Cyber Bullying

Erin - posted on 07/21/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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There's been a case here this week of a 14 year old girl committing suicide after being harrassed and targeted via Facebook and MySpace. She was the fourth student from the same school to commit suicide this year and police are now investigating.

This is precisely why my daughter will never have a computer in her own room. I will insist it be in a communal living area where I can supervise and intervene if necessary. But is that enough? It's pretty scary when you consider that a little girl felt her life became so bad she couldn't cope, all because of what people are writing online...

There has been no mention of any underlying psychological or emotional problems, but I have to assume not all children would respond this way.

So how do we give our children the tools to deal with this new wave of bullying?

How would we know if it was our child being targeted like this?

And what would you do about it?

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JL - posted on 07/21/2009

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The one thing I emphasize continuely to my oldest is that she is be nice to others kids and if they are mean then she is to walk away and not be freinds with kids like that. I have told her that I would be completely disappointed in her if she ever bullied anyone and was one of those mean girls in school.

I do not condone any kid being mean to another and making fun of them. When other kids play at my house they know that this is the rules they are too abide by and if they break them they apologize and stop the behavior or they have to leave and are not welcomed back at my home.

I was always the new girl because my dad was in the Army so I was the target for the mean girls. I grew a backbone fast and decided that I did not give a crap what these girls had to say about me and let them know that right off that I never wanted to be friends with people like them. I also made it known from the beginning that I did not take crap and I would confront people face to face.
I never had to deal with bullying but I did have a crap load of gossiping about me. I did not care about the gossiping most of the time because I talked openly with my parents about what was going on and if it ever went to far I knew my mother would be at the school in a heartbeat demanding action and threatening to kick butt. The thing that bothered me most was watching other people get bullied and seeing other girls upset my the gossip so I got into a number of verbal and physical altercations in highschool for taking up for other people.

I will continue to maintain an open policy with my kids and instill in them high self esteem. I am not worried about it too much because let me tell you I will be up in some parents faces taking names and kicking butt if some kid decides to bully mine. And no computers in the bedroom..not going to happen.

?? - posted on 07/21/2009

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This is going to sound very very uppity and snobby and I am truely not meaning it in any offensive manner towards anyone at all............ I am not worried about bullying with my child or future children simply because all it takes is one incident to be aware of the situation.



There are programs you can get for your computer that "keylogs" what is said - in other words - it keeps a record of every conversation that takes place on the computer. Easy enough to install and keep tabs on your childrens conversations if need be. It's easy enough to ask questions and just take in what they say. Phones... they're pretty simple to monitor. My friend has a 14 year old sister - she is not allowd to delete her text messages (there is a 'message counter' on her phone so her mom can tell how many texts she recieved and sent) so if they aren't all there when her mom asks for the phone - her phone gets taken away.



There are so many things that we can do, talk, listen, watch and as soon as we see even the smallest indication - we can take action. So I'm really not too worried about it. I'm not scared of asking questions and if a parent is unwilling or unable to teach their child about how being a bully is a BAD thing... then I have no hesitation in teaching them myself, it just won't be in a pleasant manner that their parent may have chosen to do it lol

Erin - posted on 07/21/2009

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Traci ~ I agree that mobile phones fall into this same 'danger' category for me too.It's just one more medium that exposes children to potential harm and negativity.

Jo~ That's a horrible HORRIBLE story about what happened to your family at that school!! I have been VERY lucky and have never been bullied, so the thought that someone would target my child in the ways you have described (and the ways that led this poor girl to suicide) terrifies me. I would definitely be pro-active about it if it were to happen - I'm not afraid of confrontation either and wouldn't hesitate. But we can't be with our kids all the time, and with computers and mobile phones the bullying now extends beyond school.

Erin - posted on 07/21/2009

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Traci ~ I agree that mobile phones fall into this same 'danger' category for me too.It's just one more medium that exposes children to potential harm and negativity.

Jo~ That's a horrible HORRIBLE story about what happened to your family at that school!! I have been VERY lucky and have never been bullied, so the thought that someone would target my child in the ways you have described (and the ways that led this poor girl to suicide) terrifies me. I would definitely be pro-active about it if it were to happen - I'm not afraid of confrontation either and wouldn't hesitate. But we can't be with our kids all the time, and with computers and mobile phones the bullying now extends beyond school.

Traci - posted on 07/21/2009

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Luckily, I've never experienced any kind of bullying while in school. But I think that you're right, Erin, about not allowing computers in private spaces in your home. A computer in a child's room (by child I mean anyone under the age of 18!) is a recipe for trouble. We don't even let our kids have tvs in their room.

There's no way to completely know what is going on in your kids lives, short of spying on them, so that's why it's important to talk to them everyday. That's why I like being a SAHM. My kids get off the bus, and I'm there to greet them, asking them how their day was and what happened at school that day. If you do it everyday, you can see small changes in their behaviors. It's hard to see such small changes when you only talk to them sporadically. Really, that's all you can do. Teach them right, talk to them, and hope for the best!

That's another reason I have a problem with kids having cell phones. They work as computers now, so how do you take that away? All this technology in young hands is a little worrisome to me!

?? - posted on 07/21/2009

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I was bullied really bad in highschool - so much so that I moved to a different town 2 hours away just to be able to go to school. I also pulled my youngest sister out of the same school because she was bullied by students, ignored by a teacher after being bullied and the principal informed me that my sister is nothing but a statistic and that there was nothing they would do because they can't "go ahead and make an example out of one person."



Now that being said - it is our responsibility as parents.. as human beings... to stand up and actually fight back against the bullies. There are too many parents that are well aware that their teenage girl is a complete bitch to other girls and let them have the attitude and display the behaviour that leads to such horrible mindframes in other people that they feel suicide is the only way out.



I have always ALWAYS stood up to my bullies and other bullies. I have been in MANY fights because of it. Whether it's online or it's in person, the second we see the behaviour, the attitude in a child parents NEED absolutely 100% NEED to be aggressive in their stance against those bullying children.



There are a lot of parents who completely wuss out. They call the other mom and say "Your daughter has been saying some very nasty things to my child." and the other mom will say "Oh? Well that is news to me, I will talk to her." --- "Ellie May... what have you been saying to Betty Sue?" and that just leads to more and more and more bullying.



Myself, I wouldn't allow it - I would document the nastiness that the other girl said (including my own childs misbehaviour as well as punish her for it - if it exists) and then I would call that other mother and tell her exactly this "I have documentation of your childs negative attitude and behaviour towards my child. I would suggest that you have a discussion with her about her behaviour. If this continues I will not hesitate to go to the proper authorities. I do not find her actions or words acceptable and I refuse to allow your daughter to torment my child. Please take the proper actions to prevent any further actions that may be harmful. I do not want to call the police, but I will not let this continue."



I know that sounds harsh - but lets face it - teenage girls are bitches and conivining, mischeivious backstabbing little liars when it comes to bullying, cliques and the attitudes and behaviours that surround bullying. And having been through it, watched my brother attempt suicide after being bullied, having both of my younger sisters be bullied all in the same school that spouts off about how they have zero tolerance for bullying........ I have a zero tolerance for mothers who allow themselves to be blind to their own childrens actions, as well as zero tolerance for bullies. And I have no qualms calling the cops on a kid who uses words to demoralize any other human being.

ME - posted on 07/21/2009

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I was also bullied pretty badly in jr. high and high school. It was horribly painful for me, and my parents always kind of assumed that I was doing something to deserve it, or encourage it. They were always very popular, and didn't understand what was happening to me. I felt very alone, and very sad. I never thought about ending my life, but I can understand why, in a very young mind, it would seem like a viable option. My children will not have a computer in their room either, and I will make sure they know why. It is not just because of bullying, but it is one of the reasons. If my parents had simply explained to me that there was something wrong with the children who were mistreating me, it would have helped. If they had told me that I wasn't doing anything to deserve what they were putting me through, it would have helped. If they had helped me to find a place where I did fit in, with other intellectuals maybe, it would have helped. My problem was that I didn't care about clothes, hair, nails, expensive possessions, tv shows, boys, drinking, sneaking out of my house...and all of the things that the wealthy, spoiled kids in my catholic school cared about, and I didn't find anyone that I had much in common with (outside of my family) until I went away to college. Helping your kids to find a place where they do fit in, and helping them to understand that they don't have to be like everyone else to be happy...is a great start. Talking to them openly and honestly about everything is really the only way to be sure you know what is going on in their lives!

Sarah - posted on 07/21/2009

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Bullying is one of the most horrible things you can go through. I suffered some bullying at school and it wasn't pleasant.

This 'cyber bullying' is just a modern style of an extremely old problem.

At least on a computer we can (hopefully) monitor what our kids are up to. I think the key is letting your kids know that they can open up to you about things like bullying. I think some of the times it gets out of hand is when the kid thinks they have no-one to turn to.

I wouldn't let my kids have a computer in their room, i will try and monitor what the are up to. Mostly tho, i'm just going to try and teach that bullying is NOT tolerated, and that they should ALWAYS tell me if something like that is happening to them. :)

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