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Sophia O

Stories of Cyberbullying: What do they say? - 13 views


started by Sophia O on 26 Oct 10
  • Sophia O
    Recent incidents of Cyberbullying and Bullying have once again thrusted these behaviors into national media. Seems as though every news media station these past few months have been highlighting these sad but powerful stories of cyberbullying. From NBC's Today show, to CNN's Anderson Coopers' 360, everyone is asking the same question: What do we do about this trend?

    The first thing we need to do is acknowledge that this is not a trend. Unfortunately cyber bullying like bullying will be here to stay. So what do we do? We need to listen to the stories and find the commonalities that are shared between the kids who were the targets of the harassment.

    Pheobe Prince

    In this situation we discovered a young lady in transition. Transitioning from not just one school to the next, but even more challenging, transitioning from one country to another. As we have all at some point transitioned in our life, the importance of friends and friendship is critical in the transition. As we leave the comfort and safety of our true friends, we strive to find that same comfort and safety with new friends. In this transition I can only imaging the emotional pressure Phoebe was feeling during this transition and making new friends.

    Ryan Halligan

    One of the first cases of cyber bullying to reach national news. Once again we find a young man in search of positive peer connections. Unfortunately, Ryan's story was not one that happened over a short period of time. The bullying behavior Ryan experienced was an accumulation of pressure, emotions, and harassment that he lived for many years. Once social networking and the ability to communicate via the Web became mainstream, the bullying via internet for Ryan, not only increased, but now it was viewed by anyone and everyone. The viewing audience became larger. The group dynamics in this situation became a true player in the outcome of this story.

    Megan Meir

    Probably the most well known cyberbullying case that we have experienced. This particular situation brought to light how powerful emotions become in the cyberworld. The dynamics to this situation, although a bit different than the previous, still can fall back on the power relationships have on the emotions of young kids during adolescence. Whether or not the boyfriend that cut it off with Megan was real or not, in Megan's mind the relationship was real. The lost of that relationship is what became the catalyst for Megan to end her life at too young of an age.

    Learning from these stories: What do we do?

    It is not about building up the strengths and character of the individual, it is about getting the individual connected to a peer group, so that the physical need to belong is fulfilled. Relationships in the cyberworld are a real player in the adolescent development of our kids. The question I am asking to audiences now is "has the virtual world and the real world collided and become one?" If so, then we treat cyberbullying just like we treat schoolyard bullying. Stop waiting for a software to block the behavior. Focus on building a community of kids who take care of one another! We cannot build programs that simply give a kid strategies as an individual to deal with the bullying. We have to focus on the group and building a group of kids whose purpose is for kids to take care of kids. This group needs an identity on and off campus, and there must be a process in place to get all kids connected to the group. In the situation of Phoebe Prince, the school administration could have simply got her hooked into the group, and because the group is based on Kids Taking Care of Kids, the group would have got her through her transition. Take a look at . This program has discovered how to get kids to take care of one another. PLUS focusses on the importance of membership and belonging, it sets a purpose of kids taking care of kids, includes a rite of passage into the identity to further the commitment to the purpose, and keeps the kids engaged in communication activities so that when the next Phoebe Prince, Ryan Halligan or Megan Mier go through these tough times, they have a group they feel a connection to that they can go to for help.
  • Sophia O
    What can you do to stop cyberbulling

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