iPhones, iPads, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, you name it and most likely those in high schools and middle schools across the country have them on a device within five feet. The benefits of these technologies are substantial and are now used throughout curriculum in virtually every school district.
But what happens when students are bullied with these devices given to the bullies from school?
This generation of teenagers has used the Internet as a tool for their bullying. According to BullyStatistics.com, 1 out of 3 people between the ages of 10-16 have experienced cyber bullying. Often times many of those bullied online do not tell their parents about the situation.
The effects are also heartbreaking. Suicide is the third leading cause of death amongst the youth, resulting in about 4,400 deaths a year, according to the Center for Disease Control. Now not all of these deaths can be blamed solely on cyberbullying, but the statistics have increased as the percentage of students that have been cyberbullied has increased.
How do we fix this problem though?
Many schools have taken the initiative and implemented programs such as Rachel’s Choice and Bully Beware. Many schools realize how serious of an issue this is and taken actions to try to decrease suicide statistics.
Parents also need to be accountable for their children’s actions. Aside from the fundamental issues of teaching your kids core ideals, such as to be kind and conscious of other people’s thoughts and feelings, parents need to regulate what all their children do online.
My favourite quote from the movie “The Social Network” is that “the Internet is written in pen, not pencil”, and this can be directly related to this issue. Words can not be taken back once they are put online. Even if one deletes a post, it has already been on multiple servers for that site.
Schools can only do so much for their students so it is ultimately up to the parents to regulate what content they put online. For instance, half my family follows me on major social media outlets so I would never post inappropriate content purely so I do not get phone calls from them about it later (not saying that I would ever bully someone).
With parents becoming more active in regulating their children’s content as well as teaching them about how to be good to one another is how the suicide statistic can decrease.