By Franklin Cook, SPNAC Editor
The topic of cyber-bulling and suicide deserves thoughtful consideration, and I would like to contribute to the dialogue by pointing to a few resources for the general reader that I have found to be informative:
- Because it is important to understand that cyber-bullying is bullying, I recommend the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ site on the general topic, “Stop Bullying Now!” (which has a portal designed for kids and a special cyber-bullying section).
- One of the most comprehensive discussions of cyber-bullying on a single (very long) page is Education Week’s transcript of an Oct. 10, 2008 online discussion, in which numerous educators ask very good questions that are answered in-depth by Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin, authors of the book Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying.
- Hinduja and Patchin also founded the Cyberbullying Research Center, and I would recommend its main resource page, which contains everything from fact sheets to prevention tips as well as a parent-child Internet-use contract and a bibliography of scholarly articles on the topic.
- The presentation “Demystifying and Deescalating Cyber Bullying in the Schools” is truly an everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know resource in about 30 slides, by Barbara Trolley, Constance Hanel and Linda Shields, authors of a resource guide with the same title.
- Finally, for practical advice, try the “Stop Cyberbullying” website, where there is solid information on every aspect of cyber-bullying, organized by the folks at Wired Safety, which claims to be “the world’s largest Internet safety, help and education resource.” Of special note is the self-help tool designed for young people who need guidance if they are being cyber-bullied.
I offer the above list of resources in part because I am hesitant about posting very much direct news coverage of cyber-bullying — especially of particular cases that are reported in the media — even as there have been numerous news reports connecting suicide fatalities to cyberbullying over the past several years. SPNAC’s coverage of the issue began when a connection between Megan Meier’s suicide and her online harrassment by an adult became international news. At that time, I took a decidedly reserved approach, which resulted in only a few posts (and I think they contain a number of hyperlinks pointing to very good resources on basic information about cyber-bullying that add to the list above).
My initial posts on the topic focused on the court’s conclusions in the Meiers case,
- “Verdict Shows Parents, Internet Should Both Protect Kids” at http://tinyurl.com/ProtectChildren and
- “Judge Overturns Verdict in Cyber-Harrassment Case” at http://tinyurl.com/OverturnsVerdict, in which I tried to distinguish between cyberbullying (child-to-child behavior) and cyber-harrassment (involving an adult perpetrator).
I also hoped to provide some helpful information about cyberbullying in
- “Cyberlaws Are Coming into Play around Internet Safety” at http://tinyurl.com/NetSafetyLaws;
covered the story of a suicide survivor turned advocate in
- “Father Crusades against Cyberbullying after Son’s Suicide” at http://tinyurl.com/FatherCrusades; and
attempted to be ironic with a headline based on an “expert’s” quote in
- “Cyberbullying not epidemic … not killing our children” at http://tinyurl.com/CyberbullyingNot.
[The abridged URL for this post is http://tinyurl.com/ThinkCarefully .]