For the past year I’ve been reading…a lot. Though I’ve been studying the effects of the cyber world on our children’s development and lives, I find myself drawn mainly drawn to the topic of cyber-bullying. I can’t stop staring at the research that shows its tremendous ability to fan the flames of real life bullying like the Santa Anna winds have fanned Southern California into an inferno.
I now know a few things.
We need to get kids out of harms way. We need to treat the wounded. We need to put out the fires that motivate the huge number of kids…many of them really nice and good kids…our kids…that have gotten into cyber-bullying. And we need to stop the top-dog bullies in their tracks.
I know that schools were plenty busy helping us raise our children before the tsunami of cyber bullying. I know they don’t have anywhere near the time or staff to deal with the 20 – 40 cyber-bullying incidents that come to campus each day.
I know that cyber-bullying is consuming the sense of safety and community in many schools.
I know that even though anger and blame are natural responses to bullying, because we are biologically built to protect victims, they often add more fuel to bullying…and divide the one thing that can help…community.
Parents can’t stop this…schools can’t stop this…police can’t stop this…mental health systems can’t stop this…nope….but WE…together…can stop this. WE….
There is good research about the powerful impact of communities that not only commit to stopping bullying…but commit to creating a community that values kindness, health, inclusion, fun, prosperity and celebration.
This cyber-tsunami has hit. Our kids are suffering. We can do something.
About the Author
Elizabeth Clark has been a mental health therapist for teens and families for thirty years. She is a presenter for CyberStrong, a collaborative community effort, funded by the Western Colorado Community Foundation, to raise awareness and give skills to parents and educators about the influence of technology on our children, families and community.