October is National Bullying Prevention Month – for kids, teens AND adults. Bullying happens at schools, on the playground, in social organizations and online. The latter is exactly what Cyberbullying means: “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.” No longer are people waiting until the next time they see a person face-to-face to bully, they are doing it right away, online, for the whole world to see. Green Giant (New York Times) has a campaign encouraging parents to write letters to their children to get them to stand up to bullying.
Mashable reports that the big technology companies are taking a stance, too. Facebook published a manual for educators and community leaders in its Family Safety Center, Google+ has teamed up with PopSugar Moms to host discussion forums via Google Hangouts, Twitter is sharing safety tips with parents. The Office Depot Foundation has also teamed up with One Direction to launch a free, education program aimed at creating bully-free schools. You can apply to bring the program to your school here.
If you haven’t caught on yet, this is a big deal! It’s a big deal with teenagers, who can be more vulnerable and less comfortable in their own skin, but it’s also prevalent with ADULTS! Unlike playground spats and classroom brawls, online bullying DOES NOT GO AWAY. EVER. The victim is terrorized by negative comments or insinuations and the perpetrator’s online reputation is tarnished. PERMANENTLY. Both parties lose. People take screenshots of tweets prior to them being deleted and then there are these not-so-little organizations, like The Library of Congress, that pretty much archive the ENTIRE web, tweet by tweet, post by post!
Not only is cyberbullying not nice, in some states it isILLEGAL! So think twice about what you post on Instagram, what you Tweet and post on Facebook becausewhat you say, tweet and post CAN BE USED AGAINST YOU IN A COURT OF LAW. (side note: the dumbest criminal has to be the one that incriminates himself)
Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Sisters, Brothers and Friends: Raise a Giant!!! Wear blue on Monday, October 7th and STOMP Out Bullying!