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Which of the following traits of character is NOT characteristic of cyberbullies?
Interviewer [female]: Good afternoon, listeners. With us in the studio today is Bruce Boyle, director of an Anti-Bullying Foundation. He's here to talk to us about bullying, particularly at schools. Welcome, Bruce. Could you start by explaining what bullying is?
Bruce [male]: Good afternoon and thanks for having me on the show. Well, to answer your question, bullying is repeated, nasty behaviour towards a victim. This could be anything from saying hurtful things to physical violence such as punching and kicking. And I must stress, it must be repeated, so a single act of meanness or violence, though also unpleasant, is not considered bullying.
Interviewer: You mentioned hurtful comments and violent behaviour, which I suppose are the signs we are most familiar with, but there are other types of bullying as well, aren't there?
Bruce: Yes, the examples I gave are very obvious forms of bullying known as direct or face-to-face bullying; it's the type of behaviour that a teacher can see and try to stop. But there is also indirect bullying, which isn't as obvious. It can include the bully giving the victim threatening looks, spreading rumours, making fun of the victim's clothes or personality, and not including the victim socially at school or at after-school events. This kind of bullying harms the victim's relationships with their classmates. I suppose it's more psychological than face-to-face bullying. And finally, there's cyberbullying.
Interviewer: It's been in the news a lot lately. There have been some very serious cases.
Bruce: Unfortunately, that's true. Modern technology can be an enemy, not a friend. Bullies can send mean texts and emails, they can take and share insulting photos, and post unkind messages on social networking sites. They can pretend to be the victim online and behave badly or in a way that may harm the real victim's relationship with others . It's a very cowardly form of bullying. In some ways, it's worse than real life bullying. Cyberbullying can happen 24-hours a day and the victim can't escape it. Embarrassing or harmful material can reach many people very quickly.
Interviewer: You said earlier that cyberbullying is cowardly. Would you say that's because the bully can hide their true identity and not face their victim at all?
Bruce: Yes, exactly. For the bully, it's an anonymous and safe way to hurt their victim. In fact, they might not act that way at all in real life because they would be scared of the consequences. You know, bullying is now a crime and bullies can get into very serious trouble.
Interviewer: I see. Let's go back to bullying in the school environment. Apart from actually seeing a face-to-face episode, are there signs of bullying that a teacher can look out for? Anything that will let a teacher know someone is being bullied?
Bruce: Yes, there are definite signs. Victims of bullying are often alone or not included in social groups at school; if asked what is wrong, they refuse to talk about it; they lack the confidence to speak in class and generally seem insecure and frightened; their schoolwork is badly affected and they start getting lower marks.
Interviewer: I imagine there are things parents can look out for, too.
Bruce: Oh yes. There are changes in eating and sleeping patterns; they may have bruises and scratches as well as … (fade).
Modern technology can be an enemy, not a friend. Bullies can send mean texts and emails, they can take and share insulting photos... It's a very cowardly form of bullying.