Posted by Trevor Mickelson
If it wasn’t hard enough for high school students to fit in and avoid bullies at school, the Internet and various social media sites have made things a little more difficult. With very little parental control on sites like Facebook, students are finding new ways to bully their classmates.
Not only are students using new methods to bully others, but the severity of the bullying has increased as bullies are able to be more brutal in their attacks behind the mask of a computer. Even worse is that some students are creating phony pages and bullying students, while pretending to be someone else.
As a future teacher, I know there is no way to prevent students from bullying each other. I can try to prevent it in the classroom and hallways, but it is very unsettling knowing the lengths to which some students will go to ostracize a peer.
Now the question is what can be done to limit such bullying. As much as kids would protest, maybe it is time for parents to start creating their own accounts in order to monitor what their kids are doing online. Or maybe schools should intervene to prevent bullying between its students. What about the responsibility of the sites?
Recently my mom made the journey into the world of Facebook. Although I wasn’t fond of the idea, and still cringe every time I receive notice that she has commented on a photo, her presence does make me more aware of what is on my profile and in my photos. It makes you wonder if high school kids would think twice about bullying students if their own parents had profiles and were monitoring what was being said.
As for the schools, I’m not sure that there is anything they could or would do that would prevent students from bullying on social media sites. The article from the New York Times points out that many concerned parents have looked to the schools for help, only to be turned down. The school’s reason is that they don’t have the authority to get involved in these issues online.
The article also mentioned that some parents were looking to the sites for help in determining the author of phony pages set up to bully students. While this can be helpful, it can take a long time to figure out the culprit.
So the question remains, what is the best way to prevent cyberbullying? Should the responsibility be in the hands of the parents? The schools? Or maybe the social media sites should take responsibility?