Cyberbullying is the new buzzword, the new “anti” campaign and the latest in the craze of politically incorrect things that society believes needs to be stomped out. And (according to the Internet) cyberbullying needs to be stomped out yesterday. However, I’m still left asking the question: “Why isn’t the cyberbully problem already fixed?”
Someone Help Me: Define Cyberullying
According to Merriam-Webster, cyberbullying is defined as, “The electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person often done anonymously”. Okay, I get that. What I don’t “get” is why it’s still so out of control. It seems to me as if it’s an easily fixable problem. Yet, everything from TV to the radio to the Internet, tells me that cyberbullying remains hopelessly “out of control”. Even Dr. Phil says so. So, I’m listening. Perhaps the statistics will help me better understand this dilemma.
How Many People are Cyberbullied?
According to the National Crime Prevention council, over 43 percent of teens say they were cyberbullied in the last year. For those of you who are math geeks like me, that is approximately 14 percent of the population — the population is currently at 314 million people (give or take). So, 14 of the population percent is an epidemic, an out of control section of society that is suffering at the hands of anonymous Internet postings? Let’s file that under things that make me go “Hmm,” and move on.
The Art of Intimidation
Cyberbullying hit close to home when it happened in mine. My 11-year-old plays Animal Jam online with other kids (who should be) around her age. One day, while she was playing and minding her own business, another player started being mean to her. He said things like:
“You can’t play.”
“You are such a retard!”
Steadily, it got worse. The player became verbally abusive and said some things I can’t repeat here.
Yet, instead of getting upset, my daughter got up from her computer, told me about what was happening and we reported and blocked the user. Book of cyberbullying closed. Problem solved. She shrugged it off and went back to playing — score one for having a well-adjusted kid.
Yet cyberbullying wasn’t done with us yet. A young lady made some derogatory comments about my twins on her Facebook page. Yet again, instead of getting bent out of shape over it, my kids told me about what was going on, we reported the post, Facebook removed it and then my kids deleted and blocked the agitator. Enough said. Problem solved. Cyberbullying in the past.
Do you (Really) Want to Fix Cyberbullying?
Fixing the cyberbullying “epidemic” is simple. If you want to stamp it out, make it go away and stop kids from doing it, all it takes is common sense.
Monitor what your own kids are doing online.
Open a dialogue.
Create and foster a relationship where your children are comfortable telling you what’s going on in their lives. Don’t raise kids to think bullying is cool.
Educate your sprogs about cyberbullying and cyberbullies.
Go talk to a bully’s parents.
Go talk to a bully directly.
Involve law enforcement when needed.
The only secret to success in the war against cyberbullying is parental involvement. Without it, the campaign to end bullying is a lost cause.
Why isn’t this problem already fixed? Because we aren’t doing enough to fix it. Because bullying (and especially cyberbullying) starts and ends at home, and until we recognize that, it always will.
How would you handle a cyberbully?
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