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Cyberbullying: The elephant in the room

…because we don’t talk enough about it.

Ever since the tragic suicide of St. Louis teen, Megan Meier, the issue of cyberbullying has FINALLY taken center stage.  As educators, we know the issue of bullying is not new, but we do need to find ways to eradicate this hateful, high-tech form of bullying.

NYT Reporter, Christopher Maag, uncovers how vicious, relentless and diabolical this new form of bullying has become. He writes about the many twists, turns and dodging our young people have to maneuver through, in an article, When the Bullies Turned Faceless.“Once you’re on MySpace, you’re trapped,” said Jake Dobson, 12, a seventh grader at West Middle School. “You spend all your time online just trying to keep the negative stuff about you from spreading.”

And…

"This fall an unpopular boy started break dancing at a football game. People took cellphone photos and videos, which they immediately forwarded to hundreds of people. “They were egging him on because they wanted to keep making fun of him, and the photos made him look ridiculous,” said Jake Dobson, the seventh grader."

Ironically, just last night I was on the phone with a friend recounting how, as a school kid, I was teased             ad nauseam. Thank goodness, back then there was no such thing as cyberbullying - but teasing at any level is never fun – and you never get over it. 

Thankfully today, some lawmakers are deciding to get involved.

Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, is providing resources for parents, teachers and students - all in an effort to thwart further online victimization against our young people.
"Protecting our children against dangers they face on the Internet is one of our greatest challenges," Madigan said. "By keeping up with the ways that children use technology to communicate with each other, our teachers, school administrators and police officers can work together to prevent bullying and violence." (comes via Government Technology article, Illinois Attorney General Announces Cyberbullying Training)

Prevent cyberbullying and internet harassment