We hear way too much about kids getting bullied at school, on the bus, and anywhere else parents aren't. October is a National Bullying Prevention Month. I wanted to take a closer look at the issue from teens' perspectives. I spoke with 3 high school students, one being my daughter, who had a lot to say.
We, as parents, typically think of bullying as in-your-face hurling hurtful words, ignoring and fighting. One teen said this isn't necessarily the case. She said, "It's definitely changed and also the thing about bullying is you could do it to each other and not know. The lines are so blurred." Her point is that as you get older the bullying is more subtle, behind your back, passive-aggressive. She's talking about online bullying.
As one teen described it, online bullying is hard to catch. He said, "Since it's online you can't really catch it. I mean you can catch it, but people can also delete comments and what they said about that one person." When it's deleted they think it's gone, but there's a cyber imprint of the bullying that leaves a mark. Another teen said, "People can screen shot it. So even if someone deletes a rude comment. Someone's going to have it."
The problem with screenshots is that you don't know who has them or how they're shared. They're a constant reminder of the hurtfulness. The collective opinion of these three teens is that anti-bullying programs don't work. Snitching on other teens isn't the solution to the problem.
Bottom line here is to make sure you're keeping an open line of communication with your kids.
Blanca Cobb is a WFMY News 2 Contributing Editor, body language expert and keynote speaker/trainer who covers nonverbal communication, psychology and behavior. Follow her @blancacobb. The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively hers.
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