Safekids - ein engl. Infoportal zur Sicherheit im Web

Sicherheitsnadel (Wikimedia Commons)We don’t call it “pencil bullying” when someone uses a wooden stick with lead inside to write someone a threatening note. When a person shakes her fist in front of someone’s face, we don’t call it “fist bullying.” And when kids don’t let other kids sit at their lunch table, we don’t call it “table bullying.”

Yet when someone uses a cell phone or the Web to harass, demean, defame, or annoy another person, we give it the special name “cyberbullying.”

I was reminded of this when I read a news story about two teens from North Carolina who are facing cyberbullying charges for threatening a classmate. “According to arrest warrants,” according to the News & Observer story, “one of the teens posted comments on the (Facebook) page about running over the victim with his pickup truck.” The other teen was charged for saying that “he was bringing a gun to school to hunt [the victim].”

Those are very serious charges and, if true, are worthy of legal intervention. But are they cyberbullying or plain, old threats and intimidation? If they were scrawled on a bathroom wall, we wouldn’t call this “toilet bullying.” Take away the Facebook angle and this story could have been written 50 years ago. It’s not about technology, it’s about the way that people behave toward one other. I don’t think we need special cyberbulllying laws to protect people from threats that have long been illegal. In addition to the law, schools have the right to intervene if off-campus behavior affects life at school.

The same can be said for less extreme cases of harassment that happen to occur online. There are countless incidents at schools where kids tease, ridicule, intimidate, or otherwise harass classmates. In past years, these incidents might start on campus and haunt the victim even when away from school. I remember being harassed at school and then being threatened as I walked home. No one called that after-school incident “sidewalk bullying” and if school authorities or the police had intervened (they didn’t), I suspect they would have regarded the school and after-school incidents as part of a continuum, not separate events. ..." (Quelle: Larry Magid,