I ask this question because I recently read an article about a California school district who recently hired a firm to essentially spy on the social media accounts of their students due in part to the rise in cyber bullying and the suicide of two students last year.
As extremely heartbreaking, life altering, and unconscionable bullying is, I do not feel the school district should take this route to handle the issues the schools have with bullying. Instead, this responsibility should fall to the parents. Parental involvement in any school is essential in order to handle issues that may arise.
In my opinion, no school district should be 'spying' on their students. It is not their job to police what kids are doing on non-school related activities. A school district should be focusing their energy and efforts to instituting zero-tolerance policies, and most importantly getting the parents involved in their child's academic success from day one.
The school staff should be properly trained to pick up on any warning signs, address issues, and get the parents or guardians involved ASAP! The resources should be spent creating a bully-free environment on school grounds where kids spend most of their days.
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With the popularity of social networks, bullying has infiltrated every aspect of a child's life. With the easy accessibility to the Internet, bullying is no longer limited to school hours or within school grounds. This type of power imbalance, unfortunately, follows kids virtually everywhere, tormenting them every minute of every day and giving them no way to escape. Coming in the form of physical, emotional, and cyber abuse, kids often feel they have nowhere to turn and some resort to ending their lives as a form of escaping the cruelty they have endured.
I firmly believe it is the parents' responsibility to educate their children on the proper etiquette both on and off line. It is important to take control and not let these devices be the focal point of our daily interactions with our families. Instead, use it as a resource and teaching tool to open the lines of communication. It is important to talk to our kids and monitor a child's social network activity and friends. Be aware of your kid's online activities. It is not acceptable as a parent to spend hours on end on your Facebook account, yet not have a clue what you own child is doing on their pages.
At the end of the day, it is about accountability. As parents, we need to hold ourselves accountable and be aware of what our children are doing. In this day, we need to make it our mission to teach, protect, and educate our children with the tools they need to tackle any obstacle that they may face.
Photo credit: © robhainer - Fotolia.com
-By Jessie Nuez
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