About half of teens have been the victim of cyberbullying. Only ten percent (10%) of those kids tell their parents. The latter should not be a surprise. A kid---male or female, whatever ethnicity, color or religion---especially if the kid is a teenager, does not want to have to go to mom or dad and say, "I'm getting bullied." That was true over 40 years ago (Ah! I'm that old?) when I was a teenager. It is no less true today; maybe more so. When I was in school, the bullying took the form of being shoved into a locker or punched (as I walked out of a classroom by a guy who blind-sided me; he could have looked me in the face and beaten me up, he was that much bigger, but bullies are cowards).
Today's kids who face cyberbullying are going to do what? Show their parents photo-shopped images of themselves in disgusting sexual positions? Or pull up whatever on their smart phone or laptop or notebook and show page after page of obscenity-laden rants someone has posted about them?
According to one source, risks of suicide, as a result of cyberbullying, are greater for kids in "middle school" (we called it junior high; "middle school" evokes images of Middle Earth and hobbits.) Kids around the ages of 12 and 13 have a lot of pressure on them---to learn to adapt to a new world at the same time as hormonal changes that accompany puberty.
About half of kids have been the "bully" in this whole thing. Those numbers overlap with the victims. Part of it has to do with how kids at that age are kids---they don't understand the emotional devastation of their acts. Or, if they do, they have been victims and want to take some of the anger they feel out on others.
On Saturday's Show we will discuss the problem of cyberbullying. Our guests will include Bruce Canal and Susan Canal, owners of Social Net Watcher, a company that has developed software to thwart cyberbullying. Also, Sergeant John Akers, Indianapolis Public Schools, Shortridge Middle School will be on. We stream "live" from 11 am to 1 pm. Please tune in.