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cyberbully

minecraftv.tr.  To intimidate or humiliate (someone) persistently by means of the Internet, text messaging, or another form of electronic communication.

v.intr.  To engage in such intimidation or humiliation.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us” plays on the earbuds as I type.  This song rocks and let’s me organize my jumbled thoughts.  Rare that I post twice in one day but this needs to be said.
At 3:38 PM the cell phone rang as I sat at my desk.  It was one of my favorite teachers at my children’s elementary school and I absently wondered why she would be calling.  I sensed the hesitancy in her voice and sat upright in my chair, my gaze focusing ahead and away from the QuickBooks on my screen. 
The words cyberbullying rang in my brain as I quickly jotted notes and tersely asked questions.  Could I look on the computer to see if I could find any evidence? 
My mind quickly ran through a series of sequences of how I could determine this; the computer in question, my husband’s, at home.  I was at work.  As I heard her nervously continue to plunder through her spiel I felt a bit sorry for her.  We have a longstanding history and I listened intently to her tone to see if she believed the claim against my son.   I sensed her cautious and questioning query and quickly dialed my home phone number; explaining to her that my children would pick up and I would place them on speakerphone so she could hear the response to the claim.
Upon answering the phone the son in question sounded surprised.  I did not explain to him that his teacher was on my cell phone and she could hear his response as I asked if he contacted a classmate on various social media, particularly YouTube.  I know my children enjoy listening to Minecraft video parodies and wondered if he chose to cyberbully a  female classmate.  And, true to children, all my sons answered in unison loud and clear.
No way.  Emphatic No.  
I continued to question and finally revealed the accusations against him.  I vowed to the teacher to look through the computer history (something my husband does most nights after his computer is used).  My older son knows how to circumvent his father’s safeguards and has computer skills like his father.  When I explained the situation to the hubs he immediately had me call the school back and asked to speak to the teacher.  And this is what saved my son from a false claim.  He asked the teacher to ask the student, claiming that she was being cyberbullied, to determine the name posting the inappropriate remarks.  She says it is his; our son’s name.
Our children all use fictitious names online.  It is the one caveat that allows them to peruse the Internet.
The Internet and technology pose a whole new set of issues for our children.  At the middle school sex-ting is constantly being monitored and inappropriate videos are being posted to YouTube.   The kids on Instagram snap photos which create drama and they accept followers; most whom they do not even know.  The game is about numbers; the more followers, Facebook friends, and contacts you have,  the more popular you are.  Narcissism.  It’s all about them.
When our eldest was in third grade he had created a gmail account without our knowledge.  We began to receive mail in his name and were astounded that he had the ability to input all of this information at age 8.  That was four years ago and the boys have since been taught to NEVER PUT YOUR NAME OR INFORMATION ONLINE.  EVER.  Their avatars are not in their likeness for fear that a child stalker is lurking amongst the bytes and broadband widths; lying in wait for the next unsuspecting youth to exploit.   My children cannot download anything without passwords; whether on personal computers, iTouchs or cell phone.  When they figure out our passwords; they are immediately changed.
We easily can keep our children off of all technology.  They will learn, all too quickly. to circumvent our safeguards.  It is our responsibility, as parents, to guide our children to use technology wisely and safely.    It is here to stay.  When my husband relayed the above information to the teacher he sensed her acceptance of the simple truth to his words.  We cannot turn a blind eye to the evils that lurk out there; tempting our children.  Stay vigilant, always.
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