This week we are discussing cyber bullying and Internet safety in class. Recent Illinois law helps protect citizens against cyber bullying and electronic harassment. See a listing of state laws here.
Although this issue has been a growing problem since the advent of instant messaging and text messaging, I believe the event that brought this issue to the forefront is the harassment and suicide of a Missouri teen in 2006. School and law enforcement personnel has known and dealt with this issue for many years, but this national news story has helped make parents and students more aware of the seriousness of electronic harassment.
Mobile technology has made cyber-bullying even more prevalent today. Although this behavior happens online and at home, its effects spill into schools and school administrators find themselves dealing with issues that happen outside of school walls. School resource officers are spending more and more time tracking down cyber-bullies and need to be proficient in dealing with these cyber issues.
While statistics vary from study to study, one thing is clear….if your child/student is actively online, there is an ever-increasing chance that they will experience or witness cyberbullying in some format. The key is preparing them with the right tools to handle this inevitable situation.