Manners in the News: Cyber Bullying

Oh my God.

Recent news has reports that a 12 year old girl killed herself in Florida over bullying, including messages on her social media sites from classmates asking “Why are you still alive?” and “Go kill yourself.”

What, on this earth, could this girl have done that would warrant such disdain from classmates, which I assume are other 12-ish year olds?  She wasn’t wearing the right jeans?  Spoke to the most popular girl’s boyfriend? More than a dozen girls participated in this demonstration of cruelty that has ended a life.  Not sure if this is really manners (as in what the heck were these parents teaching these kids to make them think saying these kind of things was okay, or dare I imagine…funny?) or an example of group think and mob mentality.

What I will say is this; use this as a teaching moment, moms.  Encourage your kids to think for themselves.  Encourage them to be brave.  Encourage them to stand up for the weak.  Encourage them to report.  Educate them on what is acceptable behavior now,  and do it again tomorrow and again next week.  Make it an ongoing discussion.  It is never okay to tell someone to die.  I don’t care if this is your sworn enemy, the guy who stole your girlfriend, the kid from the opposing rival high school that crushed you in football, the girl who acts like she is better than everyone else.  NEVER. OKAY.  If a dozen kids were taunting this poor girl, you can bet there were others, on the sidelines, that weren’t participating, but knew something awful was happening.

I actually do have sympathy for these dozen girls.  They lives have been changed forever.  There will always be a “before” and “after” marking this day.   Let’s work hard, to make sure the next victim isn’t a kid from YOUR son’s school, that the next bully isn’t YOUR daughter, that YOU don’t get the visit from the local police that no one deserves to get.

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