The latest way for kids and adults to pick on others falls in the traditional category: gutless. In times past, a bully, backed by his or her stooges would terrorize some hapless individual. Now, the bully doesn't need a posse to provide interference. He or she can use the internet.
It's a growing problem:
Parents must monitor their child's social group both at school and on-line. The intimidation can be brutal.
Studies conducted by the cyber-stalking advocacy group Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA), show that 31 percent of reported cases of Internet harassment began through e-mail, and 17 percent through instant messaging (IM) in 2006, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
Other research has yielded similar findings. Dr. Christine Suniti Bhat, a professor in the department of counseling and higher education at Ohio University, found IM to be the most common way kids harassed each other over the Internet.
Anyone can eventually be a target of stalking. It's easy and convenient for the person with lots of time on his hands to harass others on-line. The laws need to catch up to the times.