I am watching Cyberbully, but I cannot help but wonder if it will cause harm instead of helping. I hope not, but other movies and shows actually contributed to the bullying problem. I know from talking to other parents that too many are clueless as to what their children do online. We have friends who have no clue about Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites.
There are parents like Lindsey’s father in the movie who also believe their child has the “right” to harass others online. It really upsets me that this character is an attorney. An attorney should know that harassment is against the law in all fifty states even the ones without specific bullying laws. Hawaii is one of the states without a bullying law, but our harassment law does offer some protection against cyberbullying. The principal’s excuse that the school has no responsibility does not hold true in most states anymore either especially when the child is being openly harassed at school in relation to the Internet posting.
I hope others watched until the end at least! They finally show the power of bystanders at the end of the movie. I wish they has focused on this throughout the movie. I hope this is the message that sticks!
Did you watch? What did you think?
Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about the law itself; however, I do think that the laws currently on the books in most states need to be enforced by the schools and local governments. This legislation is currently before congress. There have been posts about it all over the Internet the last three weeks. Some even imply that if it passes freedom of speech will be a risk. I have not been able to find the exact wording of the legislation, so I cannot comment on whether this is truly the case. I will say that I honestly do not believe that our ancestors envisioned our current world when the original Bill of Rights was adopted in 1791. FYI, even then there were people who were not protected, i.e. slaves, women, those who did not own property. Therefore, I am not sure that using freedom of speech as an argument to avoid protecting a group of people is valid.
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My understanding of this legislation is that it applies to places of higher education; therefore, it will not protect high school students or anyone in middle school. I do believe if our current laws are enforced most states already provide laws to protect our children. I would have thought these same laws would protect college students in state funded schools, but I may be wrong. I also refer you back to my previous post, Accountability for Protecting Our Children, which I wrote on October 22, 2010 for more about protecting our children.
I would love to know what you think about this legislation or any other legislation that may be pending in your home state. Do we need more laws or do we just need to enforce the current laws? Is being mean protected under freedom of speech laws? I do not believe it is. If it is, should it be?
When my children were younger we read a story book about the Aloha Bear which taught that aloha means hello, goodbye, and love. People also use it to mean peace, compassion, and mercy. Yet, even in Hawaii, we have a bullying problem that isn’t going away. Those who have been reading my blog know this affected my family directly a few years ago.
Hawaii is one of the few states without legislation specifically aimed at bullying, yet the problem is no longer being ignored. The harassment law was amended last year to allow for prosecution of technology related bullying. State leaders are working on ways to curb the bullying. The news media has also been giving it more attention this year. See the following for more information: Cyber bullying affects 1 in 2 Hawaii teens – Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL Home.
It is time to educate the parents as to their responsibility. For more information about this see my accountability post: Accountability for Protecting Our Children | dswalkerauthor.
A parent’s primary job is to teach their child right from wrong and to protect them from harm. Protect your child no matter what anyone at the school or anywhere else tells you. Protect them by legal means please! Work with me to change the system.
Unfortunately, you will probably also have to help your child learn to forgive so they can completely heal. Becoming the bully is not an option. Becoming an advocate is. It is truly time to change the school climate to one of tolerance and acceptance of differences. I hope some of you will be brave enough to publicly agree with me by commenting here.
Addendum: Hawaii’s anti-bullying law became effective in 2011. However, it excludes over 150 private schools. You can find more posts about bullying by clicking on more supportive schools from the menu or entering bullying in the search area.