Thursday, July 15, 2010

A True Tale of Cyberbullying

When Facebook Friends Go Too Far

An editor here at Common Sense Media recently went through a frustrating experience that really hit home.
Her nephew was being mocked on Facebook by kids from his basketball team. The boy's mom uncovered the bullying by looking at her son's Facebook page. When checking out some of his friends' pages to see what her son was posting, she noticed a conversation that other kids were having about him.

The boys were talking about how her son "sucks at basketball" and how they "don't want him to be on the team in high school." One boy even filled out an online game saying that the best part of meeting this boy was "making fun of him." In this particular situation, the victim happens to be deaf, and his relationships on Facebook are especially crucial to keeping him connected to his friends.

Of course, lots of teens use Facebook responsibly, but kids can be cruel and will use all the tools at their disposal to be so. We here at Common Sense Media offer cyberbullying guidance and Facebook advice. But we're continually facing new challenges as we try to teach our kids how to use the powerful tools at their disposal responsibly.

We know that you need to know exactly what to do if something like this happens to your kid. Frankly, the best advice will come from those who've been through it. So we appeal to you for real-world advice and wisdom.

We're all responsible for making the Internet a nice place to be. You can help by offering your advice.

Have you had to deal with this situation? What would you do if you were this kid's parents? Write a letter? Respond on Facebook? Tell us what you think.

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