“The pen is mightier than the sword.”
Nowadays, this quote has been changed to “The keyboard is more powerful than a gun. “, which to me means, some of the words which are posted online (or in texts and emails), can, in some instances, hurt another person so badly, they decide to end their life.
When I hear stories of children committing suicide because they were bullied, it breaks my heart.
Because of words, and possibly the inability to defend themselves, the self esteem of these children ended up in the toilet and they (probably) felt like life wasn’t worth living. Maybe they felt worthless. Or felt they were a burden on society. That no one cared about them. Maybe they didn’t feel loved, wanted, needed and/or heard.
Because I haven’t walked in their shoes, I can’t say exactly why a child would take their own life, but the world won’t be the same without them. They will be missed.
Cyber bullying is on the rise and as more young people sign on to social networking sites or start blogging, the problems will undoubtedly escalate.
Cyber bullying won’t go away, but it can be minimized.
When I analyze social networking sites and blogs, I see how problems can emerge.
Let’s look at Facebook. They utilize a “like” button and label those we communicate with with as “friends”.
Most adults can differentiate between real friends and online friends, but can children?
We enjoy the “like” button as it’s a quick and easy way to give a thumbs up to what others are sharing, but children may feel if no one “likes” what they post, then they’re not liked either.
Sites like Twitter with their “followers” and Google Plus with their “circles” use different terminology, but it still comes down to who “accepts our request(s)” and follows us back. Who likes us, so to speak.
It also makes me wonder if bloggers contribute to the problem.
In my travels around the blogosphere, I’ve seen where some blog authors let their commenters rate other comments as “winner”, “loser”, “spam”, and “like”. Although this gives others a chance to quickly share what they think of other comments, it also lets fellow bloggers be the judge and jury.
If children observe adults doing this, might we be teaching them to do the same? To label others?
Although some will say it’s solely the parent’s job to be a good role model and monitor what a child does online, a parent cannot realistically be with a child 24/7. Plus, even if we are doing everything right to raise well balanced, self confident children, a child is more apt to listen to the words of their peers rather than those from a parent.
With cyber bullying, it’s words which are killing or negatively affecting our young people. Words which hurt. Words which others don’t take responsibility for. Words which are often published in haste.
I wish I had a sure-fire way to stop cyber bullying, but I don’t.
What I do have though, is a blog; a place where I can ask you for your suggestions.
How do you think we can help solve the cyber bullying problem?
Care to share?
Cyber bullying resources:
- Stop Bullying
- AFT.org – Anti-bullying tools for teachers
- NEA – Bully Free Schools
- Canadian Resources for Anti-Bullying
- Kids Health Online Magazine
- Article from iSafe on Cyber Bullies (pdf)
- Cyber Bully Help – a site dedicated to cyber bullying