We have all talked about "road rage" or "roid rage" (someone that gets violent because of using steroids.) A search on Google comes up with over 12,000,000 hits for web-rage.
Lawyers have now brought technology into the court room....the courts are now hearing web-rage as a defence for violence.
Answers.com defines web-rage as:
A user's frustration and anger when surfing the Web. Web rage is caused by such things as slow dial-up connections, busy servers, missing links, excessive results when doing a search, and very often, poorly designed Web sites that make you go through hoops to find what you want.
An article on BBC News from 2002 addresses this issue. People hitting their computer equipment, smashing other things around them, etc... BUT, it now has gone beyond just hitting equipment.
A BBC News article (Oct 2006) entitled Internet user admits web-rage is about two men that had a disagreement in a chat room that over flowed to real life. One of the men tracked the other man down from his personal information in the chat room and attacked him at his home.
There are really 2 issues here protecting your identity and harrassment. It is very important to protect ones identity when you are participating in any communication online with other people you don't know.
Teenagers quite often reveal too much personal information about themselves online. Several years ago in Canada we had a 32 year old man show up at a school looking for one of our 15 year old students from the information she had given him over a chat room. She was terrified and didn't realize that he would actually show up.
Violence online has become a common intimidation tool for a lot of students. Text bullying and threatening emails can often escalate to a physical attack. Our students live in an instant communication world. Quite often they do not think about the consequences before they press that send button.
Parents need to be aware of where their children are going on the Internet. Children should never have a computer in their bedroom - it should be located in a public family area such as the family room. Talk to your kids...find out what is happening in their "online world" - you'd be surprised.
How can a teacher deal with these issues in the classroom? Role playing in the classroom...have students situated in different roles...the aggressor and the recepient. Be sure to follow-up with a good discussion...this is one way to start students to look at this issue.
Talk to your student services/guidance department. They will be able to assist and there are also many outside agencies that can come in and talk to a school staff or students.