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Friday, October 31, 2014
The Bully Lady
We need to fight cyberbullying
By Maureen T. Florio
Maureen T. Florio

No child should be sad at school.

I’ve spent the last few months speaking to elementary and middle school principals in Nassau County. The reason for this was to listen to their concerns regarding all aspects of bullying. From the feedback and information obtained from them, I decided the direction to go with this information.

We will center on personal responsibility for all students  — whether they are in kindergarten or eighth grade in middle school. This is the perfect time of the year to do this, as we’ve had nearly three months of practice keeping our “New Year’s resolutions” and beginning the new school term for this school year.

As the principals voiced their concerns (note I spoke with new principals whom I had never met before), they centered very much on cyberbullying and what the future of this might be. I had the opportunity to explain to them that cyberbullying doesn’t come out of nowhere. These students have had issues with each other before they sat down in front of the computer or picked up a cell phone. 

Bullying through electronics (as we call it cyberbullying) extends in many directions, some in breach of laws now in place. Will it end? No. The world of electronics changes rapidly, and so does the “ideas” our children come up with to bully each other.

In most cases, personal responsibility is lacking. Many children don’t think about the consequences of their actions. Thereby, the far-reaching effects of hurting other children by their words now put into writing has no meaning to them. It was noted that the age of the children is lower each school year as they become more proficient in using electronics.

What should we do? This is the big question. There is a famous saying, “If you don’t train them, don’t blame them.” Simply put, convincing our children that once something has entered cyberspace, it is there forever is very difficult. Most of them don’t believe this, even though many schools have the local police departments in to speak with their students. 

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