Oct. 22 2014
By Michael Riley
If you give a teenager a handgun, a box of matches and a smart phone, the potential to do more harm with the first two is obvious, but maybe not so much with the third option.
More than half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and approximately the same numbers of individuals have engaged in cyber bullying themselves, according to bullyingstatistics.org.
Unlike their parents’ childhood, the smart phone is a necessity in daily life that provides entertainment and education. An unfortunate side effect of the smart phone is the pathetically easy bridge it creates for the bully to access a victim.
Another unfortunate statistic from bullyingstatistics.org is that out of all of the adolescents who bully or are the bullied, the numbers are even higher about not telling their parents anything about the cyber bullying. Not until a tragic incident occurs does this type of behavior normally come to light.
October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and its goal is to give parents and teenagers the resources to help avoid cyber bullying specifically.
One of the overall goals that the movement works toward is building up the self-esteem of our country’s youth. Studies show that those under the age of 15 who claim to have higher levels of self esteem and confidence are less likely to experience severe internet bullying.
The website for the awareness month is stompoutbullying.org, and under the Get Help Now tab, it provides a variety of advice if you find yourself being cyber bullied, but here a few:
• Never respond to harassing, negative threatening responses about you.
• If you are being threatened by texting or social media, block the user or number.
• If you are being threatened online, print the threats and give them to your parents. They should contact the computer crimes unit at the local police precinct. If the department does not have a computer crimes unit, they should bring the posts to a supervising law enforcement officer at the nearest precinct.
• If you are being harassed on Facebook, report it to Facebook.
• Never respond to or forward nude photos. No matter how much your boyfriend tells you he loves you … the nude photos will go viral! And it’s against the law to send nude photos online.
• If someone has sent a nude photo of you to others and its gone viral, tell your parents immediately. Never keep this information from them.