Tag Archives: bullying

Cyber-bullying and kids

From the New York Times

Ninth grade was supposed to be a fresh start for Marie’s son: new school, new children. Yet by last October, he had become withdrawn. Marie prodded. And prodded again. Finally, he told her.

“The kids say I’m saying all these nasty things about them on Facebook,” he said. “They don’t believe me when I tell them I’m not on Facebook.”

But apparently, he was.

Marie, a medical technologist and single mother who lives in Newburyport, Mass., searched Facebook. There she found what seemed to be her son’s page: his name, a photo of him grinning while running — and, on his public wall, sneering comments about teenagers he scarcely knew.

Someone had forged his identity online and was bullying others in his name.

Students began to shun him. Furious and frightened, Marie contacted school officials. After expressing their concern, they told her they could do nothing. It was an off-campus matter.

But Marie was determined to find out who was making her son miserable and to get them to stop. In choosing that course, she would become a target herself. When she and her son learned who was behind the scheme, they would both feel the sharp sting of betrayal. Undeterred, she would insist that the culprits be punished.

She eventually found out who it was

Just before dinner, Marie broke the news to D.C. Two culprits were 14; one was 13. After learning the first two names, D.C. said: “Those guys have never liked me. I don’t know why.”

But the third boy had been a friend since preschool. His father was a sports coach of D.C.’s.

D.C. was silent. Then he teared up.

Finally, he said, “Do you mean to tell me, Mom, that they hate me so much that they would take the time to do this?”

The article goes on to talk about what to do if you child is the bully

Christine, the Bay Area mother whose daughter was sent links to pornography, struggled with how to supervise her daughter online. The challenge was compounded because students in the girl’s grade were playing sexualized Truth or Dare games. Her daughter had a leading role.

Christine cut off her daughter’s Internet access for months, mandating that she write schoolwork by hand. Over time, the girl earned back computer privileges. Christine also moved her to a parochial school. Then her daughter went on Facebook.

“We didn’t know much about Facebook,” said Christine, “but we set up serious monitoring.” One program limited computer time; another blocked certain sites. Christine even had her daughter’s Facebook password, so she could read the girl’s private messages.

That was how Christine discovered 82 exchanges between her daughter, a freshman, and a popular senior boy at the school. Her daughter offered him oral sex if he promised not to tell friends. The boy wrote back, “Would it be O.K. if I tell friends but not the ones at school?”

Christine’s daughter now sees a therapist. Christine herself uses a keystroke logger, software that records everything her two daughters write and see on their home computer. “It’s uncomfortable,” Christine said. “But my older daughter has demonstrated less than zero common sense. The level of trust between us is much lower than I’d like it to be. But I also think she was relieved that we caught her.

“My younger daughter calls me a stalker. She says we mistrust her because of what her sister did. That’s true. But my eyes are open, and I won’t go back.”