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Stop Cyberbullying

9 Apr

With the promise of anonymity, the internet can empower teens (or anyone for that matter) to harass or bully another person without feeling the seriousness of their actions.  One website reported that 43% of teens say that they have experienced online bullying.  This is way too high a number.  Online bullying is a very serious phenomena that should be stopped.  Each of us have a responsibility to fight to stop cyberbullying.

If you are the one being bullied, it is suggested here that you:

  • Act quickly
  • Don’t erase any electronic evidence (email, blog or Facebook posts, chat room dialogs, etc)
  • File a complaint with the Internet Service Provider, social network site, or cell phone company
  • Contact the school if the cyberbullying may be school related
  • If a threat is made, contact law enforcment
Teens in general are encouraged here to:
  • Not to put yourself at risk online.  Be careful who your online “friends” are and don’t hang around online places where people could treat you badly.
  • Say “No” to bullying.
  • Report bullying. If you watch and do nothing, it is the same as condoning the bully’s actions. Tell an adult.
  • Treat others with respect. Be careful how you communicate online so you are not insulting others.
  • Good Friends Don’t Keep Deadly Secrets! If someone you know is thinking about suicide, tell an adult.
  • Spread the word. Tell your friends that bullying is not cool, it’s cruel. Get involved in your school or community to make others aware of the consequences of bullying.
The same website suggests that parents:
  • Know the signs of suicide. Pay attention to sudden changes in your child’s behavior. Treat all clues seriously and seek professional help immediately if your child exhibits signs of suicide.
  • Teach your children to treat others with respect and kindness.
  • Get involved. Tell your friends and neighbors about the risks of bullying/cyberbullying and its connection to teen suicide.

Educators have a unique responsibility to be the first line of defense when they see a student who they suspect is being bullied.  Educators are responsible for:

  • Respond to ALL instances of bullying. Just responding with “that is not acceptable” will go along way toward ending bullying. Ignoring bullying is the same as condoning it.
  • Know the signs of suicide. Watch students for abrupt changes in behavior. If you think a student is considering suicide, he/she probably is thinking about it. Report all concerns to the school counselor, administrator and parent immediately.

Cyberbullying is all too common in schools today and can lead to serious health problems for teens including depression and suicide.

Tell me what you think. Respond:

  • Why do you think teens participate in cyberbullying?  Is there someone or something to blame?
  • Do you think cyberbullying is a bigger issue than regular bullying?  Should it receive more attention, or are we missing the point?
  • What do you think schools/parents/teens could be doing more to help prevent and stop cyberbullying
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