Bullying among pre-teens and teens is an ongoing concern amongst school children and parents. But this school year, and to my surprise, the principal at my kids’ school spent a good half-hour on Open Day, warning us – unsuspecting parents – on the pitfalls of allowing our kids to use the interest unsupervised (as usual), or overlooking some alarming trends such as digital bullying (seriously?!). If you have been comfortable in your conviction that you have installed all possible filters and firewalls to prevent your children from accessing inappropriate sites, and therefore can let them roam the web unattended… think again.
Many parents have been coming to school with print outs and complaints about their children being bullied in chat sessions over Facebook or IM. Some cases where parents were bullying back other children have been reported as well.
It seems that cyber-bullying is not just a growing concern in this part of the world. It has made headlines all the way to the top of the very nation that invented the Internet. As this article on Mashable testifies, President Obama personally stepped up to the plate, joining hands with Facebook for a conference at the White House on the subject of bullying prevention.
Bullying might be an unpleasant and inescapable phase in the coming of age. But digital or not, it should not be dismissed lightly.
I guess it is no longer enough to teach our kids how to be good citizens. Since they spend a good chunk of their time and leisure online, we must teach them how to be responsible cyber-citizens as well.