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Cyberbullying is using information and communication technology to cause harm to another person. This is deliberate and is often repeated. This kind of bullying can cause great distress and affect a person's self esteem and confidence.[1] Victims do not feel safe because this can happen anywhere and at anytime, at school, or even in their own homes. Governments around the world are under increasing pressure to do something about the problem.[2] The Simple English Wikipedia does not tolerate cyberbullying at any level, and has strong policies to stop it. "Cyberbullying can have very real, very destructive consequences, and as such should not be underestimated as simple name calling or mistaken as being trivial..."[3]

Cyberbullying is very common among children and teenagers. A US study showed that 58% of children report that someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than four out of ten teenagers say it has happened to them more than once.[4] An Australian study showed that 25% of children report they have been cyber bullied.[1] The US study reported that 53% of children admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online. More than one in three have done it more than once.[4] A study by Microsoft/Galaxy Research in 2008 reported 21% of children between 10-13 said that they have been cyberbullied, compared to 31% of 14-17 year olds.[1]

It is harmful[change source]

Cyberbullying is harmful. It is never funny or amusing to the victim.[5] Incidents that might seem small, or even trivial, may not seem this way to the person being bullied.[5] Immediate action is called for, because these things can quickly grow.[5] Often a bullying comment on the Simple English Wikipedia may be only a part of a much larger, and constant bullying attack.[6]

There have been many reported deaths after young people became so depressed over bullying incidents that they took their own lives.[7] In 2006, a 13 year old girl in Missouri killed herself after receiving mean messages on MySpace from a woman pretending to be a teenage boy. The state of Missouri then made it against the law in Missouri to use technology or text messages to harass someone.[8] Some bullying, while not identifying an individual to the world, would certainly be seen by the victim who know that they were the target. This includes the "John is fat" type comment. Even if deleted the edit could still be seen in the page history.

Protect yourself[change source]

It is a part of our responsibility to make the Simple English Wikipedia safe for our users. We already do a lot of things to make sure it is a safe place. Users also have to take some responsibility to keep themselves safe. Bullying expert Phyllis Kaufman Goldstein recommended several protective steps[9]:

  • User names should not show a person's name, age, sex, location, or any other personal information.
  • Don't select a user name that could attract the wrong crowd or bring negative attention.
  • Do not give out any personal or identifying information. This can include your name, names of family/friends, home address, phone number, school, malls, parks or other locations near your home, your favorite teams, email addresses or photos.
  • Report bullying immediately to admins.

As we target the project at younger users, and also have a large number of younger editors, the project needs to provide a safe environment. Experienced editors often advise new and younger editors to protect their on-line privacy.

What we can do[change source]

The Simple English Wikipedia will not tolerate cyberbullying:

  • Bullying is "Grossly insulting and degrading", and as such it qualifies for Revision Deletion.
  • Any edit which makes a negative, degrading and insulting comments about another person is cyberbullying. Some of these may also be covered by the Wikipedia:No personal attacks policy.
  • Give bullies one strong warning: "Your latest edit is cyberbullying. The Simple English Wikipedia does not tolerate this behaviour. If you do it again you could be blocked." ({{subst:Cyberbully warning|ARTICLE NAME (optional)}}).
  • Admins can immediately block a user/ip on a second offence. This is to provide immediate protection for the victim, so blocks only need to be short (one or two hours). A message like "This account has been been blocked for cyberbullying" needs to placed on the talk page ({{subst:cyberbully block|time}}).
  • Quickly hide all bullying edits. If an individual is identified then oversight may be needed.
  • Help younger users protect themselves through our guidelines: Wikipedia:Protecting children's privacy

Other websites[change source]

References[change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Cyber bullying". Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  2. "Law falling behind cyber bullying trend - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Retrieved 13 September 2010.
  3. "Sticks and Stones Can Break My Bones, Cyberbullying Can Potentially Kill". Retrieved 13 September 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "i-SAFE Inc". Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Cyberbullying - 10 Ways to Protect Your Children from Cyberbullying". Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  6. "Cyberbullying - Personal Cyberbullying Stories". Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  7. "Cyberbullying Continued After Teen's Death - The Early Show - CBS News". Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  8. Salter, Jim (June 30, 2008). "Mo. governor signs cyberbullying bill - Internet-". MSNBC. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
  9. "Cyberbullying - How to Stop Cyberbullying". Retrieved 12 September 2010.