October 9, 2011

Awareness

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. This issue has been in the news a lot lately. While there appears to be consensus that bullying is a serious problem, even an epidemic in this country, there are more questions than answers as to to how to handle it.

I know what we shouldn't do - believe it only happens among children.

I fear we will fall woefully short in any efforts to combat bullying if we don't widen our scope and begin to explore and address ADULT attitudes and behaviors.

Cyber bullying is a issue across the age spectrum. This matters, because adults raise children. And even those who are not parents have the ability to influence our youth.

The US Justice Department estimates more than 850,000 adults are cyber stalked each year. And by the way, the vast majority of organizations refuse to call it "cyber bullying" when adults are involved. It is a widely held belief that label can only be used for minors.

In all my research, I have only come across one group working to spread awareness about adult cyber bullying - the non-profit organization CiviliNation. They are "taking a stand for civil digital discourse," and I am a strong supporter of their mission.

As far as I am concerned, bullying is bullying. And it is not OK. At any age. For any reason.

So stand up, speak out, and help spread the word. Without awareness, there can be no action.

Special note: I made some changes this week to the verbiage of The Mom Pledge. Many people found the words, "rude, condescending or disrespectful" subjective and difficult to define. They have been changed to "defamatory, hateful or threatening," which I feel better reflects cyber bullying behavior. What do you think?
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