Back in the ‘olden days’, the days before Facebook and other social networking sites, bullying was something that may take place at school with kids playing mean pranks on other kids, or not making them feel welcome within a group. However, with the advancements in technology and with children having access to online and ‘connected’ resources like phones and texting, bullying now goes beyond the school yard. This also means that bullying can be going on 24/7.
It is important that parents be aware of cyberbullying, including the consequences of a child being a bully or being bullied. The consequences seem to be more severe with the increase of the consistency of being bullied both on and off school campuses. Bullying has even lead to students from around the world to take such drastic actions as committing suicide because of the ridicule. Here are some resources to help parents to be aware, combat, and teach about cyberbullying.
SafeKids.com is a blog that helps to keep parents informed about major cyberbullying topics. This includes privacy and settings for kids on social networking websites, current events involving cyberbullying, along with online handbooks to educate parents about safety with cell phones, on Facebook, search the web, and overall safety. There is also a “tips page” parents can review with their children about cyberbullying.
Medline Plus has a wealth of resources and articles on bullying and cyberbullying. What I liked about this site was that they had different sections including bullying of girls, and how bullying may differ between children and teens. There is also an article that includes indicators of what changes, emotions, or reactions happen when a child is being bullied. There is even a link to an online board game called “Bully Round Up” for younger children to learn about bullying behaviors and how to prevent them and when to tell ask an adult for help.
Cyberbully – The Movie
The prevalence of the issue of cyberbullying prompted ABC Family to come out with a “made-for-TV” movie on the subject appropriatedly called Cyberbully. This movie is available on their website to download and show for free. The movie follows a story of a girl who is going through a tough time in her life and on top of it all is embarrassed and bullied on a social networking site. The story takes her through the effects of the bullying on herself, her friends, and her family.
Other resources on this site include a program to “delete digital drama” and an interactive blog and poll questions about how to handle cyberbullying. There were many great comments about this movie and how it spurred teens to want to make an end to not only cyberbullying, but bullying in general. This would be a great movie to watch at home with teen girls or possibly even in the classroom with appropriate support of administrators, parents, and teachers with a follow-up discussion period for students.
There are so many resources online to help parents and children to become educated on cyberbullying. Creating programs in the schools and communities to educate children and teens on the negative effects cyberbullying is a first step.
Article By Laura Ketcham
Picture By KirrilyRobert
Free Educational Resources by SmartTutor.com