“Don’t write it. Don’t send it. Stop cyber bullying.” Those are the words of a new ad campaign by the National Crime Prevention Council, and judging by the prevalence of harassment via technology, this campaign is needed more than ever.
The latest high profile case of cyber bullying involves a so-called “smut list” that was posted on Facebook. The list targeted girls on the East Coast, accusing them of sexual promiscuity. This is just one example of what has become a pervasive problem for today’s youth. Cyber bullying was also alleged to be a factor in several recent, highly publicized cases of teen suicide.
Parents and educators are now recognizing the need to talk about technology’s role in the age-old problem of bullying. At the core, preventing bullying is about teaching kids to respect others and to stand up against bullying when they see it happening. Texting and social networking have only complicated the issue, however, with mediums that spread rumors and mean messages to mass audiences, like wild fire.
Several helpful websites are now dedicated to promoting safe Internet use and preventing online harassment. The website www.stopcyberbullying.org has sections called “prevention” and “take action.” Also check out www.wiredsafety.org.
Erika Weisensee is a writer, a parent and a native Oregonian.