bullying


In general, I have really strong opinions about things. But I am not sure how I feel about the reports of online bullying of kids. On the one hand, kids need to be protected from sexual abuse and all that kind of stuff. On the other hand, is the online world better or worse than the regular world?

Here is what CNN is saying:

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) — As many as one in three U.S. children have been ridiculed or threatened through computer messages, according to one estimate of the emerging problem of cyberbullying.

 

art.child.computer.jpg

 

The frequency and severity of online aggression experienced by young people is the topic of new research.

Another new study found the problem is less common, with one in 10 kids reporting online harassment.

But health experts said even the lower estimate signals a growing and concerning public health issue.

“I wouldn’t consider something that 10 percent of kids report as low,” said Janis Wolak, a University of New Hampshire researcher and co-author of the second study.

Wolak and other researchers, though, found that in many cases the incidents of online harassment were relatively mild.

What they don’t say is how young the “kids” are and how bad the harassment is. Are they being harassed by kids or adults? Did anyone teach them how to reply or don’t reply? I’ve had a few really pesky obnoxious boys send me way too many IM’s or weird messages, but I just blocked them on my IM and my email.

Compare that 10% to this:

The schoolyard continues to be a source of in-person bullying: Studies indicate roughly 17 percent of early adolescents say they are victims of recurring verbal aggression or physical harassment.

One adult sent me two pictures of sexy ladies with blood all over them, through my facebook page. That was creepy and I blocked him, reported him, and told other people to stay away from him. That was at 15. I probably would have been more freaked out at 12 or 13, but that’s probably why I wasn’t allowed to get a facebook account until high school.

Sometimes online bullying can be very serious, like the case of the thirteen year old who was deceived by an adult and fell in love with a non-existent cute boy.

Last week, officials in a Missouri town made Internet harassment a misdemeanor, after public outrage over the suicide of a 13-year-old resident last year.

The parents of Megan Meier claim their daughter, who had been treated for depression, committed suicide after a teenage boy who flirted with her on MySpace abruptly ended their friendship, telling her he heard she was cruel. The story gained national prominence this month when it was revealed the boy never existed — it was a prank allegedly started by a mother in the girl’s neighborhood.

This was a HORRIBLE story, but the biggest problem is that the “prank” was done by an adult. A really immature and mean adult!

I think that the difference, at least for me, is whether the person doing the harassing is a kid or an adult. I know how to answer back, ignore or even punch kids who are mean or who tease. Online, I have “ignore” buttons and know how to block emails. But it’s much harder for me to be rude to an adult. I think that’s true for most kids and teens. and it is probably the reason that kids can be victims to molesters.

(Big Brother STOP reading. The rest if this is private. )

When I first started wanting to surf the internet, my brother gave me a limited account and he checked the sites I went to, the people on my buddy list, and even said he had the right to read my emails. I don’t use my last name online and don’t use my real photo. I was not allowed to do facebook or myspace until 9th grade.

I became politically active online in 8th grade and met adults from all over the world. My brother got extremely involved in my buddy lists and my emails, and I resented it, but I also know he was protecting me.

I complain a lot that I live with Big Brother from 1984, but when I read news stories about kids who were so deceived that they killed themselves, I am glad that my brother protected me from a lot of the internet hate, and in a few years I’ll probably be glad that my google and yahoo searches are restricted.

I am terrible at writing conclusions to essays. I have nothing to conclude here. Maybe just this. Kids can usually work out kid stuff with other kids, but I think it is OK for adults to restrict kids on the internet since you never know if the person on the other end of your chat is another kid or an adult impersonating a kid. And …. nobody should bully. If you are bullying or being mean, it is time to see a counselor and learn to be nice to other people.

I guess that was two conclusions. Oh well.

I have heard a lot of liberal and progressive adults say that is is indecent and wrong to criticize 12-year-old boys. I disagree. There are a lot of reasons why you might criticize 12 year-old boys. Some of them don’t shower often enough and they have terrible table manners and their sense of humor can be really gross. In fact, GROSS is one of the nicest things you can say about them. But they are not cowards and nobody should criticize them for needing health care, for not being poor enough for medicaid, or for not saying their own opinions. Adults should not bully children.

Graeme Frost is a kid with a lot of courage and I hope he shows the Fox Noise creeps that he is not a tool for the democrats. (Graeme, brush your teeth, take a shower WITH soap, don’t eat spaghetti tomorrow, and you will be fine.) Watch Graeme on MSNBC Monday night.

Swiftboating 12 year old Graeme Frost; Frost on Countdown Monday

Graeme Frost two weeks ago gave the Democrat’s response to the President’s radio address. You will remember that his family is middle class, and he had public health insurance that saved his family from financial ruin after he and his sister were grievously injured in a car wreck, both needing physical therapy. But, the Neo-con attack dogs immediately and shamelessly Swiftboated him. I cannot say it better than Paul Krugman did in Sliming Graeme Frost in the NY Times. Countdown has video here.

On Monday evening, Master Frost will be on Countdown.

More… Yesterday, I had a flashback to the film (yes, before video) of the Army-McCarthy hearings with the now legendary Joseph Welch, the Army’s private counsel from Boston, taking on the bombastic Sen. Joseph McCarthy. I pondered that analogy over night. I don’t have to see the film again, because it is burned into my memory.

We have all seen that piece, as quoted on Wikipedia:

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never gauged your cruelty or your recklessness[…]” When McCarthy resumed his attack, Welch interrupted him: “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” He then left the room to loud applause from the spectators, and a recess was called.

The full transcript is on History Matters.

American Neo-cons are so invested in perpetuating frauds on the American people in the name of Republican-politics-as-usual that they cannot admit that one person with a contrary view might have a point. To quote one legendary Neo-con:

As soon as by one’s own propaganda even a glimpse of right on the other side is admitted, the cause for doubting one’s own right is laid.

(Hint: It is not Ronald Reagan.)

Now, they have stooped so low as to attack a 12 year old boy, too, and that is as utterly and gutterly low as they can get.

For those who would attack a 12 year old boy, “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Ah, but that’s the rub: For a Neo-con to have a “sense of decency” is an absolute contradiction.

Watch this 12 year old boy call out the Neo-cons tomorrow night on Countdown.

It’s very hard to stand up to a bully on your own. Bullies can be very intimidating, which is why bullying works until someone stops the bully. This is a wonderful account of how some high school kids in Canada reacted to a bully in their school, and how they worked as a group to show that the bully’s opinion was meaningless.

 

students in pink shirts

‘I’ve stood around too long’
Central Kings students wear pink to send bullies a message
By IAN FAIRCLOUGH Valley Bureau | 3:51 PM

CAMBRIDGE — Two students at Central Kings Rural High School fought back against bullying recently, unleashing a sea of pink after a new student was harassed and threatened when he showed up wearing a pink shirt.

The Grade 9 student arrived for the first day of school last Wednesday and was set upon by a group of six to 10 older students who mocked him, called him a homosexual for wearing pink and threatened to beat him up.

The next day, Grade 12 students David Shepherd and Travis Price decided something had to be done about bullying.

RELATED: Pink shirts legend grows

“It’s my last year. I’ve stood around too long and I wanted to do something,” said David.

They used the Internet to encourage people to wear pink and bought 75 pink tank tops for male students to wear. They handed out the shirts in the lobby before class last Friday — even the bullied student had one.

“I made sure there was a shirt for him,” David said.

They also brought a pink basketball to school as well as pink material for headbands and arm bands. David and Travis figure about half the school’s 830 students wore pink.

It was hard to miss the mass of students in pink milling about in the lobby, especially for the group that had harassed the new Grade 9 student.

“The bullies got angry,” said Travis. “One guy was throwing chairs (in the cafeteria). We’re glad we got the response we wanted.”

David said one of the bullies angrily asked him whether he knew pink on a male was a symbol of homosexuality.

He told the bully that didn’t matter to him and shouldn’t to anyone.

“Something like the colour of your shirt or pants, that’s ridiculous,” he said.

“Our intention was to stand up for this kid so he doesn’t get picked on.”

Travis said the bullies “keep giving us dirty looks, but we know we have the support of the whole student body.

“Kids don’t need this in their lives, worrying about what to wear to school. That should be the last thing on their minds.”

When the bullied student put on his pink shirt Friday and saw all the other pink in the lobby, “he was all smiles. It was like a big weight had been lifted off is shoulder,” David said. No one at the school would reveal the student’s name.

Travis said that growing up, he was often picked on for wearing store-brand clothes instead of designer duds.

The two friends said they didn’t take the action looking for publicity, but rather to show leadership in combating what they say is frequent bullying in schools.

( ifairclough@herald.ca)