By SONIA CHAJET WIDES, age 10
Mentored by NIKKI BALDAUF
Kids deal with bullying every day. But today there’s a new age of bullying: cyberbullying.
According to The End To Cyberbullying Organization, “Bullying has been replaced by a 24 hour per day, seven days a week online monster…children, teenagers and even adults that interact via social networking, all have fallen prey to cyberbullying.” One form of form of cyberbullying involves people posting embarrassing pictures or comments about others on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
81 percent of kids think it’s easier to get away with bullying online than in person, according to a 2009 Teen Online & Wireless Safety Survey.
Though the social media form of cyberbullying is common, there is another type of cyberbullying that is just as effective: message harassment. This is when someone sends a mean text or email. The problem is that only the victim and the sender can see it, making it harder for adults to get involved. A 2004 national study survey showed that 58 percent of kids don’t tell an adult when they are cyberbullied. When bullies do get caught, they often just change their tactics. “I think once people learn that they get caught on Facebook, they go to text harassment,” says Eliza Price, a 10th grader.
There are many ways to prevent cyberbullying. One way is to involve adults. “[I] encourage children to turn to a trusted adult if they ever feel uncomfortable about a situation that arises on the Internet,” says Laurie Basloe, a 5th grade teacher at PS 321 in Brooklyn, NY. Another way is to raise awareness, like Arts Effect NYC’s all-girl theater company, which created the play, “Facebook Me,” about cyberbullying.