Common Sense Media: Bullying Is Everybody's Business
Liz Perle, Common Sense Media
Wed Oct 10, 2:22 PM UTC
Cyberbullying Is a Complex System With the statistics piling up, it has become increasingly clear that the cruelties inflicted by cyberbullying have become a devastating reality for the majority of tweens and teens.
While bullying is nothing new, when it takes place in the digital world, it's like public humiliation on steroids. Photos, cruel comments, taunts, and threats travel in an instant and can be seen, revisited, reposted, linked to, and shared by a huge audience.
Until recently, parents, teachers, and news accounts have focused on the relationship between the bully and his or her target. But experts say that there are usually more kids involved in a cyberbullying scenario, making it a much more complex organism than previously thought. In fact, one of the side effects of how public bullying has become is that potentially everyone in the bully's circle of friends -- both online and off-line -- may be involved.
Studies show that kids' relationships in the real world are mirrored online. When drama brews or aggressive behavior erupts among a group of friends, it passes seamlessly from the lunchroom to the chat room. Everyone in the social circle knows about it and participates in various ways to varying degrees on the social network.
The Four Cyberbullying Roles
Identifying the different roles in a cyberbullying situation can help you to help your kid develop self-awareness and a sense of empathy. These skills will go a long way toward cultivating an online culture of respect and responsibility.
First, there's the cyberbully, the aggressor who's using digital media tools (such as the Internet and cell phone) to deliberately upset or harass their target -- the person who's being cyberbullied. Then there are the bystanders, the kids who are aware that something cruel is going on but who stay on the sidelines (either out of indifference or because they're afraid of being socially isolated or of becoming a target themselves). But there are also kids who act as upstanders. These are the kids who actively try to break the cycle, whether by sticking up for the target, addressing the bully directly, or notifying the appropriate authorities about what's going on.
How to Help Your Kid Kids may play different roles at different times. Your advice to your child will differ depending on the situation and the specific role your child is playing in whatever bullying or drama is going on.
By making kids aware that a safe world is everyone's responsibility, we empower them to take positive actions -- like reporting a bully, flagging a cruel online comment, or not forwarding a humiliating photo -- that ultimately can put a stop to an escalating episode of cruelty.
© 2012 Common Sense Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
Most Popular News
In age of Trump, GOP learns to embrace government activism
WASHINGTON (AP) — After eight years of denouncing President Barack Obama as a big-government activist, congressional Republicans suddenly appear eager to welcome a big-government activist to the White House.
Fake news rings alarm bells from restaurant to White House
WASHINGTON (AP) — The bizarre rumors began with a leaked email referring to Hillary Clinton and sinister interpretations of pizza parties. It morphed into fake online news stories about a child sex trafficking ring run by prominent Democrats operating out of a Washington, D.C., restaurant.
NATO commander says 150 Turkish officers gone since coup
BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO's top military officer says that around 150 Turkish officers have been recalled or retired from the alliance's high command in response to the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July.
Arctic sea ice hits record monthly low for 7th time in 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) — Though this is when the Arctic is supposed to be refreezing, scientists say sea ice there hit record low levels for November. In the crucial Barents Sea, the amount of floating ice decreased when it would be expected to grow.