You're my best friend...
Gonna write you a letter...

School's out completely...

As a result of my wife taking classes to become a teacher, I have been exposed to the world of educators, albeit at a much less involved level. However, the current topic Katie is researching has me interested. She's been looking into "cyberbullying" and the epidemic it has become in recent years.

No, my interest does not stem from a desire to participate, but mostly because I work in the Web world and use a lot of the tools that these cyberbullies use, just more for their desired purpose (communication).

But this shit is scary. According to one article she read, 25% or more of kids report at least one instance of cyberbullying against them in a two-month period??? That may not sound like much, but when you consider this is an average and that there are some that are clearly reporting a higher rate of abuse, that's just not right. And, due to the anonymous nature of the Web, it could be anyone at any time.

What the hell happened to just pushing someone on the playground? At least then you know who it is and, in many cases, can see it coming.

I don't know how well I'd fare as a kid in today's world.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Does anyone else think that the Federal Communications Commission, in much the same way that people argue against the United Nations, is desperately grasping at straws to remain relevant these days? If the news I read this morning on IMDb is any indication, I'd say yes. They're apparently considering fining ABC more than a million dollars for a full female butt exposure that happened on the show NYPD Blue.

Give it a second and it'll click...

Yeah, that NYPD Blue. The one that went off the air nearly three seasons ago. In fact, the episode in question aired in 2003... almost five years ago.

And it took the FCC this long to figure out they needed to go after them? What's next? Are we going to see them revive the Janet/Justin wardrobe malfunction and slap some additional fines on that?

Comments

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Kyra

Maybe it was an unattractive butt? ;)

Cyberbullying - scares the CRAP out of me for my kids. It's happening all over the place, and it's unbelievable. Kids are incredibly cruel, but worse than that - sometimes the parents get into it too. I think the internet is so annonymous that people just lose their minds.

kilax

Are you talking about bullying on myspace, and facebook, etc.? (just for clarification :) )

I have been thinking about that a lot lately too. A kid got suspended from New Trier in Wilmette because he harassed someone on Facebook. And we all know about the girl who killed herself...

I agree with Kyra. People feel like they can be anonymous and get away with anything! I am interested to hear what Katie is learning about it... how to prevent it, how to counsel for it?

sizzle

i was just talking about how the internet has added a new level of cruelty to being a kid these days. my coworker told me about a girl who committed suicide after a former friend of hers created a fake my space account pretending to be a boy her age. after this "boy" set her up and made nicey nice, he turned on her. it got very ugly obviously since she was so distraught over it, she ended her life. this is probably a rare case but still! it's horrible! all because her former friend was mad at her. AND the mother of the former friend HELPED her do it.

it's horrible!

Nat

I agree. It's scary as hell. Not sure what the answers are as they get older and their friends become more important. (Really sickens me that parents are getting involved.)

I know there are a number of campaigns out there, aimed at kids but I'm not sure how effective they are. You start early. Don't give out your passwords. Engage the kids in dialogue. But I really worry about sending him online to do anything. You think of your kids as kind souls. Truth is some are mean mother-fuckers.

We talk about childhood being the best time of our lives. I think that's not true. In many ways, childhood is hell.

I loved this blog entry by Rick Mercer (he has a TV show on CBC... )

Editor's Note: link activated

Elaine

There's no way I would be tough enough to handle "cyberbullying." Call me a wimpy but kids today have even more to deal with than we did. The annonymity that the Internet provides basically means kids feel entitled to say whatever they want no matter how cruel without any serious reprecusions.

Nilsa S.

Ummm, yeah. Cell phones. Email accounts. Facebook. And MySpace. I can't imagine having any of it as a kid. Then again, I was also the only kid on the block without cable and a gaming system, which only further proves my point!

Bec

I would be hopeless as a kid these days. I wouldn't have a clue what I was supposed to do/wear/say to not get the snot kicked out of me.

Cyberbullying is so frightening - more so because many of those in authority don't seem to understand that it is as horrifying as someone taking your lunch money day after day. In fact it's even more so because we all open ourselves upon the internet, leaving ourselves vulnerable - kids are the same.

As I read the NYPD bit I got excited thinking they had brought it back... sigh...

metalmom

Babygirl is 16 and we discuss this alot. Her friends all seem to know someone whose brother's bestfriend's cousin was cyberbullied.

Thank God they don't stop talking when I walk into the room.(And sometimes I'm allowed to voice an opinion) I think I'm better informed than a lot of their own parents!

kapgar

Kyra, I am curious whose butt it was. Those parents need to be taught a hard lesson.

kilax, all of the above and then some. Text messages, message boards, chatrooms, polls, even basic HTML Web sites. It's everywhere.

sizzle, I can't believe the mother helped. Is she being held legally liable like parents who buy alcohol for their kids and friends?

Nat, it's hard to know how effective they are, but better to get that information out there than to not.

Elaine, oh they have a TON more to deal with. Hence why I don't think I could handle it.

Nilsa, it's scary how much is out there, isn't it?

Bec, I got the snot kicked out of me in grade school anyway. I got pretty used to it. ;-)

metalmom, that's pretty cool and I'm sure it makes you feel better knowing what's going on.

Lisa

Oh the pushing on the playgrounds still happens. We've been dealing with it for the past few months. The cyberbullying... all I gotta say is where the hell are the parents?

Michelle

Not being much of a regular (as in not-baseball or movies) tv type o' gal isn't NYPD the one where they had the big stink about Sipowitzs' nekkid rear end as well? In the shower? Right show, yes?

kapgar

Lisa, oh I know it still happens on playgrounds. But no one focuses on that anymore. You hear more about cyberbullying than anything.

Michelle, that would be the correct show! I don't remember any fines over that. Well, maybe there were, but not four or five years after the fact!

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