Bullying: Time to amp up the dialogue

By Erika Weisensee, 
Oregon Mom

Bullying is certainly not a new problem, but technology is giving bullies more and more ways to hurt and harass their victims.  With the recent suicide of a Rutger’s University student after reported online bullying, a lot of people are thinking and talking about this topic. Cyber bullying, which occurs via the Internet through social networking sites, email, instant messaging, tweets and blogs is a rampant problem for today’s youth.

As if the normal concerns of parenting weren’t enough, cyber bullying gives 21st Century parents one more thing to worry about. Complicating the issue is the phenomenon of texting—yet another easy way for bullies to target victims.

Because bullying begins in grade school, it is never too early to talk to kids about respect and what to do if they are bullied or witness bullying. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now has a website devoted to the topic: www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov.

Visit the site for helpful information and sections designed for both kids and adults. The website www.wiredkids.org also provides some great advice to help children be safe online.

Erika is a writing mom. She lives in Milwaukie and teaches writing and communication courses at the University of Portland.

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