Defining cyber-bullying: Is the issue black and white?
Fri, 22 Apr 2011 23:33:46 GMT —
"I've seen plenty of kids get in a fight over it. It's an on-going thing. It's harrassment is what it is," said Tonya Tijerina.
She, along with several other parents, are upset about what some are calling a cyber-bullying problem in Fort Madison.
Wednesday, we brought you a story about comments written on Facebook after two alleged suicide attempts.
The question is, when do those comments turn into bullying?
The conversation is heated on our Facebook page. Click here to go straight to the thread started overnight.
"Our kids were accused over it, of cyber-bullying, because they were speaking their mind and hurt from the boy who tried to hurt himself," said Tijerina.
"I read what my son wrote, and he told me what he wrote, and I really don't know if I consider it cyber-bullying. He went in there, spoke his mind, and defended his friend," said Michelle Saltzgaver.
These three Fort Madison mothers agree that bullying is a bad thing. Parents also agree that bullying on the internet is bad as well. But where is the line between what is considered cyber-bullying, and what is not?
"They're speaking their minds, and how far it goes, and what people do with it, is their definition I suppose," said Saltzgaver.
"It goes too far a lot of times. I think parents need to discuss bullying with their children. Whether it be cyber bullying or in person and I think it's not good," said Brandy Vincent.
New technology brings new problems that parents have never dealt with before now. They still are trying to figure out how to deal with internet problems.
"We grew up in a different day and age where we didn't have all this. Our kids are growing up and this is the norm," said Vincent.
And while communication is changing between teenagers, so too, is the way they pick on each other.
"They're not going up and saying, 'hey, do you have a problem with me?' or trying to talk it out. Instead, they're venting out their anger over the internet to other kids. And these other kids are taking it to another level," said Tijerina.
"It's hard to monitor it, especially when they're in high school. But we all try to keep track of what our kids are doing," said Vincent.
"You can't be with your child 24/7. You teach them right from wrong. What they do with it, is what they do with it. You can't be there to hold their hands and say, now don't do this because it has repercussions, and don't do that because it has repercussions," said Satlzgaver.
"All they can do is learn from this and hope this doesn't happen to other kids," said Tijerina.
We also spoke with Iowa Representative Jerry Kearns to find out what the law says about cyberbullying.
He told us the only law passed was in 2007...and it says bullying is not allowed in schools.
Kearns says, "As far as penalties for it, I don't know what those are, if there are penalties, but it does authorize the schools to put in place anti-bullying programs."
We want to know what you think. What is your definition of cyber-bullying?