Newswise — Bullies in the schoolyard now have a new place to wield their punches " cyberspace.
"Cyberbullying," as it's now called, is like regular bullying except it's done online through sites like Facebook and MySpace and the use of cell phones, says Dr. Vivian Wright, associate professor of educational technology at The University of Alabama.
"'Cyberbullying' is much worse because you cannot see the bully, and it's a 24/7 thing. You can't get away from it," says Wright.
And, as cyberbullying grows, Wright said pressure is placed on schools to deal with this issue. "Schools are struggling with this issue because you're dealing with a student's private space, but they know they can't just ignore cyberbullying.
"We are seeing school systems address this problem in various educational programs, and those will continue to grow in number and in content."
Before students go online, Wright offers some basic tips that can help protect them from cyberbullying and encourage digital citizenship:
Ask yourself, 'Would you say it to a person face to face?' If the answer is no, don't post it.
Think before you post. Remember that pictures and video can be copied, circulated and altered.
Use "good" passwords. Don't use your pet's name or your middle name. Instead, use a combination of numbers and symbols -- something that would be hard for another person to guess.
Do not share personal information like home addresses or social security numbers.