I just watched the ABC Family movie "Cyberbully" Wednesday night and even DVRed it so I can watch it again later. All I can say is it is an AMAZING movie that I think every family should sit down and watch. Afterwards explain to your children what cyberbullying is and how it can really hurt someone. Also explain to them how to deal with it if some day it ends up happening to them. Let them know what they should do.
This however is not something that only happens between minors on the internet. Unfortunately adults act this way as well. Like a girl in the movie had said. When your face to face doing it you know your doing it, but when your online it's different. You can't see faces while you are saying those things. You don't even realize what your doing. A lot of people will say it's just words on a computer screen. Yes, but those words are placed there by another person to another person. The people typing and receiving have feelings and they do get hurt.
Don't post it! If you feel the need to call someone else a name just don't do it. If someone else is bullying you online report it. Bring attention to it. Check to see if your state has a law passed that protects minors against Cyberbullying. In some states another child can get away with stuff online that if done at school or physically to their face they would be punished. But because of one law not being in place they get away with no reprimand.
One state didn't even pass the law against Cyberbullying until a young girl named Megan Meier committed suicide due to the extreme depression she ended up with after being bullied online. What is sad in that story? An adult parent helped and participated in the bullying. The young lady had made a myspace account and not long after started receiving messages from a "guy" she thought was attractive. The messages started being a little mean and got to be meaner with each message sent. The last message received from this account to her said, "Everybody in O'Fallon knows who you are. You are a bad person and everybody hates you. Have a bad rest of your life. The world would be a better place without you." Her response back,"You’re the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over." More things were sent via AOL Messenger, but not Myspace and 20 minutes later she was found in her bedroom closet. She had hung herself and even though they tried to revive her numerous times she was pronounced dead the next day.
Does it really take something like this to get things put in motion to keep our children safe? If this was to have happened face to face then these people would be in a lot of trouble. Since this had happened online before such a law was in place the adult and child had nothing happen to them. They just brushed it off as it being a hoax and they didn't expect her to kill herself.
Another case of cyberbullying is that of 18 year old Tyler Clements. A young man attending Rutgers University and who was a talented violinist committed suicide September 22, 2010. He had jumped into the Hudson River after his sexual encounter with a man in his dorm room was streamed via the internet. His roommate had violated his privacy and set up a webcam for streaming video. His roommate had tweeted to his followers to check out Tyler's encounters online. Tyler had reported this numerous times to people who could have fixed the problem. He had even requested to have a different room away from his roommate. Nothing was done and this happened two separate times.
Another young man by the name of Ryan Halligan who was only 13 years old committed suicide October 7, 2003 after being bullied in real life and online. He was threatened and taunted all the time. Because of lies, rumors and taunting a young man did not live to see the age of 14. Children should not be dying or worrying about someone is posting about them online. They should be living life and being happy.
My 8 soon to be 9 year old has access to the internet, but he is only allowed to use it for school related stuff and sometimes the occasional online game. He wants a Facebook page due to the fact that some of his friends and family have one. I told him no and that when he is old enough to have one he will not have any privacy, because one the internet is not a place for privacy and two I will have his password. Even now for sites that he has to have an account or profile of some sort set up for a game I have the passwords. He is fully monitored and he knows what kinds of things can happen due to the internet and people on it.
So help stop harrassment and bullying online by talking to your children. Bring attention to it, block the bully, Delete the messages and do not respond back in a negative way. Negative comments back adds fuel to the fire and can cause the bully to lash out harder. Also know what your children are doing in real life and online.
Hope everyone has a wonderful day!