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My God! The Cyber Bullying Has Gotten Out of Control!

Oct 28, 2013

Cyberbullying1Now more than ever, it has become apparent the strong influence peer acceptance has on teens, especially girls.  As reported first by Fox News, on October 15th, two girls were arrested in the death of a 12-year-old central Florida girl who authorities say committed suicide after being bullied online by several girls for nearly a year.

A Facebook post from one of the girls saying she didn’t care about the suicide of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick led police to the arrests, according to Sheriff Grady Judd. The suspects, ages 12 and 14, have been charged with felony aggravated stalking, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

“We decided, look, we can’t leave her out there,” Judd said. “Who else is she going to torment? Who else is she going to harass? Who is the next person she verbally and mentally abuses and attacks?”

Judd held a press conference that morning and said authorities acted fast because even though the accused girls’ parents were contacted by police about Sedwick’s death, the parents did not cooperate with police and the girls were still able to use their social media accounts.

“The parents were not doing what parents are supposed to do,” Judd said. “My goodness, wake up, girl.”  Click here to read the remainder of the article.

This deeply saddens me! Young people are so consumed with what their peers think and say about them until they have no regard in taking their own young, unaccomplished, unfulfilled, precious lives :-(. What is going on in the minds of our youth?  Are they not loved enough? Do they not have enough resources to turn to in seeking help?  What are we missing in the aid of our youth?  My God! What is so bad that more youth today feel the need to take their own life?  Here today … gone tomorrow, in the blink of an eye!

What Is Cyber Bullying?

Cyber-Bullying-saidaonline“Cyber bullying” is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyber stalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyber stalking is NEVER called cyber bullying.

Children have killed each other and committed suicide after having been involved in a cyber bullying incident.

Cyber bullying is usually not a one time communication, unless it involves a death threat or a credible threat of serious bodily harm. Kids usually know it when they see it, while parents may be more worried about the lewd language used by the kids than the hurtful affect of rude and embarrassing posts.

Cyber bullying may rise to the level of a misdemeanor cyber harassment charge, or if the child is young enough may result in the charge of juvenile delinquency. Most of the time the cyber bullying does not go that far, although parents often try to pursue criminal charges. It typically can result in a child losing their ISP or IM accounts as a terms of service violation. And in some cases, if hacking or password and identity theft is involved, can be a serious criminal matter under state and federal law.

When schools try to get involved by disciplining the student for cyber bullying, actions that took place off-campus and outside of school hours, they are often sued for exceeding their authority and violating the student’s “right to free speech.” They also, often lose. Schools can be very effective brokers in working with the parents to stop and remedy cyber bullying situations. They can also educate the students on cyber ethics and the law. If schools are creative, they can sometimes avoid the claim that their actions exceeded their legal authority for off-campus cyber bullying actions. It is recommended that a provision is added to the school’s acceptable use policy reserving the right to discipline the student for actions taken off-campus if they are intended to have an effect on a student or they adversely affect the safety and well-being of the student(s) while in school. This makes it a contractual, and not a constitutional issue.

Statistics

cyber-bullying-on-FBDespite the potential damage of cyber bullying, it is alarmingly common among adolescents and teens. According to Cyber bullying statistics from the i-SAFE foundation:

  • Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.
  • More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online.
  • Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.
  • Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.

 

The Harford County Examiner reported similarly concerning cyber bullying statistics:

  • Around half of teens have been the victims of cyber bullying
  • Only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber bully victim
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement
  • 1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phone cameras
  • About 1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others
  • Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to be involved in cyber bullying

What Can You Do to Help?

  • Talks to teens about cyber bullying, explaining that it is wrong and can have serious consequences. Make a rule that teens may not send mean or damaging messages, even if someone else started it, or suggestive pictures or messages or they will lose their cell phone and computer privileges for a time.
  • Encourage teens to tell an adult if cyber bullying is occurring. Tell them if they are the victims they will not be punished, and reassure them that being bullied is not their fault.
  • Teens should keep cyber bullying messages as proof that the cyber bullying is occurring. The teens’ parents may want to talk to the parents of the cyber bully, to the bully’s Internet or cell phone provider, and/or to the police about the messages, especially if they are threatening or sexual in nature.
  • Try blocking the person sending the messages. It may be necessary to get a new phone number or email address and to be more cautious about giving out the new number or address.
  • Teens should never tell their password to anyone except a parent, and should not write it down in a place where it could be found by others.
  • Teens should not share anything through text or instant messaging on their cell phone or the Internet that they would not want to be made public – remind teens that the person they are talking to in messages or online may not be who they think they are, and that things posted electronically may not be secure.
  • Encourage teens never to share personal information online or to meet someone they only know online.
  • Keep the computer in a shared space like the family room, and do not allow teens to have Internet access in their own rooms.
  • Encourage teens to have times when they turn off the technology, such as at family meals or after a certain time at night.
  • Parents may want to wait until high school to allow their teens to have their own email and cell phone accounts, and even then parents should still have access to the accounts.

S.T.A.R. Foundation has incorporated anti-bullying and positive social message initiates within our program.  Through youth and peer influence, we want to foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated … Where girls are more uplifting and empowering than humiliating and degrading toward one another. If you would like to help by becoming a volunteer, please e-mail us at support@foundationofstars.org.

 

Source: StopCyberbulling.org, bullyingstatistics.org, bornthiswayfoundation.org

 

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