Cyber Bullying: Tech Gone Bad


— Story by eSchool News

Cyber bullying is in the national spotlight again, and the news is not encouraging: On the heels of a widely publicized case in Missouri that led to the suicide of a 13-year-old girl, there is new research to suggest that instances of online harassment are on the rise among students. READ MORE›› 

By Paul Silli 

If bullying at school wasn’t bad enough, now kids are getting online and being harassed to the point where many of them are committing suicide. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is trying to draw more attention to show how adolescents are affected by harassment through emails, Instant Text Messages, blogs, MySpace, and other electronic media.

I think it is horrible to know that children have committed suicide from the effects of bullies online. Sure, these kids probably have other emotional issues, but harassment at school or online only makes things worse for them. Many of our youth seek refuge online to socialize and interact with friends.

It is sad to learn that many of our kids are getting harassed. For example, they are called names, profanity is used, and there are many cases where disgusting “rumors” are spread about them… while using online networks such as “MySpace.”

Dilemma: What can we, as educators, do to help with this situation? How can we assist  parents in finding ways to prevent kids from being harassed online? 


8 Responses to “Cyber Bullying: Tech Gone Bad”

  1. sphyrnatude Says:

    while I agree that it is unfortunate that a kid commited suicide, blaming it on the ‘net is just silly. If you read the article, she had been treated for depression – a much more likely cause for her suicide.

    the fact is, kids will call eachother names, teenagers will have social dramas as they determine who they are, who they like, and what social clique they are going to try and fit into. These are simply the realities of growing up.

    The best (and only possible) solution is to simply accept that there will (unfortuantely) always be kids (and adults) that simply canot cope in our society. Some will turn to drugs, or crime, or other socially unnaceptable behavior. And yes, some will suicide.

    Instead of looking for things to blame, regulate, and punish people for, a much more rational approach is to educate parents about the things that they can do to make their child’s growing as easy as possible. That doesn’t mean havving hte schools, social services, or some other government agency act “in loco parentis”. There will always be sick kids, and it doesn’t really matter WHO is acting as the parent. Let parents be parents. That includes accepting the knowledge that their kid may be killed in a car accident, from an undiagnosed congenital problem, or (yes, even) from suicide. Parental nightmares, but part of being a parent.

  2. Paul (gatorball) Says:

    You are absolutely correct! This is primarily a “parental issue.” But as teachers we do have a responsibility to deliver positive information that may help parents and our kids in dealing with the world, and handling life problems. We are not the end-providers, but we can be an awesome influence on them. If parents and teachers work together, it is a strong alliance. I suggest we inform parents about this online bully issue; provide them with some feeback and reference info… and then we can only hope for the best (knowing that we did something). As educators we do have a responsibility to provide real-life lessons for our kids; which includes teaching them how to deal with bullies. Most students may forget some of the history facts we teach, but life-lesson skills they will keep forever. 😉

  3. Carolyn Says:

    Thanks for sharing this article. Bullying in school or anywhere else, whether it is in person or with the use of technology can be devastating. It should definitely not be tolerated in school, where students should feel safe.

  4. Mike Says:

    We had a horrible instance of this in our family. The worst part? The search engines, which tally up all that false, misleading and flat out lies and will not remove them, no matter what. How free speech and cyberbullies can co-exist is really a quandry.

    You can tell people to simply ignore the problem, but search engines and webmaster fully protected by Sec 230 of the Communication Decency Act have no motivation whatsoever period. Our family encounter with a vile cyber bully 3 years ago, is still indexed as the #1 search for my daughter. There the most horrific information was posted about my daughter. Our legal recourse? None. There is a massive problem online and IMO, people who get a closer look at the horrific side of the internet simply leave. Our family was so traumatized, I took my entire business offline and would never support financially or otherwise, anything to do with the internet.

    Search engines and webmaster hungry for users and advertising dollars will eventually feel the karma, but it will take years. At this point, there is no legal remedy at all.

  5. sphyrnatude Says:

    there should be no legal remedy. name calling and gossip are a normal part of growing up. A part of good parenting is to teach our children what is and is not appropriate, and what to do when exposed to innpropriate beavior. this is the role of PARENTS not GOVERNMENT.

    This menas that there will be cases when a poor parent allows their child to misbehave, and the unfortunate reality is that this almost always will result in other children being exposed exposed to behaviors we would prefer they not see. Once again, this where good parenting comes in – teaching your kids what to do when they experience this behavior.

    educators have the opportunity to act as role models, and (hopefully) set standars in their classrooms that will demonstrate and encourage proper behavior, and define and discourage improper behavior. The main responsibility still lies with the parents. In cases where a student consistantly displays poor behavior, and does not respond to normal classroom interventions, parental involvement is definitely appropriate. The unfortunate reality is that in some cases, the parent will disagree that the behavior is innapropriate, and will refuse to cooperate, or will actively oppose modifying the behavior. This is the parent’s perogative, and as educators, it is our job to figure out a way to make these unfortunate situations work in our classrooms.

    To the parents that feel their children have been the victims of innapropriate begavior: name calling has been a part of growing up since at least the early 1200’s, and probably before that. Kids have managed to live through it without being scarred for life. If you children are really so sensitive that they cannot ahndle it, what is going to happen when they are adults and get laid off, are teenagers and get dumped by their boy/girlfriend, or have some other event happen that they view as criticism? If they ahve not learned how to deal with rejection and teasing, they certainly will not be prepared for these events. Instead of viewing these silly incidents as “victimization”, view them as a chance for your child to deal with the real world – in preparation for events that will be truly significant in their later life.

  6. Paul (gatorball) Says:

    Yes, educators are role models. I agree, and this issue is NOT a government blamed problem. It is a “parenting issue” where children have to be taught how to deal with bullying –whether in school, at work, or now — online. Unfortunately, bullying is not going away. It is a social problem where the bully (usually abused cases) gets the chance to vent out on an individual… That is why it is vital we teach our kids how to handle bully situations. Sadly, dealing with bullying is a life lesson that will continue to challenge many parents and their kids. As educators we do have a responsibility to address this matter and offer some tips and skills to our kids on how to handle this problem. I agree this being a real-world problem where our focus is to teach kids how to deal with this while they are in our classrooms. I just hope what we offer them is reinforced at home by their parents who are the “main contributors” of their development.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    igot beat up alll lot i know how it feels

  8. juan cortez Says:

    i think it is just bad to be bullied it is also horrable that lots of people commite suicid because of that

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