Online Bullies Blind to Consequences
Friday, October 07, 2011
Teens bully and make fun of each other through text messages, Facebook posts, tweets and YouTube videos because they don’t see the immediate consequences, says Brandie Oliver, an assistant professor in Butler University’s graduate program for school counseling.
"If a girl posts a mean remark online, she doesn’t have to witness the target’s hurt reaction," Oliver said. "Many students post messages that they would never say in a face-to-face situation."
Online bullies also mistakenly think that once they’ve sent a message, "it disappears into space" and can’t be traced back to them, she said. "They get upset when they realize their messages or posts can be retrieved and often are used in disciplinary school actions."
Hurtful as these digital dramas can be, young people can survive and combat them, Oliver said, through these pro-active tactics:
Oliver said her own teenage daughter "tries to tell me ‘EVERYONE’ has a Facebook account. I know that’s not true, and I don’t feel that my daughter is ready for this digital step. You have to stand firm and be a parent."
Young people should be prepared to deal with face-to-face bullying as well. Letting them discover and use their own voice can help, said Oliver. "Kids need to speak up and tell other kids (especially a bully) what they need and what they don’t want."
She suggests steering kids to activities that build their confidence. "Kids with self-confidence have a built-in shield against bully behavior."
And, teach kids to stand up for other kids who are being bullied. School culture often sets the tone for what is or is not acceptable, according to Oliver.
Most important, tell kids they should always report any harassment or bullying to an adult.
Butler University Assistant Professor of School Counseling Brandie Oliver has also served as a middle school counselor and worked with both "victims" and "aggressors" in online bullying and harassment. Since 2010, she and her Butler students have facilitated a teen peer counseling program at an Indianapolis high school.
To arrange an interview with Brandie Oliver, contact
Mary Ellen Stephenson
Associate Director of Public Relations
Related Articles :
No Related Content Found