Bullying awareness month doesn’t kick off until sometime in the fall months but recently I encountered some pretty serious bullying as I surfed through Facebook pages and stumbled across a vicious thread of comments. It floored me to read some of the remarks that were being said to someone’s so-called “friend”. I can say I am glad that Facebook didn’t exist when I was in junior high, kids can be brutal and jealousy lurks everywhere. It was hard enough going to school with people who may not have liked you, but to also be harassed while at home takes things to a whole new level. You have the right, and the option to “block” and “report” people who you feel are stepping over their boundaries and making you uncomfortable but that doesn’t always stop the problem as they can keep creating more profiles online and their friends can also chime in.
I think that it is important that we remember to teach the younger generations about Internet etiquette. The Golden Rule should be remembered at all times, treat others the way you want to be treated. Some use the Internet as a mean to get back at others and simply hide behind a computer screen instead of facing the real problem that is at hand. It’s never easy to face someone with your opinion but when you can hide behind a computer screen it can make anyone feel invincible. The Internet is a tool to find information, and keep in touch with others, not push someone to their breaking point.
Of course parents can’t always monitor what their child is doing on the Internet, especially when it’s occurring on a social network. It’s easy to block websites that you don’t want someone to see but when it comes to Facebook, Twitter and other social media we can’t always see everything that gets sent out. No one wants their loved one to be a victim of cyber bullying, or bullying at all, if you know of someone who has encountered this, try to get to the root of the problem…speak with the individual’s parents and show the child much needed love and support so they don’t feel as if they are alone in the world.
As of now, Missouri doesn’t have a set federal law for cyber bullying but charges can be pressed under harassment. Make sure your child understands that it is not okay to bully anyone, for any reason. It could save a life.
This week I watched a balloon launch that was held at Main Street Elementary in Troy. It was put together by a group of four fourth graders, they call themselves ABC, which stands for the Anti Bullying Club. Many have joined the club and I think it is important to recognize the importance of it. They have informed people of the problems of bullying and hopefully with clubs like this, and the help of adults, bullying crimes will dwindle.
By Kristen Harris