by Erika Weisensee, Oregon Writer
The media is publicizing another tragic case of teen suicide—14-year-old Jayme Rodemeyer of New York took his own life after years of bullying, his family reports. Bullies utilized social networking sites to torment this boy. For every child like Jayme, there are thousands of other children who are bullied and tormented that we never hear about.
Bullying happens in many forms, but the Internet and texting have provided another way for perpetrators to harass and torment victims. Parents and educators are recognizing the need to talk about technology’s role in the age-old problem of bullying.
Last spring, in the wake of another teen suicide due to bullying, I was watching a television show addressing the problem. One of the core ideas raised in that program stuck with me: In order to stop bullying—in order to stop the bullies—we’ve got to teach everyone else that it’s wrong and can’t be tolerated. We’ve got to teach kids to stand up and say something when they see someone victimized, to collectively join together to say “Stop. That’s not cool.” We have to talk about it, and we have to model that behavior for children.
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. The website www.stopbullying.gov is an excellent source of information about bullying in general. Let’s keep talking about bullying.
Erika Weisensee is a writer, a parent and a native Oregonian.