Online Bullying Not Just for Kids
The effects of cyberbullying on children and teens has been discussed at length in this blog. SafetyNet® is partnered with school districts, non-profits, businesses, government, and teens who are working to eliminate bullying in all forms and reduce the negative impact bullying has had on more than 30% of kids (SafetyNet®, 2011).
In researching online bullying, I was surprised to discover that more adults report being harassed online than kids. The staggering number is a full 40% of adults report being hassled online and 73% of adults report knowing someone who has been harassed on the internet (Pew Internet, 2014). The study further breaks down the type of harassment adults have experienced online:
60% have been called names.
53% have been embarrassed.
25% have been physically threatened.
19% have been sexually harassed.
18% have been stalked.
Collectively we must work together to change the way we treat each other.
Schools can create reading curricula for elementary aged children that includes stories that encourage friendship and support. Teaching middle school kids to recognize their feelings and giving them the tools to manage their emotions is a great strategy for older kids. I taught the Resolving Conflicts Creatively Program to middle schoolers and found that many kids need to be taught positive ways of managing anger and disappointment. Introducing high school kids to Thoreau, Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King Jr. gives them role models to look up to and emulate.
Changing human behavior is not easy but it is possible when we work together. This New Year, I hope you will join me in seeking understanding, expressing kindness, and practicing compassion.
Darlene Kanzler, MA, is the Director of the San Diego Police Foundation's SafetyNet(R): Smart Cyber Choices program. Since 2010, she has educated more than 100,000 parents, teachers, and community members in San Diego County about the benefits of safe and sane internet practices for children.