Stop Online Bullying By Being A Parent

It makes me sad and frustrated when kids are bullied and end their lives because of it. I want to punch walls and flip tables and kill butterflies. No child should ever feel so hopeless that their only way out is suicide.

At the same time, I am an educator–a pretty good one at that–and it angers me to no end when schools are blamed for stuff that children do and say to each other on social media. I can police interactions that happen in my classroom. I can control and change how students talk to one another in my presence, even document and report instances of bullying and know that my administrator will do something about it. What I CANNOT do is monitor what my students do when they are not in my presence, which turns about to be a whopping 18 hours a day during the week and full 24 hour days on weekends and holidays.

That, parents, is YOUR JOB.

When a kid gets bullied on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, SnapChat, text messaging, and other social media sites (that my old self is unaware of), we teachers/school administrators cannot do much about it. One: it is illegal for students to be on our social media pages, so we cannot friend them. Two: it isn’t happening on school grounds during school hours 99% of the time. Three: Even when we do try (and my school does) kids are savvy and know how to hide this stuff. We get the fallout and deal accordingly, but I PROMISE you: most of the time we have no idea what went down on Facebook the night before if no one snitches.

Parents: please stop lying to yourself that your sons and daughters would never bully someone. They try to do it all the time at school. They DEFINITELY do it online. And it is your job to monitor that. Even if every principal in America suspended every kid who sent negative messages to others, guess what? It won’t stop the bullying.The only way to stop online bullying is for you to cut off their internet access, monitor their phones and messages, and keep tabs on their social media interactions.

And that is YOUR responsibility. I have my own kids at home to monitor.

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