[box]“I really don’t see the reason of trying, or for talking, or for breathing. I’m just done.”[/box]
This quote, from the movie Cyber Bully, is painstakingly crafted from Taylor Hillridge, a 17-year-old teen who is repeatedly being tormented online through a popular social media site. The attacks, in the form of rumors and lies soon find Taylor at school. These cyber bullies, or as I call them, “mean girls” (based on the character’s from the movie Mean Girls) continue their assault. Students start to look at her funny, begin to talk about her through whispers and pointed fingers, and a cute guy who asked her to a dance prior to the cyber bully incident starts to ignore her. Eventually he reneges on his offer to take her to the dance.
It becomes all too difficult…She believes the attacks will permanently scar her reputation. Feeling trapped and with no way out, Taylor opts to take her life!
Sadly, it was not just a fictional story made into a movie to garner ratings and rave reviews; it is based on headlines and a growing trend.
The internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, basically technology in general has changed the way we socially interact today. It is a way of communicating (or not communicating in the case of texting).
Texting is often used to avoid handling uncomfortable situations like break ups, or expressing ones feelings. And, if you don’t want to “waste time” talking to someone, you can take care of business in a matter of seconds.
Not working through tough issues and handling things face to face has led a new generation to lack healthy social skills. This absence of relational communication makes it all too easy to cyber-bully because raw emotion has always been avoided. Often times there is numbness, even a deficiency of awareness that what they are doing is actually cyber bullying.
Do you know what cyber bullying really is? Does your state’s laws protect against cyber-bullying?
There are many definitions to explain cyber bullying, but this definition provided by Wired Kids is probably one of the best I have found:
[box]”Cyber bullying” is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyber stalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyber stalking is NEVER called cyber bullying.[/box]
The National Conference of State Legislatures is a great resource to see how your state protects against cyber-bullying.
Another resource that gives the specific laws by state very specifically is www.cyberbullying.com.
As I have stated before, knowledge is power, and when informed, we are much better able to protect our children.
Are you informed? You can find more information, resources and support here at ShayleneKing.com where I blog about girl bullying and also at The-Mean-Girl-Extinction-Project.com.