No doubt, the Internet can be an extremely useful tool for young people.But instant messaging, chat rooms, emails and social networking sites can also bring trouble - from cyberbullying to more serious Internet dangers, including exposure to sexual predators.After all, you don’t have to be dating someone to be in a relationship.While boyfriends and girlfriends are probably what teens usually associate with the word, there are many other types of relationships out there: parents, siblings, friends and teachers are just a few!Cyberbullying differs from schoolyard bullying, Handy says. "When it happens online, there's no one to filter it," she says.And cyberbullies don't witness their victims' reactions, the way they might if they insulted others to their faces.
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While sexual predators have targeted children in chat rooms, they migrate to wherever young people go online, Shehan says.
More predators are now scouring social networking sites, such as My Space and Xanga, because these sites have centralized so much information, Shehan says.
"She'd say, 'I hate you; leave the school,' and she called me every name in the book," says Handy, now an 18-year-old senior in New Jersey.
With the speed and ease of the Internet, her classmate soon recruited 20 others to bully Handy online. As the ordeal dragged on for months, she dreaded going to school, felt physically ill and saw her grades tumble.