#parent | #kids | Digital Drama Awareness Week in South Lake Tahoe: What is digital drama/cyber bullying? | South Lake Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The South Lake Tahoe Police Department (SLTPD) is focusing on youth cyber-bullying this week during “Digital Drama Awareness Week” April 12-16, 2021.

Soroptimists of Tahoe Sierra and South Tahoe Now teamed up with South Tahoe Middle School and SLTPD Campus Resource Officer Jason Nixon to hold a poster contest for students with the goal of highlighting Digital Drama among students and others their age. Each day this week one of those posters will be highlighted with the winning posters announced at the end of the month. The Soroptimists are awarding the winning poster creator $50, second place $25 and third prize $5 and SLTPD is giving the 4th place a $5 gift card.

What is digital drama/cyber bullying? Digital drama is a new age phrase that refers to forms of abuse and violence among teens in the technology world.

The National Crime Prevention Council’s definition of cyber-bullying is “when the internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.” Cyber drama also involves pornography, child trafficking, communication with people the youth have never met.

The effects of cyberbullying can be devastating for everyone involved. Cyberbullying statistics have shown that modern technology with its ability to increase our connectivity can also be the perfect platform for bullying.

The more students who use social media the more Digital Drama has become an issue. As online bullying grows, so do statistics of teen suicide and self-harm. In the past four years, teen suicide among those aged 15-19 has increased by 32 percent.

A goal of this awareness week is to inform students of what they can do if they are involved in a cyberbullying situation. They can learn of ways of how to stop cyberbullying by exploring the roles people play and how individual actions — both negative and positive — can impact their friends and broader communities. Kids are encouraged to take the active role of upstander and build positive, supportive online communities.

Cyber bullying is hate speech. Cyber bullying is harassment. Cyber bullying is drama.

Online aggressions has consequences for everyone. Bullies feel more confident when they can hide behind a keyboard. The child mind doesn’t always look at the consequences since everything one says online can be traced back to them. If someone hurts themselves as a result of what a bully says and does, the bully can be held responsible.

About 20 percent of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying nationwide.
64 percent of bullying is not reported
500,000 yearly suicide attempts by youth
5,300 youth suicides each year, the second leading cause of death of youth

Bullying affects all youth, including those who are bullied, those who bully others, and those who witness bullying. The effects of bullying may continue into adulthood.

There is not a single profile of a young person involved in bullying. Youth who bully can be either well connected socially or marginalized, and may be bullied by others as well. Similarly, those who are bullied sometimes bully others, according to StopBullying.gov.

Before the internet, bullies and the victims normally knew each other “in person” instead of a potential far-reaching cyber world.

Among students ages 12-18 who reported being bullied at school during the school year, 15 person were bullied online or by text. An estimated 14.9 percent of high school students were electronically bullied in the 12 months prior to a 2019 survey by the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice.

On March 11, 2021, Pollock Pines teen Delilah Rae Cannon, age 12, died after taking a fatal dose of prescription antipsychotic medicine that was not hers while visiting her mother in Southern California. Her father Mike has brought her death by suicide and what lead her to do it to the public eye so other families will not have to also bury their child under the same circumstances. He said Delilah first went to school in Placerville where she was bullied. The family moved to Pollock Pines and she changed schools but the cyber bullying continued. She was then switched to Pleasant Valley Middle School and changed her phone number and other contact information since the bullying continued yet again.

Mike said Delilah did suffer from mental illness and was not happy with her appearance, cutting and coloring her hair often. She sought acceptance online but instead was ridiculed and made fun of, according to Mike Cannon.

“Police doesn’t monitor specific social media platforms, we just try to get the word out on what to do and how to act responsibly on social media,” said Officer Nixon.

Nixon said a lot of his time, and the time of the school administrators, is spent on bullying situations.

“Many kids who have been bullied rise above it,” said Nixon. “I want to reach those affected by believing what the bullies say.”

This story will be continued Tuesday as well look into what Digital Drama/cyber bullying can do.

This week’s schedule (follow on the SLTPD Facebook page also):

4/12: What is digital drama/cyber bullying? – Consequences for suspects and victims of bullying, will touch on the recent teen suicide in Pollock Pines.

4/13: For victims of #DigitalDrama – Steps to take if you are a victim (block people, delete accounts, etc). Who you can talk to. Worry about your friends, not your followers.

4/14: For suspects: Examples of things you’re doing that you may not think are bullying. How teasing people about food/weight/eating habits can lead to eating disorders. Making fun of clothing (underprivileged kids, never know what’s going on at home). Screenshots can be doctored and shared. Never send anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see.

4/15: For parents: Ways to monitor your kids social media activity. Have scheduled family time to hear out your kids, even if they’re talking about things you don’t like or are hard to hear. Open communication with kids. Secret texting apps to look for. Link to studies for how screen-time can affect young minds.

4/16: Child Porn/Sexting: Child trafficking. South Carolina kidnapping done via social media.

4/17: Resources: Recap of the week, share all of our resources on keeping kids safe.

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