Internet pushing more girls towards cyber bullying

May 11th, 2009 - 4:31 pm ICT by ANI  

Facebook Sydney, May 11 (ANI): An Australian expert is concerned that with the advent of the Internet, children, especially girls, are becoming even meaner while bullying other girls online.

Donna Cross, a professor of child and adolescent health at Edith Cowan University, says that internet anonymity encourage girls to say things they might not say face-to-face.

And with the lack of immediate feedback from a cyber victim or playground audience, cyber bullies do not hesitate going to any lengths to torture their targets.

“The extent to which they can be nasty is greater than ever before,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Cross as saying.

Cross says that the effects of cyber bullying may be more damaging than playground bullying, not just because the slander and humiliation could be sent around the world and could last indefinitely.

She claims that victim paranoia is heightened when the bully is anonymous, which is usually the case online.

“She’s not sure who to avoid. If someone laughs in the playground, she wonders if they’re laughing at her,” said Cross.

But still, if the damage to the cyber victim is potentially greater, the same goes or the perpetrators when exposed.

“What these girls have done is dreadful, but at 14 or 15 we’ve all done really stupid things. Unfortunately their stupid things are so public they’ll be affected for a long time,” she said.

While boys also used modern technology to harass and taunt, it was the intimacy of girls’ relationships that has made them particularly vulnerable when a friend turns foe.

In fact, girls also spent more time on social networking sites than boys.

Cross says that young people do not realise the ramifications of online cruelty.

She suggests that parents set rules, monitor sites, and even become friends on their children’s Facebook or MySpace profiles. (ANI)

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