Cyberbullying by Proxy
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.
1. Cyberbullying, like classic bullying, is about human relationships involving the balance of power and control. Children who cyberbully have an easier time establishing authority, rule and dominance using Information and Communications Technology concurrent with a captive peer audience.
2. Those that cyberbully desire making the feel there is something wrong with them. Having the internet with rapid potential at their disposal, they have many digital avenues to succeed.
3. Cyberbullying is perceived more intensely for todays “Always Online Generation”. Given that digital technology increases the spread of information rapidly, children are aware that potential adverse information about them can have devastating effects on their reputation (aka, Online Reputation).
4. The Millennial or Online Generation is increasingly communicating in ways that are often unknown by adults and away from their supervision using mobile digital technology. Without monitoring, cyberbullying can run rampant.
5. Cyberbullying may be educated to children as a cowardly because cyberbullies can hide behind the anonymity that the internet provides. If educating the child using this line of reasoning occurs, it is mandatory to address that classic bullying is not the courageous alternative.
6. Cyberbullies can communicate their hurtful messages to a very wide audience with remarkable speed that the target child cannot halt with Cyberbullying by Proxy.
7. Cyberbullying has far fewer tangible consequences using information technologies to bully others. Parents and caregivers need to be mindful of the difficulty compiling evidence necessary to prove their child is engaged in cyberbullying others.
8. Cyberbullies do not have to own their actions, as it is usually very difficult to identify them, so they do not fear punishment for their actions. With advancements in information technology, it can be very difficult compiling identity specific evidence on who they are and their geographic location.
9. Cyberbullying is often outside of the legal reach of schools and school boards as this behavior often happens outside of school on home computers or via mobile devices. Compounding this difficulty is some cyberbullies do not even reside within the same town county or state as the target child making legal and law enforcement involvement very difficult.
10. Victims of cyberbullying are often fearful of telling others because they fear that the bullying may actually become worse if they tell adults or school officials. For this reason, many targeted children suffer in silence.
11. Victims of cyberbullying are afraid to report to adults about being cyber bullied, as they fear that adults will over-react and take away their mobile phone, computer and/or internet access.
12. In most cases, cyberbullies know the target child, but the target child may not know their cyberbullies.
13. Cyberbullies may or may not bully the target child through physical, verbal, emotional or psychological means that are more easily identified. Using Cyberbullying by Proxy, cyberbullies can involve their friends to be the primary assailants of the bullying tactics.
14. With the dawn of mobile devices and wireless internet access, communications have become ubiquitous.
15. Cyberbullying can happen any time and any place for children. Home is no longer a refuge from negative peer pressure and abuse. Cyberbullying in the Information Age offers mobile device technology, which will continue to expand at a rapid pace.
16. In 2011, 94% of 14-15 year olds regularly maintain a social networking profile. Cyberbullying has become the weapon of choice for bullies in the place of more overt harassment or classic bullying.
17. When adults bully children or teenagers online, it is defined as cyberstalking or cyber harassment and punishable as criminal in most states. At present, cyberstalking and cyber harassment by children are not regarded punishable by minors.
18. It is hard for children and adults to distinguish their online identity and their offline identity as two separate forums. Unfortunately, both children and adults sometimes lose sight of the differences. When this occurs, they are more susceptible to psychological distress, cyberbullying and criminal cyber attacks.
Cyberbully Prevention Strategies
1. Teach your child to use the blocking function at their social networking sites. After blocking the cyberbully, teach your child to not reply to their messages and report their abusive messages to the site administrators.
2. Block the cyberbully. Most mobile devices have settings that allow your child to electronically block emails, IMs or text messages from specific people. Teach them to do this often if anyone they interact with behaves aggressively.
3. Limit access to your child’s technology if necessary. Many children who are bullied cannot resist the temptation to check web sites, their phones, message boards and chat rooms to see if there are new messages posted by the cyberbully or friends privy to the cyberbullying.
4. Some companies allow parents to turn off text messaging services during certain hours, which can give bullied children a break and allow parents to relax during these off hours.
5. Know your child’s online world. Check their postings and the sites they frequent, and be aware of how they spend their time online. A simple cost free monitoring mechanism is to set up a Google Alerts using your child’s name and hometown. This way, you will be sent messages to your inbox regarding some of your child’s online activities.
6. Educate your child on the importance of privacy. Most importantly, educate your child on the importance of not sharing personal information online, even with friends, intimate partners or love interests.
7. Encourage them to safeguard their passwords at all costs other than sharing them with parents in case of an emergency.
8. An effective way of monitoring your child’s status online is making sure that your child has an aunt, uncle, or other adult they really like and respect as a friend that will discuss their online activities.
9. Keep the home computer in a public area of the home and limit the use of cell phones and games to negotiate times and schedules.
10. To reduce cyberbully and potential online sexual predator contacts, it is important to change the home online schedule rules to prevent potential assailants from learning the times your child will be online.
“To be a human being means to possess a feeling of inferiority which constantly presses towards its own conquest. The greater the feeling of inferiority that has been experienced, the more powerful is the urge for conquest and the more violent the emotional agitation.“ Alfred Adler (1870-1937)
Cyberbullying by Proxy
Cyberbullies who misuse the internet to target other children often enlist friends to act as accomplices and has been termed, Cyberbullying by Proxy. These accomplices, unfortunately, are often unsuspecting. They know they are communicating irate or provocative messages, but do not realize they are being manipulated by a cyber harasser, cyberbully and iPredator. That is the beauty of this type of scheme. The attacker merely prods the issue by creating indignation or emotion on the part of others, sits back and let others do their dirty work.
Then, when legal action or other punitive measures are initiated against the accomplice, the cyberbully can claim that they never instigated anything and no one was acting on their behalf. They claim innocence and blame their accomplices are a scapegoat is needed for slaughter. If the accomplices are made as scapegoats, they have no legal legs to stand on once their IP addresses and other identification forms of evidence are compiled. It is brilliant and very powerful. It is also one of the most dangerous kinds of cyber harassment or cyberbullying.
Another method of Cyberbullying by Proxy is using an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to do their bidding. Cyberbullies do this using AOL, MSN or another ISP as their “proxy” or accomplice. When they engage in a “notify” or “warning” wars, they are using this method to get the ISP to view the victim as the provocateur. A notify or warning war is when one child provokes another, until the victim lashes back. When they do, the real attacker, the cyberbully, clicks the warning or notify button on the text screen.
This captures the communication and flags it for the ISP’s review. If the ISP finds that, the communication violated their terms of service agreement (which most do), they may take action. Some accounts allow several warnings before formal action, but the results are the same. The ISP does the cyberbullies dirty work when they close or suspend the target child’s account for a “terms of service” violation. Most knowledgeable ISPs know this and are careful to see if the child warned is really being set-up. Sometimes cyberbullies use the target child’s own parents as unwitting accomplices. They provoke the target child and when they lash back, the cyberbully saves the communication and forwards it to the parents of the target child. The parents often believe what they read, and without having evidence of the prior provocations, think that their own child instigated the conflict.
This tactic works just as easily in a school disciplinary environment, where the cyberbully hopes to have the school blame the target child. That is why those in authority should never take any cyberbullying at face value before completing a thorough investigation.
Top Cyberbully Motivations Quick List
- 1. Anger
- 2. Revenge
- 3. Frustration
- 4. Entertainment
- 5. Boredom
- 6. Ample Free Time
- 7. For Laughs
- 8. To Get A Reaction
- 9. By Accident
- 10. To Torment
- 11. Ego
- 12. Social Standing
- 13. Righting Wrongs
- 14. Perceived Chivalry
“In defense of our persons and properties under actual violation, we took up arms. When that violence shall be removed, when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, hostilities shall cease on our part also.“ Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Cyberbullying iPredator Website Pages
Cyberbully Triad: The Cyberbullying Triad is a term used to describe the three typologies of children that harm other children using Information Technology. This writer’s terms to categorize cyberbullies include the Ignorant Cyberbully, Righteous Cyberbully & Narcissistic Cyberbully. Of the three profiles, the Narcissistic Cyberbully is the most problematic having the highest probability of engaging in malevolent and nefarious online activities as an adult. Link: Cyberbully Triad-Types of Cyberbullying & Cyberbully Facts
Cyberbully Mind: Cyberbullying is defined as the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the commission of verbal and/or physical attacks, by one or more children towards another child, who is unable or unwilling to deescalate the engagement. Given that the vast majority of this abuse occurs in cyberspace, the factors, drives and motivations for cyberbullying are extremely complex. Provided is a brief introduction to the psychodynamics of cyberbullying and the cyberbully mind. Link: Cyberbully Minds-Psychodynamics of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying Tactics: Cyberbullying continues to grow devastating both pre-pubescent and adolescent children. Unlike pre-Information Age bullying, cyberbullies and their tactics are primarily designed and instituted in the hidden realm of cyberspace. No one knows the depths Information Age children will venture in their practices to harm other children. NYS Licensed Psychologist, Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D., offers his 2015 Cyberbullying Tactics for review and free download. Link: Cyberbullying Facts-Cyberbullying Examples & Bullying
Cyberbullying Facts: Cyberbullying facts, prevention education tips & resources are presented for download, at no cost, for parents, educators & pediatric professionals. Author of the Information Age Forensics construct, iPredator, Dr. Nuccitelli has compiled helpful information regarding both the cyberbully and cyberbully victim. Link: Cyberbullying-What is Cyber Bullying & Cyberbullying Facts
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. is a NYS licensed psychologist and cyber criminology consultant. He completed his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Adler University in 1994. In 2010, Dr. Nuccitelli authored the dark side of cyberspace concept known as “iPredator.” In November 2011, he established iPredator Inc., offering educational, investigative, and advisory services involving criminal psychology, cyberstalking, online predators, internet trolls, the dark side of cyberspace and internet safety. Dr. Nuccitelli has worked in the mental health field over the last thirty-plus years and he has volunteered his time helping cyber-attacked victims since 2010. His goal is to reduce victimization, theft, and disparagement from iPredators.
In addition to aiding citizens & disseminating educational content, Dr. Nuccitelli’s mission is to initiate a sustained national educational and awareness internet safety campaign with the help of private, state, and federal agencies. He is always available, at no cost, to interact with online users, professionals, and the media. To invite Dr. Nuccitelli to conduct training, media engagements, educational services, or consultation, please call him at (347) 871-2416 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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