Culture

THE NEW WAY TO LOOK AT EDUCATION

Dealing with Parents of a Cyber-bully

CJ Westerberg, December 6, 2010 5:27 PM

internet.bullying.parents.jpg


"Parents who present the other parents
with a printout of their child's most repugnant moments
should be prepared for minimization, even denial."

Why Schools Must Be Involved

by C.J. Westerberg

The #1 most popular The NY Times article this weekend, As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-up,  weighs in on bullying and the role of parents - whether to monitor and if so, how, and so forth.  A recommended read. 

More than just yet another bullying article - the stories shared are not one-off sensations nor are they examples of over-coddled kids being protected by helicopter parents, recently expressed in a recent hype headline, that does more harm than good for our kids, by making parents back question their own ability where to draw the line between what is teasing and what is harmful bullying.

Sure, let's NOT have parents intervene when a nine-year-old group gang up and call another child a slut or start a "campaign" against her or him?   Excerpts from NYT:

Desperate to protect their children, parents are floundering even as they scramble to catch up with the technological sophistication of the next generation.

Like Marie, many parents turn to schools, only to be rebuffed because officials think they do not have the authority to intercede. Others may call the police, who set high bars to investigate. Contacting Web site administrators or Internet service providers can be a daunting, protracted process.

When parents know the aggressor, some may contact that child's parent, stumbling through an evolving etiquette in the landscape of social awkwardness. Going forward, they struggle with when and how to supervise their adolescents' forays on the Internet.

I've heard from parents who had to deal with a school principal or counselor who wanted nothing to do with any "cyber" incident since it was not a physical act on the school playground
or during school time.  Or, worse yet, who wanted to turn the tables on the one being bullied as the "odd one". 

Or, who had to deal with the parents of the bully who barely address the issue and
use avoidance (or denial) as their modus operandi.  More excerpts:

Contacting the Other Parent

After Marie learned the identities of her son's cyberbullies, she did not call their parents. She was so incensed that she communicated only through official go-betweens, like the police and prosecutors.

But some parents prefer to resolve the issue privately, by contacting the bully's family. Psychologists do not recommend that approach with schoolyard bullying, because it can devolve into conflicting narratives. With cyberbullying, a parent's proof of baldly searing digital exchanges can reframe that difficult conversation.

Parents who present the other parents with a printout of their child's most repugnant moments should be prepared for minimization, even denial.


Folks, this is not going away until parents and schools stop denying the urgency of this situation: 

Parental Fears

One afternoon last spring, Parry Aftab, a lawyer and expert on cyberbullying, addressed seventh graders at George Washington Middle School in Ridgewood, N.J.

"How many of you have ever been cyberbullied?" she asked.

The hands crept up, first a scattering, then a thicket. Of 150 students, 68 raised their hands. They came forward to offer rough tales from social networking sites, instant messaging and texting. Ms. Aftab stopped them at the 20th example.

Then she asked: How many of your parents know how to help you?

A scant three or four hands went up.

Orig. posted December 2010


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