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
Irene O. Boyd March 31, 2011, 3:13 AM

Thank you

web site April 1, 2011, 8:14 PM

Have you thought about adding some videos to the article? I think it might enhance everyones understanding.

page April 2, 2011, 12:08 AM

You ought to really moderate the remarks on this website

tabliczki na drzwi April 2, 2011, 5:54 AM

I will immediately grab your rss as I can’t find your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please let me know in order that I could subscribe. Thanks.

headphone reviews April 3, 2011, 6:49 AM

It’s really a great and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

tabletki na pryszcze April 3, 2011, 7:38 AM

Very interesting info, i am waiting for more !!! Keep updating your website and you will have a lot o readers

wholesale Lightning jerseys April 3, 2011, 11:47 AM

Would beloved to read furthermore too…Thanks seeking crucial notify!Not long ago, I did not give a caboodle of pourboire to giving comments on purlieus paginate articles and entertain positioned comments coextensive with less.

microphone reviews April 3, 2011, 7:50 PM

Jesus Christ there is a great deal of spammy comments on this website. Have you at any time thought about trying to remove them or installing a extension?

Cell Phone Unlock April 3, 2011, 11:14 PM

You could certainly see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

proofreading software April 4, 2011, 10:38 AM

What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively useful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid other users like its helped me. Good job.

Electronic Cigarettes April 5, 2011, 5:36 AM

Valuable information. Lucky me I found your website by accident, and I am shocked why this accident didn’t happened earlier! I bookmarked it

Jordans 13 April 6, 2011, 3:38 AM

I force you all wholesome daylight, this install is exceptionally worthwhile I would at all times adhere to this site. Purloin me a piles of timedata would be btained from this site, or wish to. But I scantiness you to comprehend that this site is unqualifiedly high-minded Thanks a collection representing the breed of nonpareil keynote hither this topic.

e cigarettes April 8, 2011, 6:11 AM

Even though I truly like this publish, I think there was an punctuational error shut to the finish of the 3rd section.

Yvonne P. Upchurch April 8, 2011, 3:46 PM

Handy

Jordans Fusions Red April 8, 2011, 6:08 PM

Someone I m倀ier with visits your purlieus oftentimes and recommended it to me to read also.

louis vuitton Handbags May 5, 2011, 7:15 AM

Dude, you should be a writer. Your article is really interesting. You should do it for a living

K-Cups coffee May 25, 2011, 3:15 AM

gr8 entry, keep at it… bookmarked!

Rihanna perfume June 7, 2011, 11:18 PM

Awesome entry, keep up the great work… bookmarked!


Back to top >>
advertisement