Parents Need to Monitor For Cyber-bullying
Amanda Cummings, 15 years old, stepped in front of a moving bus a few days after Christmas. She was found with a suicide note. Soon after, mean, ugly, disparaging comments were posted on sites like Facebook and 4chan, while she was in the hospital in a coma and after her death.
One cruel comment said: ‘Bus was cummin’ Bitch was watchin’ Oh hurry Amanda Your bus cummin.’
What kind of world do we live in? Where are the parents of these hateful, cyber-bullying, mean spirited kids. Would a child that attended a funeral ever display such wretched behavior face to face? Would a child dare say to that child’s mother or father, “I’m glad that your child is dead!” These bullies cause immeasurable pain to their victims. It’s very sad that cyber-bullies, if unchecked, grow up to be adult bullies, incapable of discerning good social behavior from bad.
You can be sure this in your face meanness would not be tolerated when parents are paying attention. Kids seem to have a different standard of behavior in the online world where they can escape behind the anonymity of a computer screen. Kids behave in this cruel way online because parents aren’t paying attention and that’s unacceptable. When parents allow a computer device in their home, it’s their responsibility to make sure their kids are using and behaving on the computer appropriately and responsibly. They need to make sure their kids are meeting the same civilized behavior standards that are expected of them in the offline world. Anonymity isn’t an excuse, it’s an act of cowardice. Kids must to be taught that if they have something to say to a person, that it should be said to the person’s face or not at all.
This was a sad, terrible tragedy. To prevent cyber-bullying from happening to someone else, parents need to continually communicate and teach their children acceptable standards of behavior. They need to teach their children that those same standards of behavior are no different in the online world. Parents need to then monitor their children’s online behavior so that they can see if their children are following acceptable behavior practices. Cyberbullying can be prevented! No parent should have to suffer the pain of losing a child to suicide in this way and then be tortured by vitriolic postings after such a devastating tragedy. I urge parents to keep your kids off of anonymous sites, like 4chan and Formspring, which are cyber-bully havens.
What Parents Can Do:
- When you give your child a new computer device, let them know that you’re going to monitor their usage to make sure they are using it safely, responsibly and appropriately.
- Take a few minutes of your day to monitor your children’s online behavior. Trust but verify that your child is behaving appropriately online. Cyber-bullying can be prevented!
- Teach your children that the same standards of behavior that are expected offline, apply online as well.
- Keep your kids off of anonymous websites like 4Chan and Formspring which enable cyber-bullying.
- Teach your kids to think about the consequences before they post and to remember that a real person with real feelings is reading that post.
- Teach your kids civilized behavior and manners online, just like you do offline!
- Our hearts go out to the Cumming’s Family.