Parents: Become a spy to stop a bully

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Do you think this is true, that the words people say to you in person or online don’t hurt you? Well, they do, especially the words people say to you online because they never go away.

People have more time to think of evil or manipulative things to say to others online because it’s easier to say something hurtful behind a screen than in person. Words people say to you in person will go away, but the words someone says to you online will stay with you forever. When you go to sleep and wake up, they will be there. Technology is a big part of our world now, and we need to keep people informed and educated about it.

Parents, if you think your child doesn’t have social media, you might find out they do. Kids these days can freely fake their age to get into social media and make personal accounts. This can make them more vulnerable to being a victim of cyberbullying. Kids as young as third-graders could be a cyberbully or be getting cyberbullied.

Parents, do you check your child’s devices? How do you know if your child is cyberbullying or getting cyberbullied? You basically should “stalk” your kids online. You should know the passwords to all your kids’ devices and accounts. It’s your device if you pay for it — you own it — so make sure you know what’s happening on the device.

If you know your child is being cyberbullied, you should know you can file charges on the parents or the person who is cyberbullying your child because it is a form of harassment. Harassment is a misdemeanor in most states. Punishment can range from a fine up to jail time for a first offense.

If you are being cyberbullied, you immediately should block the person’s account online. If the harassment does not stop, you should tell a trusted adult to help with the bullying.

If you ever see any type of cyberbullying, make sure to report it to someone you trust to handle the situation right away. Cyberbullying has made many people feel as though they’re trapped and their lives are worthless, which has made many people resort to suicide. This is a terrible thing. No one should feel as if their life means nothing.

Cyberbullying can happen everywhere and even happens in schools right now. Mr. Richard Swanson, the principal at Byron Middle School, said, “If you teach students and kids about being respectful human beings, all of this bullying wouldn’t be an issue at all. If you do get cyberbullied and you react, you are giving the control over to the bully. Ignore them and tell a trusted adult. The bully wants you to react, control your actions.”

We also spoke to an eighth grade student at Byron Middle School who has been bullied. She said, “I was called mean names and was told to kill myself. My parents never knew until the principal called them.”

In conclusion, you always should be careful online. Make sure you and others are making smart decisions. Cyberbullying is a serious problem, and it will take everyone’s help to stop it. Remember to take the high road when you see cyberbullying and always report it to a trusted adult.