twitter facebook stumble upon rss

My Kid Is Being Cyberbullied

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Blythe Newsome:As parents, we do everything we can to keep our children safe. We teach them to look before they cross the street and tell them to never talk to strangers. If our children are in danger or are being hurt, we will do everything we can to protect them. And we hope that there are laws put into place to protect them as well.

kid using computer

Recent events have focused national attention on the age-old problem of bullying. Social scientists say that it's no more prevalent now than it was 50 years ago. What has changed is the method used.

Today, bullying goes far beyond the schoolyards and hallways and has entered the computer world as cyberbullying. The National Crime Prevention Council's definition of cyberbullying is "when the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person."

As a mom and someone involved in the media, I thought I had a fairly good understanding of cyberbullying. Then, this past week, my child became a victim -- and I saw firsthand how helpless we are to fight it and how little we as a community are prepared to deal with it.

According to some researchers, 42 percent of teens say they have been bullied online, and 58 percent of those teens say they did not tell a parent. I am so happy my child came to me for help.

I have spoken to parents who said, "My children won't be victims of cyberbullying because they don't go on social media sites like Facebook or MySpace," or "My children go on those sites, but I monitor what they say and do." But a cyberbully can easily create an account claiming to be your child -- and there's really very little you can do to stop it.

I stayed up all night watching as things were being done online and someone was pretending to be my child. I was fixated on the screen as I watched the things being said, peers of my child getting sucked in, strangers able to comment from anywhere in the world, friends of my child commenting and pointing out to anyone involved that the account was fake.

That animal-like instinct kicked in, bringing with it the feeling that, as a parent, I have a divine right to protect my child -- and the anger and frustration that came from not being able to do so.I contacted the social-media site, only to be told that they could pull the "imposter" page, hopefully within 48 hours. They also pointed out that there was no way to prevent the person from putting it right back up there a few minutes later.

I also contacted our local authorities. I spoke to an officer who said he really didn't know much about cyberbullying and didn't know of any laws or statutes making it a crime. He was extremely compassionate and said that, as a father, he didn't know what he would do if it happened to his daughter.

I checked with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and was told the only thing they could do was wait for it to go on for a certain period of time, when it could then possibly be considered stalking. The statutes in place right now -- and Florida is considered a "leader" in combating cyberbullying -- protect our children if the bullying occurs "through the use of data or computer software that is accessed through a computer, computer system or computer network of a public K-12 educational institution." The majority of cyberbullying between students does not originate through public-school computers or networks.

Education is going to be key to stopping this scourge. Anti-bullying programs are mandated in most schools, and policies need to be in place to protect victims. As parents, we need to be aware that our children can easily become targets for bullies. We must also be aware of how easy it is for our children to take part in the bullying merely by adding their comments or checking "like" on a social media thread.

I have talked to law enforcement officers, key political people, attorneys, media people, IT people, educators and parents. The shocking truth is that not one person knew what to do or how to even stop the cyberbullying process.

Parents need to understand that the Internet is a tool more powerful than any of us ever imagined. Keep the dialogue open with your children about bullying. If your children tell you they are being bullied online or if you discover such messages, your first response may be a strong emotional one. Be careful about expressing those strong emotions, so your children don't feel they are to blame. Let them know you will be vigilant to stop it, and be unconditionally supportive. And line up some support for yourself. Teach your children about Internet safety and keep yourself up-to-date on the latest technology trends.

My fight has just begun. I won't stop until things change and we can all better protect our children.


next: SNL's 'My Mom Is on Facebook' Video
78 comments so far | Post a comment now
b2b marketing March 2, 2011, 9:19 PM

I Will have to visit again when my course load lets up - nevertheless I am getting your Feed so i could go through your internet site offline. Cheers.

1200 calorie diet March 4, 2011, 1:29 AM

There are some fascinating closing dates on this article however I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There’s some validity however I will take maintain opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as nicely

three peaks challenge March 6, 2011, 4:30 PM

A really good set of info which I will be certainly coming back to read again. Thanks very much to all those who contribute.

Accident Compensation Advice March 7, 2011, 1:50 AM

After research a number of of the weblog posts on your web site now, and I truly like your approach of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site list and shall be checking again soon. Pls check out my site as well and let me know what you think.

this link March 7, 2011, 9:35 PM

I was basically wondering if you ever considered adjusting the layout of your website? It is very well written; I love what you have got to say. But maybe you could include a little more in the way of written content so people can connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of wording for only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

fugas de agua March 8, 2011, 11:13 AM

Thanks for another great article. Where else could anybody get that type of information in such an ideal way of writing? I’ve a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such info.

Article Marketing March 11, 2011, 9:35 AM

This is so great that I had to comment. I’m usually just a lurker, taking in knowledge and nodding my head in quiet approval at the good stuff…..this required written props. Theory rocks…thanks.

how to whiten teeth March 11, 2011, 10:46 PM

I have got 1 idea for your web site. It seems like right now there are a number of cascading stylesheet problems while launching a number of webpages in google chrome and opera. It is running okay in internet explorer. Possibly you can double check this.

Adolfo Longfellow March 17, 2011, 8:17 AM

huge register you corner

mehr geld March 18, 2011, 2:15 AM

Thank you for this unique article. I especially enjoyed reviewing it and ought to discuss it with everyone.

Car Audio Steering Wheel Control March 18, 2011, 5:18 PM

really beneficial stuff, overall I picture this is worthy of a book mark, thank you

dating sites March 24, 2011, 6:31 AM

This really solved my problem, thank you!

Beats Solo HD March 26, 2011, 10:41 AM

Gigantic article. I intention certainly part this article with my friends. Thanks payment the info.

How do you make this site look this sick! Email me if you want and share your wisdom. !

dream sam tsui christina grimmie March 27, 2011, 5:08 PM

There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

Air Jordan 7 March 28, 2011, 10:45 PM

There is some validity but I determination accept believe assessment until I look into it further. Admissible article , thanks and we in need of more! Added to FeedBurner also.

my website March 29, 2011, 12:11 AM

Amazing article, thank you, I will bookmark you soon!

backlink list March 29, 2011, 1:04 PM

There are a lot of strange comments on here.

Wholesale Burberry Wallets March 29, 2011, 10:29 PM

Significant, I have already bookmarked your this messenger…In the present circumstances I don’t have enough time for skim but by means of reading day one vicinity I be compelled maintain…it was a positive start ..

skate March 30, 2011, 9:21 AM

How can you not enjoy this site? It really is meaningful. I can’t wait to come again!


Back to top >>
advertisement