The Night Cyberbullying Came Home
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The Night Cyberbullying Came Home

The Internet isn't always all fun and games; what happens when a cyber bully comes knocking on your IP?

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The Night Cyberbullying Came Home
Jay Wennington

Cyber Bullying. You may think you are safe and the reality is you could be the next victim.

What is cyber bullying? Who does it affect? How can it be prevented?

Well, for starters, Cyber Bullying makes use of technology; the use of the interweb, messengers, social media, texting, and so on can be considered Cyber Bullying and it can affect anyone and everyone.

To give you a better idea of who can be affected, according to ThinkProgress.org, 42 percent of LGBT Youth report being bullied and harassed online, with a grand total of 80 percent of today's youth reporting they have experienced being cyber bullied, with 10 to 20 percent experience being cyber bullied regularly. (BullyingStatistics.org)

This is just what our youth are experiencing; it doesn't even take into account what the rest of us are experiencing.

Over the past week, my oldest child became a statistic; he had a student in his class sending him harassing messages calling him names like "fucking bitch" and telling him he was stupid and dumb. When my son asked him to please stop, the child informed him that he obviously didn't understand how the internet works.

Let me take this one step further and tell you that these are fourth graders—a FOURTH grader telling my child that this is how the internet works, that they are supposed to treat each other like this on the internet.

I, myself, monitor everything my son does online and was able to get screen shots, revoke contact with this child, and proceed to address the issue.

At first, I was blown off, but as a parent and advocate to my children I have learned to not give up and to keep pressing on. After some persistence and showing up and talking face to face with my son's teacher, it seemed to kick in and become a "real issue," only this time, this issue was addressed immediately the following morning.

My child was once again re-informed in regards to the severity of cyberbullying and how when something that severe happens he needs to report it to an adult immediately. The other party was addressed as well along with getting the pleasure to deal with their parents upon arrival home. Hopefully, this student has learned their lesson as well.

So, what can you do to prevent and create and awareness of the ever growing issue of Cyberbullying?

If you are a member of today's youth, be sure to alert an adult as to what is happening. Let the adult see and document or screenshot the issue. This can be used for further documentation, not just to show to the school, but if your state allows you to take it to court, then you will need this documentation.

Block the instigator. If you are on social media, chat rooms, etc. then you should be able to go to the best invention ever: the block button. Granted, yes, they can create new profiles or have others harass you, but this just adds to the case that you could be building against them.

Encourage your youth to not share personal information over the internet; unless you are an adult placing a dating site profile or ordering the hottest new arrival from Amazon. Even us as adults have to be aware of what we are putting out there on the internet.

This is a growing topic. The numbers increase almost daily. Something that I can not stress enough is that it is happening to our youth at younger and younger ages. A lot of the issues in the world when I was in school was kids stealing your pencil top erasers; it was not until late junior high that we even addressed the most serious topics, and at that point cyberbullying was not regularly discussed. Nowadays, we have to educate our children about everything when they are still in Elementary levels.

Regardless of how old or young you are, just be aware that these are real issues that someone close to you could be dealing with almost daily.


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