“At-risk youth” includes those with mental health issues, those with learning disabilities and physical challenges, those going through life changes (like moving to a new town, or changing schools or divorce or those with a recent death or serious illness in the family). Sometimes their physical vulnerabilities are used to target them – from their weight (too fat or too thin), to their sports abilities, to their intelligence (“stupid” is the word most often used to target others), to their financial positions (both too rich or too poor), to their physical abilities (special needs youth or those with complex learning challenges), to their national origin, religion or ethnicity.
Any young person who is different from others in their community is vulnerable to cyberbullying.
Some young people are more vulnerable for certain beliefs, physical differences and being in the minority. These include GLBT+ youth, those without gender-identities or with different gender-identities, victims of violence or sexual abuse, those engaged in sexting or who have been “morphed” to make it appear they were engaged in sexting) and those whose secrets are being held hostage.
No one can hide most of these things about us. Those in a wheelchair are obviously in a wheelchair. Ethnicity and racial differences are physically evident. Females veiling or men in turbans are telling about religious or cultural differences. Stopping bigotry and intolerance is a challenge bigger than just addressing cyberbullying. But at The Cybersafety Group we work on radicalization and inclusion and many others are too.
In the meantime, we are ALL different! And in our differences we are better and more understanding. We are special in ways that matter.
There are physical and mental health vulnerabilities there are situational vulnerabilities (new town, recent death in the family), temporary vulnerabilities (recent break-up or short-term home disfunction) and other special vulnerabilities.
How Are You Different?
Have a question for Parry Aftab, our Executive Director? She’s one of the world’s first cyberlawyers and specializes in digital privacy and security. Submit your question here. She’s select two questions a week and answer them publicly, here. Don’t worry. We won’t show your name or use any personal information in our response. Parry will not address questions seeking legal advice or those accusing someone of wrong-doing. But you can ask her anything about cybersafety or cyberbullying. Check out some previous “Ask Parry” questions and answers. Read More