Lately there's been a few internet bullies and a few nasty attacks towards me. So far this last fortnight has been a tester - I've been told I'm an idiot, I'm a waste of space, I'm unauthentic, I've had cruel things said about loved ones, I've been told I'm too fat and then that I'm too skinny, that I'm too ugly, that I'm not a real woman...
In my day, compared to today, it was a simpler form of bullying - not that I am condoning it in any way - but it was face to face, name calling, physical and mental hurts, you knew the name and the face of the bullies, you knew the familiar outlines as they came towards you so you could run in the opposite direction. Today not only do you have to contend with what I went through you also have to contend with the cyber bullying - the nameless and faceless who say the most disgusting things because they feel they have an anonymity and an autonomy to behave without repercussion.
Cyberbullying presents a vicious circle for educators and parents who are often cutout of the process without even the knowledge of the bullying taking place. Traditional bullying is far easier for parents and educators to intervene in. Educating students and parents alike about the dangers of Internet usage and ensuring the lines of dialogue and support remain open must be a top priority for educators as part of their pedagogic duty.
When should children be allowed onto Facebook? The site says it only accepts users over the age of 13. New research published this week by Internet security giant McAfee and the Anti-Bullying Alliance says that most children use the Internet away from their parents' watchful eyes (which I can quite understand).