In another alarming example of a practice that has come to be known as digital bullying, a San Francisco student was publicly mocked when a hacker broke into a high school's Web site and posted an image of the young man alongside mean-spirited rhetoric.
According to an article on SFGate.com, school officials on Wednesday noted that someone had replaced George Washington High School's usual news, schedules and information with a set of photos apparently intended to humiliate a particular student.
One image showed the boy's face pasted onto a scantily clad muscleman's body with racist language splashed across the picture. The hacker used the "N" word, along with what appear to be gang references.
The school site was closed down mid-Wednesday, but the offensive images reappeared Thursday morning before the site was again shut down. No word yet on who orchestrated the attack or how it was pulled off.
According to a survey conducted earlier this year by U.K. children's charity NCH, one in five kids has been bullied via digital phone or computer. Bullying by text message was the most common form of abuse reported, with 14 percent of children interviewed saying they had received upsetting messages on their mobile phones. The interactions run the gamut from disconcerting to downright terrifying.
The more extreme instances of techno-bullying involve so-called "happy slapping," where physical assaults are recorded on mobile phones and distributed to Web sites and other phones via video messaging.