Posted in Bullying

Cyberbullying

young teen thinking of problems SILOUETTECyberbullying

Bullying is certainly most youths’ nightmares at some point in their lives. Usually the bullying stops when you are in the privacy of your home. The problem with Cyberbullying is that it NEVER turns off…EVER!

Cyberbullying is repeated aggression using electronic devices such as computers, cell phones and tablets. I was checking on Sick Kids’ website in Toronto and was shocked to see these stats. This article was dated 2011 so it has mostly likely increased since then!

These are stats for 8 to 11 year olds {I still cannot believe this…shocking!}
– 18% use social networking sites such as Facebook despite meeting age requirements!
– 58% communicate through internet or cell phone and 31% have their own cell phone!
– 28% of those who own a phone send and receive texts and 21% have internet on their phone
– By age 11, children text an average of 80 minutes a day!

Cyberbullying is upsetting because it is so invasive filtering in the homes of youths and young adults.
50% of victims do not even know who their aggressors are. Lots of youths remain silent for fear of having their personal electronics removed!

Parental monitoring does not help
Children may be too savvy for parents because monitoring apparently shows little results according to Burr J. Correlates of electronic aggression in elementary school students. Montreal 2011
Open communication is key to protect against cyberbullying. So talk about it! Not just one sit down discussion about it but ongoing communication…open dialogues!

Cyberbullying is powerful because the person bullying is able to hide behind a monitor, smart phone or tablet and most times he/she can get away with it. Things get blown out of proportion pretty quickly too. We call that viral…you know when you see a comment along with a photo about someone on Facebook for example and someone clicks “like”…worse yet, others “share” that status and it has gone viral within minutes!

Bystanders/witnesses ARE guilty too! If you clicked “like” or “share” on an insulting comment on someone’s Facebook page, you are saying you agree with the “bully”. Yep, just as guilty.
You get an email with a compromising photo of a classmate. Your hand goes to your gaping mouth and seconds later you have forwarded to 10 of your buddies. You have just implicated yourself as being connected with this “bully”.

You get a text message of a friend who is at a party and took a few shots of peers in embarrassing positions that make them look worse than what really was going on at that party. DON’T you dare press FORWARD…ah, geez, you did…too late…you are now part of a team of “bullies” who have made the life of a young girl miserable…so much so that she is suffering depression and has suicidal thoughts. Now you hear about this girl has quit school or moved to another town and you think to yourself, “Gee, we were just clowning around.!” Oh, yeah? Think again!

What can adults do to help? Well, for starters, parents may give their children some guidelines on etiquette; consequences of spreading rumours is 1,000,000,000 times worse than word of mouth. Teachers may include in their language arts classes, etiquette on the internet {gee that rhymes!}
It would be great if some of these tips were offered in an interactive way and made to have some fun. If youths interact with new information, chances are they will retain.

There are laws now regarding to Cyber bullying and don’t kid yourself, the police CAN trace who is the bully…so watch out! Oh, and no need to say it is a free world and you have freedom of speech. Once you have denigrated, shamed, humiliated and hurt another person and their reputation…all that goes out the window and in the huge garbage bin. GET IT!?? Sorry if I seem a bit snarky. I hear too often from youths who suffer at the hands of those “cruel” digits clicking on their cell phones, tablet or computers way too many times in any given week…really!

It breaks my heart and frustrates me to no end to get a phone call from a youth that is devastated by some kid who decided it would be cool and fun to put up a web page and have their peers comment on one that youth. How cruel is that? How can that be fun? I don’t care if you say, “I didn’t know it would go that far.” IT DID go too far!

The media talks about way tragic losses through suicides…youths have taken their lives due to the persecution of cyberbullying. I spoke with a mom in June whose daughter did take her life due to bullying. It broke my heart. I feel so powerless when a youth calls…I wish I could do more. When they hang up, I worry that kid may not pull through. I cannot even fathom how a parent must feel having to experience such a tragic loss. Can you?

The media is covering this topic more and more lately. Is it because they care? Well, let’s be frank now, tragedy sells papers. That sickens me, yes, but good reporters, I believe, have a moral responsibility to inform the public…we do need to be aware of the dangers of this to prevent it from happening over and over. More importantly as parents and responsible adults don’t we want to protect our children?

Social networks do have means to help curb or even stop cyberbullying from propagating. Many youths who say they keep seeing negative comments on their statuses, I usually tell them to report! It is getting even easier now I noticed on Facebook this week, you can obviously “unfriend” a person by going on their FB page, click “message” at the top right hand side and a menu drops down and click “unfriend” BUT, on this same menu, just above “unfriend” is “Report/block” and THAT is where you can so easily report the abuse. Twitter, Tumblr and so many others are similar…so parents, who are aware your children are on these sites, perhaps before they get on, it would be great to navigate the sites with your child to see what the safety precautions are.

There is so much I could talk about but I’ll end here and list a few articles/sites you can get more information.

Oh, by the way, I was interviewed last with by the Montreal Gazette on Cyberbullying so I’ll add that as a resource too…what the heck {Wink}

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, http://Stigmahurtseveryone.info, August 30, 2013

Related Articles:

About Kids Health – Sick Kids
 Kids Help Phone/Cyberbullying
Child Porn Teens Arrested
Montreal Gazette – Searching for an effective way to fight bullying

Author:

A little bit about moi: I am a mom, a nana, a sister, a woman, a friend, a human being…a youth counsellor, Family Life Educator. I have been working in the helping profession for over 25 years and volunteered in various capacities from youths to seniors. Tournesol is my nom de plume for haiku and other Japanese form poetry here at Tournesoldansunjardin http://cheryllynnroberts.wordpress.com I hope you enjoy reading through my daily waka. I also have another blog "Stop the Stigma" where I may stand on my soapbox now and then and hope it will become a place to drop in and share or comment on issues important to you. In that vein this could be a great way to learn from each other. http://stigmahursteveryone.wordpress.com Namaste!

10 thoughts on “Cyberbullying

  1. Forgot.
    Cyberbullying, these kids now a days should have either less access to new technology, which I don´t know why not. When I went out my mother would tell me I want you to be back at home by 8 p.m for dinner. And if I wasn´t then I´d get a smack in the back of the head and grounded. But why would I want to get a cell phone, parents can just say no cell phones to the kids. For me is that simple.

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    1. Ah, cell phones too was not something my kids had only in their 20’s when they were driving (safety). I think parents too need to monitor their use of networking…so many kids call saying their parents are always texting or on the computer when they want to talk about what is on their minds….

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      1. Very true, I was actually talking about that with my mother the other day.
        As I told her, we called a day before or we just bumped into the neighbourhood friends in the street and you knew that by dinner you where suppose to come back(I did sneak off through the window at night, but don´t say anything) and parents didn´t seem the urge to have the kids have a cell phone in hand to be better protected. I don´t see how if it has helped much which I doubt or hurt, just don´t know. And absolutely kids emulate parents and they see them on the i-pad, cell phone, whatever new thing is coming next and they too want it, their friends have it….I guess it´s the new age. I´m old!

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  2. I´m old school, just got to this social media world and I´m 31! Seems like privacy is getting even more and more hard to loose now a days. That was quite shocking that at such a young age they are already pros at this internet stuff. Necessary for me, for the work I´m trying to do I have realised. But whatever happened when you called your friends and meet at some place and play ball or play cowboys and indians, or soldiers or build a house in the tree? Those where good times.

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    1. You are so right, Carlos!! My children are in their 30’s as well so they did have fun like that and did not have internet access until they were in college…thank goodness. I did not have to deal with their pain of cyberbullying…they had enough without that added mess. As teens, they were out with friends or friends regrouped here …as it should be…they talked not typed!

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to write here. Yes, it’s not evident for parents either…sort of like a cyberjungle for youths and adults both. Sometimes parents will just band use of technology when at a loss of alternatives. I remember when my children were teens…IF I panicked and knew not what to do sometimes, I’d say…”You’re grounded.” really meant, “I just don’t know what to do…give me time to figure this out.” 😦

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