Posts Tagged ‘Tony Jurich’

Cyberbullying: What Parents Need to Know

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

The whole idea of cyberbullying makes me crazy. Bullies aren't just relying on the threat of a bloody nose after school these days. (As if that wasn't bad enough.) Now they've emerged in cyberspace, able to steal a kid’s pride and confidence instead of his lunch money.

What exactly is cyberbullying? "It consists of a person who uses the anonymity of the Internet to ridicule, make fun of or put down another person on an Internet conversation site, such as a chat room, a bulletin board, MySpace or Facebook," says Tony Jurich, a professor of family studies and human services at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

At the heart of any bully is actually a coward who uses his or her advantage to humiliate, demean or embarrass, says Jurich. Instead of working on their own issues, bullies pick on others to feel better about themselves. The difference is the cyberbully gets more coverage and a wider exposure. One catty remark can hit thousands of people in a very short amount of time, he explains.

It takes courage to stand up to this kind of bullying. But cyberbullying must be addressed at home, in school and throughout society as a whole. And here's the take-home point on this whole thing, according to Jurich: Students should be smart about what they reveal. The less information that a child or teen puts out on the Internet, the safer they will most likely be. But even that is no guarantee. Even if kids turn off their computers, they can still be victimized by cyberbullies who use the Internet to ridicule them for something that happened at school.

It’s important that children know the steps to take if they are a victim of cyberbullying. Encourage them to talk with you if they feel they have been bullied online. Communicate the importance of printing a hard copy of an insulting remark. And be sure to alert other parents, teachers or even the police if necessary.