What is the appropriate course of action for schools and cyberbullying? There may not be a right answer, but here is one administrators opinion. This article was originally posted on BlogHer.
If your child is getting cyberbullied, what can you do to help? Would you call on your child’s school to unravel the complicated drama that inevitably ensues with a bullying incident? Is school the best authority over these matters?
Bullying has become a wholly different thing than it was perhaps when you were bullied in your youth. Back in the day (meaning the pre-cell phone, pre-social media era) if your group of on-again-off-again friends decided you were off-again, they got together at lunch time and sat at a different table where there was no room for you. Or they told your boy-crush that you were crushing hard on him even though you swore them to secrecy. You suffered the day in school and maybe, if it happened to be on a Friday, your so-called friends had a sleepover without you and called you up to let you know that they were all at the ring leader’s house ... and you weren’t. Your angst, anger and hurt was extended all the way through a pint of ice cream, but not much past the weekend, as your friends remembered that your group science project was at your house and it was due on Monday. So they got over their funk, and you got over your hurt. Everyone remembered why you became friends in the first place as you finished your project together. And all was well again. (Did I just tell way too much about my middle school self? Well, perhaps, but you get the point ... )
This pain and misery lasted a day, maybe two. Nowadays, with the help of technology, bullying has taken on a whole new character that is meaner, wider spread and longer lasting. Kids are hijacking the social media of others and saying harmful things in their stead. They are posting derogatory and hurtful comments on Facebook and Formspring. They are spreading unauthorized photos and video far and wide on cell phones and the Internet.
And with an impact that is so much more profound, before parents can even help their children deal with the pain, alienation and the utter blow to their self-esteem, they just want to know how to
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