Rina Risper, President & Publisher of The New Citizens Press
Bullying has reached a new low with cyberbullying. This term refers to any bullying done through the internet or a cell phone.
Both adults and children that I know have been victims of vicious rumors that have spread quickly through email, text messages and social media. There are some social media sites that are worse than others like, Snapchat.
If I would have known what I do now, I would not have let my children getsocial media pages. It is more complicated now than ever to keep your children safe but there are things that you can teach them. Actually, learning techniques to reclaim power can be good for adults too.
If you are being harassed, please do not respond in writing. With some bullies that just makes them respond with more hate. Do not encourage communication. Communication could become more fuel for the fire.
After the first signs of any bullying, tell your child that if they are being treated with disrespect to let you know. I had a child that was being bullied online by two individuals because the friendship was one sided. It was kept from me for a while. My child decided that it was no longer necessary to be in the relationship. Their response was to bully by name calling and constantly calling.
When I found out, I took the phone and texted the other children back and advised them that I was going to tell their parents. Some children are not even smart enough to disguise themselves. If they do disguise themselves, it will be under the name of someone else they know. In my situation, I just contacted both parents and it stopped.
If the harassment does not stop, contact the school in writing or go to the police.
Make sure that you are keeping good records and copies of all of the harassing behavior. It will help when the police asks you what proof do you have.
Adults also cyberbully others but creating fake profiles, contacting your contacts or taking your photos and editing them in despicable ways. Some bullies even go so far as to start bullying your children and your family members just because they want control.
It is easy to hide behind a fake profile. It is easy to steal someone’s photos and make up a life. I personally believe that people who engage in this type of behaviors have a low self esteem. Some use power to hurt others. It creates a sense of unknown fear in the victims as well. It may also be jealousy or that person may just be miserable because of their own circumstances.
Whatever the case may be, we can beat cyberbullying by not being a bystander. Even if you are a relative and you see this behavior, do not just “like” the post or keep feeding into the negativity. Do not minimize it as “kidding around” or “just playing”. Things have changed now and hurtful abusive behavior can be considered as illegal.
If you just took away your child’s phone and monitored computer time that would be helpful. What keeps my children in line is the “flip phone” threat. TAKE ACTION WITHOUT USING A PHYSICAL REACTION.
Adults, we can do better. Do not feed into ANY bullying. Contact the social media page. Many of them have measures in place to deal with disparaging posts or attacks by trolls.
This is about self-respect as well. Stay off social media for a while. Do things that would be helpful to your self-esteem, like get a massage, go to the movies or just have a night out with friends. Having supportive people around you also makes you feel safer.
Bullying of all forms is UNACCEPTABLE. Your intentions to tease someone else may be bullying depending on the way the victim perceives it. If you do not like a person or find something that you believe is not pleasing about them, walk away. Bullying is damaging to both the victim and the bully.
So please be mindful of your behavior and your children’s behavior. Bullying is not an attractive trait. If we all took a moment to do something conducive, like loving each other enough to be helpful, including not getting involved in negative activity, the world would be a better place.
P.S. Monday, April 10 at 6 PM - 8:30 PM at 124 W Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI
6:00 pm - Dinner
7:00 pm - City Council
Family and friends of murder and crime victims. This event is free. Must RSVP at 517.372.8466.
Printed in the March 5, 2017 - March 18, 2017 edition.