As previously discussed, there is always an issue with safety of children and young adults when using the Internet and the risk of them sharing personal information.  These social networking sites and new forms of media can also be used by bullies in order to intimidate and harass their victims.  “Email, as is the case with any kind of communication, can be used to harass and cyberbully.” (Levinson, 2009, p. 168).  These bullies must find that teasing and bullying over cyberspace is so much easier than doing it face to face. “…the absence of a face and voice in email has long made it especially well suited for all kinds of swindles.” (Levinson, 2009, p. 170).  Not only can new media be used to bully or stalk someone, counter attacks of these can be videoed and uploaded to another form of new media – YouTube.  “YouTube, unfortunately, has given physical bullies an additional inducement, by providing a worldwide audience for videos uploaded of the beatings.” (Levinson, 2009, p. 170).  There have been countless incidents of bullies fighting/ beating up their victims, with a friend recording it and then later uploading it to YouTube.  Fortunately, as discussed in Levinson, this can then lead to the perpetrator being identified by the police.

 

According to Levinson, cyberbullying is usually considered a group activity, whereas cyberstalking is harassment or obsessed contact by an individual.  With more and more people using the Internet for their social networking, they are making themselves available for this cyberstalking.  Cyberstalking refers to contacting a person online repeatedly.  This contact can range from affectionate, to obsessive and vicious.  This cyberstalking can be much more damaging to an individual than cyberbullying.  “Just as stalking in the real world can be much more dangerous than traditional schoolyard bullying, so can cyberstalking have much worse impact than cyberbullying.” (Levinson, 2009, p. 173).  Tools provided in social media can make it easier for cyberstalkers to attack.  If you ‘check-in’ to a place on Facebook it appears on your page where you are, complete with a link to a map.  Google Earth, and Google Maps also make it easy for cyberstalkers to search addresses and view houses from the street view and a satellite view.  “Google Earth unfortunately can provide an ideal tool for those who want to take their cyberstalking to the real world.” (Levinson, 2009, p. 173).  Along with cyberstalkers, there are predators who lurk online, who our young people could be subjected too.  As Cassell and Cramer discuss in their paper, it is “ultimately, when young women construct sexualized images of themselves, or contact strangers, that communication technologies are felt to become dangerous.” (2008, p. 68).  The majority of the time conversations are simply innocent, but it is that small minority that we need our young people to be aware of and learn how to protect their identity, by not speaking to people who they don’t know and not putting provocative photographs of themselves online.

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