Standing Up to Cyberbullying
We are all familiar with the concept of bullying, but cyberbullyingwillful and repeated harm inflicted through electronic devices like computers, cell phones, or PDAsis a concept which many of us don't know much about.
Fayetteville Public Schools welcomed Dr. Sameer Hinduja of Florida Atlantic University on September 12th, who led a day-long, interactive seminar in which he and the audience discussed cyberbullying. Dr. Hinduja has conducted extensive research regarding cyberbullying and has studied cases throughout the United States.
Cyberbullying represents a serious issue, as studies show that more than 96 percent of adolescents are now online. While instant messaging remains the most popular online activity of adolescents, a rapidly increasing number maintain an online profile on one or more social networking sites. These sites include Facebook, MySpace, and others.
These new forms of communication provide additional avenues through which bullies strike at others. It is very important for parents to pay close attention to their children's activities online, just as it is very important for children to immediately report any improper behavior they encounter online.
Such behavior could include but is not limited to:
- Someone posting a picture of your child online on a site on which visitors are asked to rank the attractiveness of those people whose faces are shown
- Someone sending threatening texts, emails, or instant messages
- Someone creating a website for the purpose of posting embarrassing information, pictures, threats, or other inappropriate material regarding another person
You can view Dr. Hinduja's presentation here. (PDF)