“Being bullied over the internet is worse. It’s torment and hurts. They say “stick and stones may break bones, but words will never hurt me.” That quote is a lie and I don’t believe in it. Sticks and stones may cause nasty cuts and scars, but those cuts and scars will heal. “Insulting” words hurt and sometimes take forever to heal.” A 14 year old female
“My favorite part of MySpace is how I can change who my friends are at all times. If I have a falling out with a friend, I can delete them.” A 15 year old male
“Some of my friends have My Space parties. Basically, a bunch of kids get together with their laptops and all sign onto MySpace and start surfing together. The party takes off when they start surfing kids’ profiles who aren’t present. You can imagine what a gossip it is.” A 16 year old female.
These revealing quotes are from the book, “Cyber Bullying: Bullying In The Digital Age,” by Limber, Kowalski & Agatston. They have conducted research and focus groups to produce a great book on this subject.
We have used this series of blogs to outline the challenges facing young people and adults as they charter new territory in relationships and communication. If you are a parent/adult with the responsibility of caring for the well-being of young people here are some helpful tips if your child is being cyber bullied:
ü Teach your kids to tell adults if they are bullied
ü Work with your child’s school to ensure that anti-bullying program is in place
ü Work with your child’s school, encouraging them to invite law enforcement to talk with students
ü Watch for signs that your child may be the victim of cyber bullying.
ü Discuss cyber bullying and internet safety with your child/children.
ü Keep computers in common access areas of the home.
ü Save all evidence of the cyber bullying, (messages, any email files, instant messaging or chat sessions, and download and save any blog or website material.
ü Teach children not to respond or to say stop.
ü Teach children not to give out any private information.
ü File a complaint with your internet service and phone provider. (Try to identify the bully, through e-mail tracing or Police if appropriate.)
At STARS we strongly encourage families to utilize some of the helpful information that is available on the web. We published these yesterday but wanted to list again these great sources:
HRSA’s “Take A Stand. Lend A Hand. Stop Bullying Now.” www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov
SAMHSA’s “Make Time To Listen, Take Time To Talk … About Bullying.”
STARS can help you and your group gain knowledge of how to respond to cyber bullying and harassment, and if you would like to schedule a workshop on bullying or cyber bullying, our number is 615-279-0058.