Bullying is nothing new. Whether it be with fists or words, there have always been people who try to exert their power or just torment others.

Cyberbullying is a form of harassment and is sometimes an actual crime. It can take place through Facebook, e-mail, chat rooms, instant messaging, text messages, Web sites, mobile phones, online games blogs -- to name a few. Kids, parents and teachers alike can take action to prevent cyberbullying or deal with it when it happens.

When the harmless prank gets out of hand and turns malicious and dangerous, the police should be called in to help. Harassing, teasing or spreading harmful or illegal statements or materials about others through the Internet or cell phones has lead to devastating results in the past few years. We all need to be aware of how we can help.

Children as young as nine years old are finding themselves harassed via blogs, Web sites, text-messaging and instant messaging. And, many retaliate by becoming cyberbullies themselves. Cyberbullies are often real life bullying victims who turn to the Internet as a way to get even.

This kind of activity often begins on school grounds and continues at home, creating many gray areas of responsibility and liability.

Examples of cyberbullying are:

  • Someone has a Web site where children can vote for the ugliest, most unpopular or fattest girl in the school.
  • Someone sends private and very personal information or images about someone else to others or posts them online for the public to see.
  • Former best friends betray the other’s trust or passwords.
  • Someone posts a nasty thing about another in a blog.
  • Someone with a photo or video cell phone shoots pictures in a locker room or bathroom and posts them on Internet.
  • Someone puts hateful messages into a child's Facebook.

Parry Aftab, a privacy lawyer specializing in the cybercrime, privacy and cyber-abuse risks, publishes information about fighting cyberbullying online.