This is an epilogue to my article written about bullying in the Cambridge Times.
Ah the wonderful world of the Internet, the place where emails, texting, and Facebook allows a person to say things, to another, without having to witness the other person’s initial reaction. As parent’s, at least we are aware of who these people are, even if we cannot comprehend why they are compelled to say it virtually.
Hold on Parent’s! There is another new website that not only allows people to ask questions or say things to another, but it allows them to do it anonymously. Check out www.formspring.com , the new and improved way to bully your nemesis. I recently fell on this when my daughter posted an answer to a question on Facebook.
With Formspring, you are able to answer questions, from your friends or anonymous sources. You have the ability promote your answers via Facebook or Twitter. You also have the ability to delete the answer off Formspring and keep it on Facebook and Twitter for all of your friends to see but prevents anonymous onlookers from seeing your answers.
The emotional war of words that I have witnessed on Formspring is quite astounding. I question why our children are answering these questions about them? Is it due to their insecurities that they feel compelled to stand up for themselves? Is it bullying and they feel that if they stand up for themselves, behind the screen, their peers will perceive them differently? In any case, this new form of social networking is appalling and scary.
We’ve had an incident, with both Facebook and Formspring since this recent bullying incident, which promoted the thought of keeping the computer within viewing area until the children grow wiser to the fact that there will always be one idiot out there to completely knock the wind out of your sails. Realistically though, social networking to our children is like roller skating and a crystal ball for my generation. If you didn’t have those skates, you are completely out of the loop. Fortunately, with roller skating, any altercation took place at the snack bar, bathroom, parking lot or on the rink. Unfortunately, in today’s age, our children can hide behind a wall and say what they want to say.
How will bullying ever been stopped with the growing access to bully? It must start from the source. Parents have to instill that an unkind word is simply “unkind”, and it can harm another person’s self esteem. It starts on the day a child pulls a toy out of the hand of another in the sandbox and it must to continue until the child becomes capable of making their own decision on the definition of kindness.
The exercise that works for me when explaining bullying, to another, was for them to consider a nasty message, sent to your teen, that you perceived to be “unkind”. Then think about the repercussions in our daily life that we would face, as an adult.
In the workplace, you’d probably be written up, lose a client or be fired.
In your marriage, it could possibly be classified as emotional abuse.
With your children, Family and Children’s services wouldn’t hesitate to come knocking at your door.
So, I ask, why do our children have to sustain this abuse? Should the classification of bullying change to emotional abuse for people to finally get it?
With the family, a complete breakdown of communication with or without the exception of holidays.
Simply put, it starts with the parent’s reprimanding when harsh words are said by their child, and a harsher punishment from the school system. From what I’m seeing, it’s a joke.
I’m still grappling and my mind is focused on figuring out the answer. No child should experience the wrath and insults from known or anonymous sources. No parent should have to go through losing a child because of anonymous bullying and random text messages from a misguided disgruntled child.
If only we could teach them what Wayne Dyer promotes, which is, “Always be independent of the good opinion’s of others.” Ha, if only explaining that to a teenager was that easy.