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The Internet is a wonderful resource for children. It entertains and educates them, often at the same time. It’s a valuable tool for study and a handy way to keep in touch with their friends and family.
Unfortunately, it comes with risks of all kinds, like predators, hackers, thieves…and bullies. Cyberbullying has emerged as the most prevalent and persistent online threat to our kids: their own associates and peers using electronic means to bully and harass.
|"Bullying" is the systematic infliction of physical hurt or psychological distress. "Cyberbullying" is simply the use of information technology to do the same thing.|
There are a number of websites that provide excellent information for dealing with and preventing bullying:
- Cyberbullying Tips for Teens
- Cyberbullying Research Center [PDF]
- ebrary’s Searchable Information Center on Cyberbullying
- How to handle the different types of cyberbullies
Florida Statute 1006.147, known as the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up For All Students Act, prohibits bullying or harassment of any student or employee of a public K-12 educational institution. The Act allows schools the authority to take action against bullying if it:
- Places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property;
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, or benefits;
- Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a school.
The significance of this act is that the bullying does not need to take place on school grounds. For example, if a child is bullied to the point that they are afraid to go to school. or their grades drop, this act allows the schools to take action.
Although tis law addresses only public schools, many private schools have similar policies. If your child attends a private school, check with the administration to see what their bullying policy is.
This is a powerful resource for children and parents. To find out the policy in your district, type “county anti-bullying policy” followed by your county name in a search engine like Google or Bing.