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Technology Gives Boys and Girls More Ways to Harass Each Other

The Cyberbullying Research Center has released a new report, surveying cyberbullying among children ages 11 to 18. Among the findings:

• 7% of youth admitted that they prevented their romantic partner from using a computer or cell phone.
• 6% of boys and 4% of girls say they posted something publicly online to make fun of, threaten, or embarrass their romantic partner.
• About 7% of youth said they sent a threatening cell phone message to their romantic partner.
• 5% of boys and 3% of girls said they uploaded or shared a humiliating of harassing picture of their romantic partner online or through their cell phone

Alarming, but consider this piece by danah boyd about cyberbullying, which has shaped my thinking around the topic:

When are we going to recognize that the main issue is bullying and, rather than focus on the rapidly shifting technology, focus on the bullying itself? Like it or not, the technology is going to keep magnifying bullying in new and unexpected ways. Focusing on the technology will not make the bullying actually go away, although the more we push it underground, the less visible it is to adults. (For example, private profiles have made a lot of previously visible bullying now invisible.)