Bullying can be public -- or fly completely under the radar
Tragic stories about cyberbullying seem to be a daily news staple in today's world. But while cyberbullying can devastate kids and families, news stories often focus on the worst cases. What's missing is a full picture of the cyberbullying environment.
Unlike a playground brawl in which a bully targets one victim, cyberbullying is often a group undertaking, with an entire network of kids participating. Kids play different roles -- bullies, victims, bystanders, and "upstanders" (the kids who stick up for the victims) -- at different times.
This means that broad-stroke solutions to cyberbullying -- like telling your kids to get off Facebook or making them give up their cell phones -- won't work. Online communication tools are part of the fabric of kids' lives. It also means that families might need to accept that even if their kid is being victimized, he or she may not always have acted saintly online.
Identifying the different roles in a cyberbulling ecosystem can help your kid cultivate an online culture of respect and responsibility. Our tips can help prevent, protect, and deal with cyberbullying, regardless of the role your child has played. (Find more cyberbullying tips for all ages.)
Article by Caroline Knorr. Published 4/28/2011 and available at:
Tip Sheet for Parents: