As if doing poorly in a sporting competition that you have trained for your whole life isn’t devastating enough! Yes, even star athletes are bullied.
Cyberbullies are cruel and their intent is to hurt another person.
I spend my professional life talking to parents and kids about cyberbullying, how to stop it and the horrible affects it can have on people. Everyday, I am in disbelief that there is not more publicity and community outrage about this epidemic.
Did you hear about Tom Daley, the synchronised diver from Great Britain? He and his diving partner were the favorite to win the gold medal but ended up not medalling at all.
As if watching the media replaying his failure on television wasn’t enough to kill this man’s self esteem, an anonymous person tweeted,"You let your dad down. I hope you know that."
Daley's father died of a brain tumor last year. The anonymous tweeter then made death threats towards Daley.
But did you know that the person allegedly behind the cyberbullying incident is just 17 years old? Police ultimately arrested him on suspicion of malicious communications.
I share this story in hopes that you will use it as a teaching tool with your teen. Here are a list of questions to help get the conversation started.
1. What is Bullying? What is Cyberbullying? What types of behaviors constitute bullying or cyberbullying?
2. How do you think this tweet really affected this athlete?
- Have you ever had a cruel tweet written about you?
- How did it affect you?
- How did it feel to read how it affected someone else?
3. Can we control what others tweet about us?
4. What should we do if someone tweets something negative about us?
5. What should we do if someone negative tweets about one of our friends?
6. What should we do if someone tweets something negative about someone we don’t know?
7. What are the possible consequences someone could face here? If you had written something mean about someone, do you think this could affect your future? Do you think it is possible that a college or employer could find out about something mean you wrote on the Internet?
Remember: The most important thing we as educators or parents can do to protect our kids is to talk with them about these things. GOOD LUCK!!!