more likely than boys to be threatened, although most threats were pleas for personal information rather than promises of bodily harm.
Social networks were the most obvious and expected of attack settings, with 39 percent of users reporting such cyberbullying. Such figures might suggest a growing trend, but they also point up the nature of digital technology to reflect society as a whole. In other words, the online world is just another vehicle for those determined to make life difficult or unbearable for others. The different in cyberbullying, though, is that victims offer have little or no resistance available to them other than to shout the truth from the highest mountaintops, which might not be enough. Unregulated sites like MySpace are powerful avenues for slander campaigns, and the rapid nature of online traffic enables widespread bullying much more than it does defense against such attacks.