Sunday, December 5, 2010

NY Times Cyberbullying Article

Picture of notebook screen with Facebook and F...Image via WikipediaInteresting article on how parents are learning how to deal with cyberbullying.

"Ninth grade was supposed to be a fresh start for Marie’s son: new school, new children. Yet by last October, he had become withdrawn. Marie prodded. And prodded again. Finally, he told her.
'The kids say I’m saying all these nasty things about them on Facebook,' he said. 'They don’t believe me when I tell them I’m not on Facebook.
But apparently, he was.
Marie, a medical technologist and single mother who lives in Newburyport, Mass., searched Facebook. There she found what seemed to be her son’s page: his name, a photo of him grinning while running — and, on his public wall, sneering comments about teenagers he scarcely knew.
Someone had forged his identity online and was bullying others in his name.
Students began to shun him. Furious and frightened, Marie contacted school officials. After expressing their concern, they told her they could do nothing. It was an off-campus matter."

One certainly has to feel for parents of kids who are suffering from these kinds of attacks, especially since many of the attackers' parents either don't care or are in denial about what their kids are doing and how they are affecting others with their stupid "kid" brutality. In some cases, even if the parents know exactly what their kids are doing, they dismiss criticism of their child as an invasion of privacy or denial their freedom to do exactly whatever they want.
In such cases, until parents take their responsibility to parent seriously, it's very hard to see how schools and other social institutions can prevent such attacks. As the article concludes:

"Overburdened school administrators and, increasingly, police officers who unravel juvenile cybercrimes, say it is almost impossible for them to monitor regulations imposed on teenagers.
As with the boys who impersonated D.C. online, a district attorney’s spokeswoman said, 'That monitoring is up to the parents.'"

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