Bullies. They have been around since forever. For those of us who are not digital natives, it might have been name-calling or some other form of teasing. It might have been someone kicking sand in your face at the beach, or pushing too hard at the playground or it might have been much more physical, resulting in a busted lip or a black eye. But in those days, the bullied could retreat. She could go to the safety of her room at home, turn on the stereo and blast away the hurt, at least for a little while.
Bullying has taken on an entirely new dimension with the advent of the Internet and social media. Communication between kids, tweens, teens and others has become instantaneous. Thoughts, unfiltered, fly from the fingertips and once out there, they are out there. And those thoughts can be destructive and devastating. But no one, the schools, the law, the parents, the teachers nor the students has any concrete direction of how to handle the Internet. In the world of 24/7, issues of “jurisdiction” arise; is the bullying happening on school computers or on home computers? Is it free speech? Does it depend on whether you are the parent of the bully or the bullied?
These are all hard questions. And there are no easy answers. Everyone agrees that there should be zero-tolerance of physical bullying within school grounds. But how do we address the ether?
Here are some resources to help minimize the destructiveness of bullying, in general and cyber-bullying in particular. On Twitter follow @L2Cyberbullying for up to date articles.