Noogies. Wedgies. Wet Willies. And “Kick Me” signs.
Bullying used to seem so straightforward. But with virtual reality and cyberspace at students’ fingertips, the game has changed.
Not only has new technology allowed students to stay in touch at all hours of the day — making bullied students vulnerable to nasty comments both on and off the playground, as well as in the comfort of their own homes — but there are more ways in which kids can feel excluded by others.
Thanks to “invitation only” chat rooms, public photo albums and the ability to publish stream-of-consciousness remarks on the Internet and in text messages without any suitable filter, kids now have limitless opportunities to communicate knee-jerk reactions before they’ve fully comprehended the consequences of what they’re doing.
While of course we expect parents to teach their children right from wrong, Internet etiquette is an entirely new idea we suspect some parents might not even fully comprehend themselves. (“Friending,” “tweeting,” “poking,” and “tagging” are certainly not terms today’s adults grew up with in the context they’re used today.)
While the school has already explored ways of making students more Internet savvy, we encourage Pierson Middle/High School to do more to educate kids on how to be smart when it comes to using social media among their own peers, not only to understand the consequences of their cyber-actions, but to help them realize they have the power to turn it off too.