>Cyber Bullying

>

I am taking a class in school that is required for graduation. The class is computer literacy and it teaches us how to use a computer with an emphasis on Microsoft Office.The irony is that this course is an online class!
If nothing else it is an easy A to bring up my GPA, I spend about an hour and a half per week on it which isn’t bad at all. The discussion board is my favorite part, the teacher gives us interesting topics to discuss. We are a couple weeks in and I thought it would be fun to share some of the topics and my initial response. I would love to hear all of your responses/reactions even if they differ from my opinions. I promise, I won’t jump down your throat if you don’t agree with me, haha.
The first topic was “Cyber Bullying”.
The recent story of Tyler Clementi of Rutgers University is very tragic and has legal and punitive consequences for the offenders. There are similar stories of cyber-bullying all over the internet. What they did is considered a 3rd degree crime and they could receive up to three years in prison. For example, Phoebe Prince of South Hadley, MA was bullied on Facebook before and after her suicide.

My questions to all of you:
Do you think the law has caught up with technology?

Do you think the punishment fits the crime?

Do you think the punishment is enough?

How do we protect our kids in this technical age?
My response was:
 
The element of anonymity that the Internet gives these kids enables them to take bullying to to a whole different level. They are hiding behind a screen. They may not even know the person they are bullying; so they will probably never see the hurt they caused. Therefore they may not feel remorse, and that will allow them to justify doing it again to the same kid or another.

I am going to give you a bit of history here to help me prove my point. I really feel cyber bullying is one of the most dangerous forms of bullying.
 I have three kids, they have grown up on different military bases. They went to school with other military brats. When Dad’s orders came up we packed up and moved; the schools were used to the constant transition taking place in the classrooms. That is one thing I can say for military kids; they are some of the most accepting kids I have met. At every new school my kids were welcomed with questions about the different duty stations and countries they’ve been too. It was always a contest to see which student had attended the most schools in his life. This was normal for us.
 Then we moved to CT.
 Each one of my three sons has come home multiple times either in tears or quiet or angry. I have come to recognize the look. My kids have been bullied. Each of them in a different way. My oldest; for wanting to join the army. The middle son for not printing his letters the same way as the others (VA taught them a different method of printing) and the youngest for having a picture of his Dad on his cell phone. In addition, they are the new kids. We have been here three years and yet they are STILL called the new kids because all the rest of the kids grew up here.

In the beginning, my youngest was ostracized. In 2nd grade he wasn’t included, picked last, told that he wasn’t allowed to sit with anyone on the bus. This was a form of bullying too. They made him feel like he wasn’t good enough to be their friends. It has gotten better, slowly.

The middle son began getting bullied his 2nd year here, in the 5th grade. It was verbal; he was called names that he didn’t even understand. In fact, honestly, I don’t know if he repeated them wrong or if they really were that strange, but I don’t even know what some of them meant.

My oldest has been hit, tripped, stabbed with a pencil; his issues were more physical. I have gone to the school with each of them, the younger schools didn’t do much besides talk to the classes. But the middle school did something that I thought was pretty amazing.

He had been coming home from school for about a week and every time the bus pulled up I heard yelling. After a couple days, I asked him why do the kids yell so much on the bus. He replied “they always cheer when I get off the bus, they are happy that I’m leaving”. I was shocked, I didn’t believe him at first. So the next day I listened and sure enough, the bus was quiet as it pulled up but as soon as he stepped off the bus the cheering began. His head was down and he just walked up the driveway. I was in tears as I called the school and told them what happened.
I received a phone call the very next morning from the principal.

That afternoon C came home with a stack of hand made cards. Each student in the 6th grade had hand written an apology to him. The kids who were a part of the bullying apologized and the kids who did not take part apologized for not reporting it. He has had some minor issues with a kid here and there, but nothing major since then.
My point in telling these stories is that in all three instances the bullying has stopped or at the very least slowed down quite a bit. The kids were held accountable for their actions. In the case of the middle school, even the kids who didn’t take part in it were showed how they were just as wrong because they ALLOWED it to go on. They saw the pain they were causing and have since stopped. Chase now has friends and doesn’t mind going to school every day. That is a big change.

I am lucky that my kids have not entered the social networking stage yet because I can only imagine how ruthless and mean the kids will be if there are no repercussions for their actions (or if they don’t THINK there will be repercussions). Maybe the kids stopped being mean to my kids to avoid getting in trouble rather than because they realized they were wrong. I don’t care, whatever their reason, they stopped. What is stopping them online? Nothing. That scares me.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “>Cyber Bullying

  1. >Bullying is horrible, it is a good thing that your kids told you that way you could help stop it! I think this internet course sounds good, easy but you have to think about it and participate!:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s