Lost and Confused
A teen sits alone in the courtyard of her school. There are people all around her conversing and laughing but she does not care. She hears giggling and wonders if those giggles are about her. At this very moment she just wants to disappear. After school she walks home and pulls her cell phone from her back pocket to check if she has received any messages. She sees one message waiting to be read, but does not bother to read it, now she even dreads receiving messages. She pushes her cell phone back into her back pocket As she enters her home, she sees her father is occupied with her younger brother and mom is still at work. She feels she should say something, she wants to say something but doesn’t know what to say or where to start. Her father looks up and says “Dinner is almost ready!”, she acknowledges with a nod and slowly walks down the hall to her room. As she walks down the hall she looks at the photos on the wall. To her those photos reminder her of a simpler time, a time when she was happy. But she feels those moments are so far behind her she can’t go back. Pictures with mom and dad at the park with a bright smile from ear to ear. She knew it was her dads favorite photo of her. She entered her room and closed her door. As she looked around at the lilac paint on the walls of her room she thought, “Why am I even here.” Lilac was her favorite color. She walked over to the foot of her bed, pulled out her cell phone from her back pocket and sat down on the floor. As she pulled her knees to her chest she began to feel overwhelmed by loneliness. She looked at her phone. Still one unread message. She slowly put her head between her knees and thought, “Would anyone even miss me?”
dosomething.org reports that nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once. We all have our opinions on cyberbullying, here are some facts.
What is Cyberbullying?
According to stopbullying.gov, that’s right, there is an official government website for Cyberbullying. The site describes cyberbullying as bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.
It’s this definition that parents need to understand because it is very different from the bullying that occurred 20 to 40 years ago. Ralphie would have never had the chance to look at the yellow eyes of Farkus and exact his revenge if social media existed back then. Today’s bullies are leveraging the power of the internet and social media to strike fear in their victims and torment their lives.
Why Has Bullying Moved Online?
Why has bullying moved online? Why does it seem so widespread and devastating to the victims. dosomething.org reports that 81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person. And why wouldn’t it be? Online you can create fictitious accounts to hide behind and now there is a growing trend to be anonymous. Apps like Yik Yak, (read 10 Things You Should Know About Yik Yak) are known as “Cyberbullying Central”. Bullying was so bad on this app that middle schools and high schools had to get the developers to ban it’s use in schools. However it is still available in colleges and to those that create fake accounts.
The nature of the internet and social media is that it connects everyone to information and people. When we think of the classic stereotype of a bully we think of someone in person. If a person gets bullied they can simply tell their parents or teacher and the bully will often get dealt with. If the school does not address the bully the victim could possibly move schools and the problem is over. It’s much like hitting the reset button on life. Unfortunately, with cyber bullies there is no distance you can move to reset your life. A person would have to close all their social media accounts to get away. Teens can begin to feel depressed and disconnected if they they are forced to closed their social media accounts due to bullying. If the victim decides at some point to reopen their social media account they risk being targeted again. Bullying is so aggressive that the victim does not necessarily need to have a social media presences. The bully can spread embarrassing rumors, photos, and gossip to peers devastating the victim without any direct communication.
What Can You Do To Stop Cyberbullying
Unfortunately, there may never be a viable solution to stop cyberbullying. By being an involved parent you can help identify if your child is victim of cyberbullying and you can help them so that they do not feel they are alone. Here are four excellent resources to help you get started in being an informed parent.
Provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.
Cyberbully411 is an organization that focuses effort on providing resources for youths who have questions about or have been targeted by online harassment. The website was created by the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, formerly Internet Solutions for Kids, Inc, with funding from the Community Technology Foundation of California.
Their mission is to educate students and parents about cyberbullying and to work toward its eradication.
With a simple mobile app, STOPit instantly and anonymously connects people with those individuals who can resolve issues. STOPit also equips administrators with a smart, easy backend system which supports anonymous two-way communication and a host of other tools to save time and conduct an effective, efficient investigation. Most importantly, STOPit is a powerful deterrent – you’ll see the difference as people start thinking twice before making a bad decision. Together with you, STOPit is helping create safe, smart places for people to live, work and learn.
We hope this information is useful to you. We have provided an info graph for you to share with other parents in an effort to spread awareness. See our post 12 Shocking Stats About The Truth Of Cyberbullying review stats sourced from dosomething.org.