Cyberbullying: What It Is and How To Stop It

Guest post by Ivan Serrano

For many parents, the word “bullying” conjures up images of tall boys with angry faces, knocking books from our hands and taking our lunch money. Maybe we remember the girls that promised to be our best friends, only to be found smooching our crushes behind the bleachers. These bullies were a nuisance, an unfortunate time in our life, we say. But it passed, and hey - it’s all a part of growing up, right?

Unfortunately, the bullies of our generation have been replaced with something far more sinister. Cyberbullying has taken the nation by storm as more and more adults are made privy to the torment their kids and teens endure online. It can take the form of cruel, harassing, and even threatening text messages and emails, rude comments on social media platforms, or hurtful rumors or photos shared without someone’s consent.

Thankfully, steps have been taken to bring this form of bullying to light in recent years; organizations have formed to fight cyberbullying, well-known comedian Louis C.K. discussed cyberbullying on national television, and lawmakers are beginning to include cyberbulling in their existing harassment laws. However, there is still much more that needs to be done.

The Dangers of Cyberbullying

In 2010, the Duke University presented a study Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association on the lasting effects of bullying. Their findings were harrowing: children who had been bullied were at a greater risk for depression, low self-esteem, and even suicide, and children who were bullies showed an increased risk for substance abuse and anxiety issues. These risks lasted into adulthood, indicating that bullying maybe isn’t just a part of growing up after all.

For instances of cyberbullying, things can be even worse. Children who are bullied online have no safe refuge from the abuse (the Internet is always available to them), which means that both bullies and victims have a hard time disconnecting from this harmful behavior. As a result, the psychological damage of cyberbullying can be incredibly painful, and very long lasting. Also, because cyberbullies often originate online, the bully might not necessarily be someone a child knows; this makes confrontation or intervention from a parent even more difficult.

Stopping Cyberbullying

So what can we do to make sure our children are safe? One shocking statistic reveals that as few as one in 10 children report cyberbullying to an adult. This means that there are many children enduring abuse alone, without anyone to comfort or help them through it. Watch for signs of emotional strife in your child, and make sure that they know what to do when they witness cyberbullying - even if it’s not happening to them.

What else can you do to make sure cyberbullying stops? Here are a few helpful hints:


Why More Parents Are Choosing All Boys' Schools

In today's fast-paced modern world, single-sex schools may seem old fashioned. However, there is much to learn from this model of education and many reasons why it has withstood the test of time. Boys' schools continue to exist throughout the nation and are actually seeing a rise in popularity as families are discovering their benefits. Read on to learn why more parents are choosing all boys' schools for their sons' educations.

Teachers Understand Boys' Unique Learning Style

Boys and girls have been shown to learn differently. Boys tend to mature developmentally at a pace that is slower than their female counterparts and tend to respond better to more active or hands-on educational activities. At an all boys' school, the teachers understand the developmental and academic needs of boys and can incorporate these preferences into their lesson plans. This makes for more effective and personalized educational experience.

Boys Feel Less Pressure

On a number of levels, boys tend to demonstrate higher performance in a learning and growth-centered environment that is free of the pressure to impress or compete with girls. They are more involved in classroom discussion and have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in ways they may not in the traditional classroom. 

There Is a Focus on All Aspects of Life

Schools for boys tend to be able to focus more fully on all aspects of students' life and development. The teachers and staff get to know the boys well through working with them in the classroom and in sports or extra-curricular activities. This helps the students to become more well-rounded and secure individuals. For example, the Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland employs a teacher-coach-mentor model to education in which the teaching staff are also involved in other aspects of the boys' lives. They serve as team coaches, club advisers and mentors in various capacities within the community. The teachers truly get to know their Landon boys and gain valuable insight into the needs of their students. 

Students Feel Free to Explore 

In an atmosphere free of the pressure to follow societal gender stereotypes, boys are freer to explore their interests. Without the need to impress girls or to seem more masculine, boys often indulge in academic and extracurricular areas such as music, theater, culinary arts and design. In addition, they often feel less need to appear macho and have opportunities to express themselves emotionally that are often reserved for their feminine peers. 

Bonds Are Close and Lifelong

Finally, the bonds among the students and faculty at a boys' school tend to be quite strong and can last a lifetime. In an environment in which students and teachers get to know each other well and across various settings, boys can become more free to show their emotional side than in traditional academic settings in which they feel pressure to hold to societal gender norms in front of the girls. They develop empathy, sensitivity, emotional vulnerability and deep capacity for caring. 

Issues Are Addressed Quickly

Because the learning and living environment at a boys' school is so close, teachers and staff tend to pick up on any personal or emotional issues a student is having. Also, peers often play a role in alerting adults to problems they see in such a familial environment. Counseling and educational assemblies are incorporated into these schools. 

Perhaps now you have a better idea why all boys' schools are becoming a popular choice for parents. The advantages are numerous.


Unschooling fans of RV-schooling will love this book series

Yay! Book 6 of the fabulous chapter book series Wright on Time is available. The Iowa installation is about Halloween.

From a previous post when this series debuted:

I am privileged to be a stop on the virtual book tour of a new series of chapter books debuting with, Wright on Time: Arizona by Lisa M. Cottrell-Bentley (Do Life Right, 2009). The series features the adventures of a homeschooling--make that "roadschooling"--family that visits each of the 50 states during their travels around the USA in an RV (recreational vehicle). 

We unschoolers love these serendipitous discoveries, so when Ms. Cottrell-Bentley asked if I wanted to review her book on Arizona, I gave an enthusiastic, Yes! Not only do my children and I love to read chapter books together, but we are planning a road trip to Arizona. 

When my daughters and I curled up on the couch to read the story, we whipped through it. My daughters didn't want me to stop reading. The action, suspense, and sense of adventure kept us turning pages. I was immediately reminded of some of our other favorite learning adventure book series, such as Magic Tree House and The Magic School Bus, in which the characters learn through fun and exciting life experiences. In this book series, the characters actually are homeschoolers, making them all the more intriguing and relevant to my homeschooling children. My 7-year-old daughter summed up her impression of the book this way: "Real good!"
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