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?
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.
I posted this on Facebook:
“I know many of my FB friends aren’t fans of President Obama, and he has let me down in some areas too. However, all of you have to admit that he and his family do seem to care. I love that he and Michelle instill the value of service to others in their children.”
Many of my Facebook friends are people I grew up with in the southern part of the United States, so I knew they did not like President Obama. I expected some of the initial responses I received, but they were okay as I knew the sources and one of them was even able to joke about our differences of opinion. She’s one of my best friends from high school, so it was all in fun and she even made me laugh. I also knew the second person to shout out about my post well enough not to take it personally. The third however I don’t know although we do have mutual friends.
Therefore, I was a little surprised by the post. I’m not angry with her, on the contrary, I am grateful to her. She allowed me to open up a dialogue that has been brewing for some time. I really have a problem with the seemingly lack of attention that the bullying issue is getting in our country by the average person on the street. Members of my family who know how important this is to me still don’t know how severe the bullying in our schools is today. So when a relative stranger commented on the post about President Obama, it seemed like the perfect time to try again to get through to people.
I would be willing to bet that many of my friends and family aren’t even aware that my child has Asperger’s even though it shouldn’t be hard to figure out from my posts. I also have not tried to hide, from my friends and family, that I wrote a book to teach tolerance of differences to try to prevent bullying. Yet, only a few of them have acknowledged my plea for their help in getting the word out.
They are not alone; however, posts about anger at President Obama get more time on the live feed at Facebook than a plea for understanding and support to stop the bullying. I think we need to really take a hard look at our values as a society. Let me know what you think?