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When Kids Attack

When Kids Attack

The advent of social networking and media brought with it possibilities to meet people from other countries, something most people may have never had the chance to do. It allows friends to stay connected, even when they’re half a country apart. What many people didn’t count on was the surge in mean-spirited behavior that seems to have taken root on websites like Facebook, Myspace, and YouTube.

What’s worse, kids have access to picture phones and video recorders at an earlier age now and think nothing of snapping a picture to record an embarrassing moment and post it on the internet. Online harassment for Americans aged 10-17 has increased 50% between 2000-2005. According to Corrine David-Ferdon, a health scientist at the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, the numbers could be higher by now, but there is a serious lack of research on the subject. The other problem is that those being bullied don’t always speak up about it for fear of more retaliation.

Unfortunately, experts agree that the discussion of cyberbullying is turning into a double-edged sword. On the one hand, many people are finally beginning to see the problem, particularly after so many cases have been reported; on the other hand, it could be motivating kids to be meaner because in their minds, it’s a cool tool that gets them attention.

What do you think can be done about this situation? Do you think this is worse than the in-person teasing and meanness kids are prone to? [USAToday]

Posted: 7/15/08