You don’t have to live very long before you realize a grand truth: Success and safety often come from adherence to a few fundamental principles.
This truth also applies to how we conduct ourselves on the Internet. That’s why I was happy to come across a succinct list of Internet conduct DOs and DONT’s from Microsoft’s Online Safety Community. While the list has been up for a while and doesn’t mention anything new, great things would happen if more of us would follow its core principles.
The TV station CBS 11 in Texas recently reported the story of how WebSafety, an Internet safety company based out of Irving, Texas, effectively fights cyberbullying.
News reporter Doug Dunbar told of two different Texas teenagers that were cyberbullied through text messages. The good news was that the parents of both families immediately received a danger alert to their emails and phones because they were signed up for WebSafety’s CellSafety services.
If Phoebe Prince’s death teaches us anything, it should be that we need to act—now!
According to the Boston Herald, the 15-year-old at South Hadley High School student (pictured at right) committed suicide last week because she was relentlessly bullied, both at school and through text message, Facebook, and other social networking websites. The Boston Globe reported that Phoebe received a “barrage of ridicule from a clique of girls who were irate that she had dated a football player.” This is a pathetic and sorrowful story too often repeated by our youth.
We must quickly take preventative action at the following three fronts (and in this order):
Rather than properly disciplining their child for the act of cyber-bullying, some parents are taking the low road and suing schools for punishing their child’s act of hate.
According to a recent story from the Los Angeles Times, some parents and free-speech advocates are fighting back against school-issued discipline, claiming their children “have a 1st Amendment right to be nasty in cyberspace.”
It wasn’t too long ago that school bullies were known to flex their muscles face-to-face and at school. But times have changed. The Internet has become an attractive bullying ground for many teenagers and children. This trend is commonly known as cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is a serious problem that simply cannot be ignored. According to the National Education Association, nearly 160,000 children miss school each day because they are scared of bullying.