Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Kids Threatened By Internet Bullies

Internet Bullies!
The San Diego Union-Tribune has profiled a new schoolyard threat to our children that comes in the form of Cyber Venom. The internet has now become just one of many tools that bullies are using to embarrass and intimidate other children. The harassment runs the full gamut from emails threatening to "beat-up" kids, to well-constructed and maintained web sites designed to continuously mock and humiliate a targeted child or group.

In what is just another example of what is being called "Cyber Bullying," one boy constructed a "hit list" of his classmates. According to the Union-Tribune, another some bullies even design web sites with names like, "top five biggest homosexuals" or "top 20 gayest guys and gayest girls."

Many schools say that nothing can be done because the harassment takes place off school property. They are aware of the problem however, and say that it is becoming pervasive.

The Education Wonks believe that if parents did a better job of supervising their children's computer use, this type of bullying would decrease substantially. Sadly, it is the parents that have become the enablers, and therefore the unwitting accomplices, of this new version of an old problem. The EdWonk was surprised to learn how pervasive the problem has become.

So the question is this: Do we know for sure what our kids are doing on-line? And if the answer is no, then why not?