Bullying is an age-old problem that has plagued countless kids and ruined what could otherwise be a transformational school experience for them, replacing the love of learning with fear of humiliation. Though tactics may not have changed, the tools have, and technology is the most current smoking gun.
But parents and kids are not powerless. As much as technology can be used as a weapon, it can also be used as a powerful resource of information, garnering support among peers, and putting an end to where the bad behavior begins.
Nearly one-third of teens have been targets of cyber-bullying, according to a study released today by the Chicago youth-market research firm TRU, and in the wake of Tyler Clementi's suicide, the statistic takes on that much more relevance.
Though there's valid reason to be alarmed, a great article by the Christian Science Monitor's Stacy Teicher Khadaroo about the subject gives us some much-needed context about what's already being done now and what parents can do to help: namely, empower kids to set boundaries and stop malicious actions before they escalate.
When it comes to safety online, young people’s main “knowledge gap” relates to “setting ground rules of what’s acceptable behavior ... and how that technology may be used against them ... where they could be blackmailed or cyberbullied,” says Richard Harrison, lead mentor for the Safe and Secure Online program, which enlists online security experts to volunteer in schools.
WHAT'S BEING DONE