Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cyberbullies log on to wreak more havoc

Last week, I wrote about a Facebook page I stumbled upon, an "I Hate ..." page that was miserable and nasty in its intent to hurt and demean a child. After reading a comment on my post as well as a post on Silicon Valley Moms Blog, I found out that this "club" was created by Palo Alto high school students looking to bully a middle-schooler.

Apparently these high school students didn't even know this kid when they decided to create a page devoted to hurting him. Not that it matters. It's still horrific and nasty.

As fun and addictive as Facebook is, it's too bad that it has become one more medium through which children (and adults) can hurt each other. The fact that this kind of stuff still happens after the MySpace hoax is mind-boggling.

Of course kids have been bullying each other since the beginning of time, and I'm sure it won't stop anytime soon. As a parent, though, I'm terrified that this is what my child has to look forward to once she enters the classroom. And God forbid, she engage in this behavior herself.

I'm hoping parents will take this opportunity to talk to their kids about bullying, cyberbullying and what is acceptable online. In the meantime, here are some online resources about cyberbullying, courtesy of Myrna (tangerinetimes.com) at Silicon Valley Moms Blog:

www.stopcyberbullying.org

www.wiredsafety.org
www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov
www.cyberbully.org

photo credit: © Mikael Damkier Fotolia.com

4 comments:

April said...

We have a seminar coming up at my daughter's school in a couple of weeks to discuss bullying. You've inspired me to write about it afterward. I'll let you know when it's up.

L.A. Story said...

Would love to hear how it goes, April! Look forward to reading your post. This is such a disturbing topic, and helping to prevent this kind of behavior is commendable.

Little Gray Pixel said...

Something tells me that kids are more cruel in the Internet age. I think the anonymity has empowered them ... at least in our day schoolyard bullying was done face-to-face and on a micro level in comparison. ... Not that it was right even then.

pcpandora said...

When it comes to public insults and harassment there is no freedom of speech. Cyberbullying needs to be classified as slander and libel. The problem is that the Internet is a safe haven for bullies because of the anonymity. There is not a more cowardly way to bully someone then from behind a curtain. Parents need to get involved in helping solve the cyberbullying problem. If parents cared enough about their child being the bully or passing along the material as much as they care when their child is a victim, it would be a huge step forward. But then, of course, how do you know if your child is involved in cyberbullying? You need to monitor their Internet activity.

(pitch) Monitoring software like our PC Pandora records everything that happens on the PC. If your child is a victim, you will know; if they are a bully, you will know. Whatever the case may be with your child, you need to intervene and teach them how to be a Responsible CyberCitizen. And have that conversation NOW! Otherwise, the path we are on, will lead to a bullheaded generation who have no sense of social ethics and decent humanity. Check us out at www.pcpandora.com to see how you can protect your child from the nastiness of cyberbullying.

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