Parents, teachers, and the school administration at large have been able to stop bullies in the schoolyard. However, there is a new breed of bullies and these folks can't do all that much to stop them. As a result, there's a new term out there called "cyber-bullying." It involves computers and digital devices.
News stories keep popping up worldwide on the subject. Bullies identify a victim and send abusive emails, Instant messages (IMs), text messages, spread rumors in chat rooms, online bulletins, make annoying cell phones calls, and now blog.
What's the method to their madness you ask? It isn't always obvious to determine who's bullying whom. These kids are sophisticated. They often use another identity. The anonymity makes this form of bullying so much worse. A kid may never know who did this to him/her.
As advertisers, parents, aunts, uncles, and guardians, we need to be aware of such threats, as well as raise awareness. Here are some quick tips for kids/parents/guardians:
Let's face it; bullies will always be around. However, it's a known fact that they have moved online. Let's raise awareness, inform our kids, try and get schools involved and educated, and be responsible advertisers.
I encourage you to read up on the subject. I also wonder what the 800-lb gorillas AOL, MSN, Yahoo! are doing about it. Or how 'bout leading kids' sites such as Nick.com, Disney.com and the like? And what kid doesn't use Google? If any of the above mentioned sites have a clear policy, something in the making, or even want to talk, I'm all ears (post to the SPIN board or email me).
I'd love to build a task force and make a stand on this issue.