Six Things Parents Need to Know About Cyberbullying September 16, 2008Posted by cyberpatrol in cyberbullying.
The Internet has changed the playground bully into the in-my-bedroom-bully.
The Internet has changed the playground bully into the in-my-bedroom-bully. It’s true; the line between school life and home life is gone. Kids can no longer leave the social pressures, cliques, bullies, snootiness and the other highlights of adolescence at school.
Today, bullying/cyberbullying is:
Options for a bully circa 1980 were to steal some lunch money, call someone a name and maybe shove them into a locker. Today, kids can poke, message, email, text, post on their wall, send them a mean virtual present … the list goes on and on and changes by the day. The Internet has brought thousands of ways to bully someone without ever being caught.
Before, if you got in a fight at school, or found out you were not invited to a party, you were able to come home and vent about it to your family, get a snack and cool off. Now, if you are mad at someone, you can instantly send a text message to your social networking profile to post a mean comment. Now there is no ‘off’ time and the second something happens, everyone knows about it because they all get alerts or texts from automated news feeds or plugged-in friends. Teens are checking these services constantly, so before what took a few days to spread, now can take a few minutes.
Some things, like postings on your wall, video, a text message or email, you can delete. Other things, such as photos or social network announcements can be up there forever or until the writer removes them. A black eye can disappear, posted messages may not.
It is really hard to walk up to someone and say to them: “You are a fat pig.” It is much easier to write that on someone’s Facebook wall. Technology provides a way for students to be mean even more ‘behind the back.’ Many times, you can even post pictures, videos or send messages anonymously! This has changed the face of bullying because it allows people to be mean and not face the consequences—they can’t get punched back and they can hide it from parents and teachers.
It is really important to talk about these new aspects of bullying. Make sure to discuss the ramifications of letting a friend take a sexy picture, disabling the Facebook wall or what would happen if they got in a fight with a friend.
Parents, let your kids know they can always come to you or to a teacher if they see or feel something uncomfortable online.
Vanessa Van Petten is the author of the book You’re Grounded! Her parenting tips as a family peacemaker have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fox 5 New York, and CBS. Please check out her site: http://www.OnTeensToday.com and email your questions for future columns to email@example.com