Lawmakers, Parents, Kids Take on Cyberbullies

Bullying has been an issue since the invention of recess, but it usually is limited to school grounds. Now, it’s easy for a bully to spread a rumor, send a nasty text or insulting picture. Many victims don’t even tell their parents that there is a problem, notes This means that things can get way out of hand before adults realize what’s going on.

This type of thing can be hard for adults to comprehend. Most people look to their cell phones primarily for news, not to harass people, notes Thankfully, older people are catching on to the fact that cyberbullying is a very real problem.

What Is Cyberbullying?

In a nutshell, cyberbullying replaces the nastiness of the playground shoving match with harassment through devices like smart phones, cell phones, and computers. Instead of being mean on a face-to-face basis, a cyber bully can find a target’s online profiles and post nasty messages from behind a screen name. A bully can also send insulting text messages or pictures. One of the worst aspects of cyberbullying is the fact that it’s almost impossible for victims to avoid. This changes it from being an occasional event in school to something that can go on relentlessly – essentially putting the victim under permanent psychological assault.

Are There Any Laws Against Cyberbullying?

While lawmakers are notoriously slow at adapting to technological changes, some have stepped up to try to put a halt to cyberbullying. In Florida, a bill is in the state Senate that would expand the authority of the state’s school districts to discipline those who use school property to cyberbully, CBS Miami reported.

Even in states where there is no specific anti-bullying legislation, parents are no longer willing to put up with the usual look-the-other-way attitude that has  been shamefully prevalent in schools for decades. According to Thomson Reuters, in California, the parents of a girl who committed suicide after pictures of her sexual assault were passed around electronically are considering a lawsuit against her school on the grounds the institution didn’t do enough to stop it. It is very likely that any serious crackdowns on cyberbullying will not come because schools suddenly realized how serious it really is – but because parents are now willing to sue schools for not doing the right thing.

What Can Be Done to Protect Children From Cyberbullying?

Despite the fact that it may not be considered cool, one of the easiest ways to limit the chance of your child being electronically bullied to limit a child’s access to these devices. This will mitigate the relentlessness that often goes with cyberbullying.

Also, teach your youngsters good habits for both cell phone and Internet use. Emphasize how important it is to keep passwords secret. Also, instruct your kids about how to use the blocking feature included with most phones and sites to ban bullies from contacting them. The block button may be the best feature ever invented for Internet sites and phones precisely because it makes it easy to stop most common technological harassment at the gates.

In the end, cyberbullying demands some good old-fashioned parenting. If your child is the victim of any kind of bullying, get on the phone and get to the bottom of the issue.