McGruff: the dog with Internet expertise

Online bullying, called cyberbullying, happens when teens use the Internet, cell phones, or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person. Cyberbullying is a problem affecting almost half of all American teens. Whether you’ve been a victim of cyberbullying, know someone who has been cyberbullied, or have even cyberbullied yourself, there are steps you and your friends can take to stop cyberbullying and stay cyber-safe.

National Crime Prevention Council — Delete Cyberbullying

McGruff and Ubu (as in “sit ubu sit, good dog”) were like THE celebrity dogs of Saturday Morning cartoons in the 90’s. I remember seeing McGruff everywhere.

I don’t really see him around these days as often, but it is great to see that trench-coat hound attempting to safeguard kids from cyberbullying.

Check out the NCPC’s page on Cyberbullying for tips on recognizing & preventing cyberbullying. Also, blogsafety.com has a great collection of information regarding the topic. Actually– if you go to ANY site for/about kids/teens/tweens, you’ll basically find someone and their opinions on cyberbullying. It’s one of those “hot topics” for teens online.

Understandably.

I wonder if it will be something that can be stopped? It’s great that there is advice and people are treating cyberbully-situations with this “it will happen, and here’s how to act” mentality. Knowing how to deal with the situation in crisis mode is very proactive.

My thoughts/worries stem around: how do you express to a classroom how IMPORTANT it is to understand cyberbullying. Not just to stop it, or see it… but understand it. WHY– beyond just the “mean” and the “hurtful” aspects. Cyberbullying can haunt the bully for a VERY long time. Yes, I know– it could haunt the victim too. But kids do stupid things, they SAY stupid things because they don’t understand the WEIGHT and GRAVITY of their actions– it’s part of the learning process they’re moving through.

I don’t know about you– but I learned some pretty weighty lessons when I was a kid. Like– don’t taunt a kid by calling him Stroganoff.

I was 12, and I was giving into peer pressure. I HATE that I participated in it. But– I learned a lesson about choices and reactions and how something as silly as calling someone a noodle-meat-dinner-dish could really affect another person. I cannot even imagine if that “situation” had broken onto the web– how QUICKLY it would have gotten out of control. We thought it was harmless fun, he didn’t, we realized it wasn’t harmless fun, we stopped– end of story. We never included anyone else from Junior High into that situation, but they would have GLADLY glommed onto it as quickly as possible.

Can you imagine involving an audience– as one could/would on myspace, youtube, bebo, etc?!

The cyberbully bullies. Either they’ll stop, or the mob will get involved– elevating the situation and masking the problem at hand. And things will go bad.

Now… say the bully learns a lesson. Don’t harass. That bully has evidence implanted on the web– for all the eyes of the world– to see his/her character at the absolute lowest.

People have second chances, right? Especially teens/tweens who are finding their moral compass. Well, that second chance is tarneshed a bit because they’ve tainted themselves in cement on the net.

Perhaps I am being too sympathetic to the bully. If anything– I just want people to point out that cyberbullying isn’t only harmful to the victim… but the bully too. In fact, anyone involved walks away tarnished.

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  1. March 8, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Cyber bullying, is rapidly increasing. As Internet Safety Coordinator and Chairperson of an Internet Safety awareness group I founded, I encourage all to insist a anti-cyber bullying policy be implemented in your school district.

    Please see my blog for further info!!

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