Imagine yourself having two children who are in middle school and high school. Every day they come home together from the bus and your child in middle school is bubbly and happy while your child in high school comes home every day and is quiet and bipolar You ask them almost every day how their day was and your bubbly child talks about their day for several minutes, while your child in high school doesn’t say a word or just says “it was fine.” Until one day you come home from work and you find your high school child is in the bathroom with blood coming from their wrists. You lost your child, your life has changed forever, and you wonder where you went wrong, how you did not see this coming. You go through their belongings and find notes on their Facebook page, tweets and text messages on social media that other students are telling your child to “kill themselves, that they are worthless, they should not exist.” You are devastated that you did not know anything about this, and that most of this happened at school. You now feel that their school is unsafe and did not take care of your child there. The school did not express how cyber bullying is causing students to feel alone and have suicidal thoughts. Believe it or not, many parents feel this way everyday and do not know how to go about it. Cyber bullying is more common in today’s society, and schools do not go above and beyond to stop it.

Around the United States technology has increased over the past ten years. Children starting at the ages of eight have iPads, iPhones, iPods, etc. This can start cyber bullying at an early age. Cyber bullying has been one of the most difficult issues to resolve in today’s society. In some ways schools do not know how to address cyber bullying because it does not happen at the school. However, parents, teachers, staff and people with mobile phones should know how to monitor and address this behavior. Parents in most cases want their child to feel safe and protected at their schools they send their child to. Staff members at schools do not know how to approach cyber bullying without the feeling that they may get the school sued. Every school should have a daily talk with their students on how cyber bullying is just as worse as bullying. How students can feel comfortable talking to any staff member or teacher at any time of day. Schools need to provide more assemblies and programs that can address cyber bullying. By teachers joining together to make programs and assemblies students will join forces as well, making it help prevent cyber bullying.  

“Talking Smack and the Phone Game: Conceptualizing Cyber bullying with Middle and High School Youth” by Nicole Weber and William Pelfrey discusses the trauma cyber bullying has on young children and adults. In today’s society cyber bullying has become a huge topic that a number of people have taken their owns lives from it. The study of this article is from grade 6 to 12, to get multiple opinions on cyber bullying. Cyber bullying has reached its point, and is getting worse every day. In this study there was a young female named “Felicia Garcia, a 15-year-old high school student from New York, committed suicide by jumping in front of a train in Staten Island. According to reports, Garcia’s classmates had bullied her about alleged sexual encounters with the school’s football players to the point in which she saw no other option than to take her life .” (Pelfrey 397) Parents have no idea what is going on with their child’s lives because in today’s society children have iPads, iPhones, social media accounts that their parents do not pay close enough attention to. These technologies have allowed children and young adults to constantly be on their phones for hours a day, opening their chances to cyber bullying or even being the one who starts this bullying. “Studies show that at least 72% of children and young adults will be cyber bullied once in their life.” (Pelfrey 398) This 72% can affect student with their social behaviors and their academic levels. “Cyber bullying produces increased feelings of social anxiety and lowered self-esteem, which can significantly impact youth and how they interact with the world Cyber bullying produces increased feelings of social anxiety and lowered self-esteem, which can significantly impact youth and how they interact with the world.” (Pelfrey 398) Schools need to keep a close eye on their students, they need to monitor their behaviors and watch for any treatment with their peers. Teachers and schools need to express how students can talk to staff at anytime if they ever feel alone or bullied. Schools need to make programs and assemblies to help prevent cyber bullying before it’s too late. Schools tend to make more assemblies and programs after a traumatic incident happens when a student takes their own life. This needs to happen before, to let students know that they are not alone and that taking their own life is not the answer.

In the article “Cyber bullying Behaviors Among Middle and High School students” it expresses behaviors among middle and high school students. The way they act, interact with other students in a large urban city. “Bullying among children and adolescents is well documented. The effects may be far-reaching for children who bully and for those who are victimized, both of whom are at risk of emotional, social, and psychiatric problems that may persist into adulthood.” (Mishna 210) This quote expresses that both the bully, and the victim are at risks for emotional problems in their future. By giving schools opportunities to have assemblies and programs to address cyber bullying can prevent emotional issues for students in their future. During their study on how many people are cyber bullied in the last 3 months, and how many people were guilty of cyber bullying others online. “Across bullying behaviors, half of the students (49.5%) indicated that they had been bullied online in the previous 3 months.” (Mishna 365) Almost half the people they studied, were cyber bullied and felt alone just in the three months they studied them. On the other hand, one third of the participants admitted that they bullied others online in the three months. In this study they also ask boys and girls from grade 6 and 7 their experience in cyber bullying, and they also asked boys and girls from grade 10 and 11 their experience as well. The results were that the students grade 6 and 7 were not cyber bullied as much as the students in grade 10 and 11. Girls are more likely to get cyber bullied than boys are. In addition to these findings “it emerged that the type of cyber bullying participants experienced and perpetrated was influenced by gender. Girls in all grades were more likely to have been called names than boys. Older boys were more likely than older girls to have been threatened online. Girls in both grade levels were more likely than boys to have had rumors spread about them online.”(Mishna 365)  Seeing this drastic difference in gender, this is when schools need to have boys and girls stick together, to monitor social media and to see who is cyber bullying other. Having these assemblies and programs can help parents as well to understand that their child is going through.

“To discipline for cyber bullying, the schools have to know whether it happens, and the cyber bullying laws are silent regarding how schools might go about discovering the prohibited conduct.” (Suski 73) Going back to my introduction paragraph, imagine you as a parent hearing this quote. Hearing that schools have to know if it happens and how cyber bullying laws might go silent. No parent should ever have to worry about schools keeping their child safe, when you hear quotes like the one stated. Schools state that they can not predict that cyber bullying is happening because it goes silent. Unlike bullying that happens at school because there is either violence going on or students running to teachers that a fight is about to break out. “The time is nebulous because unlike in-person bullying, the electronic bullying message can be composed and sent at a time before, even significantly before, the target receives the message.” (Suski 75) Schools are expressing that no matter what time of day the person sends this message, it did not happen on school ground.  Unfortunately, schools only take a stand with cyber bullying if someone takes their life, before they did not express the danger cyber bullying has among students.

However, many people will differ with my position on schools and how they need to have more assemblies and programs to help prevent cyber bullying. Schools will differ and express how cyber bullying is far out of their reach because it does not happen in schools, it happens outside of schools. Many schools from elementary and middle school students are not allowed to have their phones out during class and passing periods, which enables them to cyberbully during school hours. In forty-six states schools are allowed to intervene with students who are engaging in cyber bullying. In the article by Emily Suski she expresses the importance of schools impact on cyber bullying, but goes over the legal stance of schools and how far they can go with cyber bullying. “Bullying laws are, for the most part, creatures of states’ student disciplinary codes or regulatory schemes. They either prohibit a student in a school from acting, even once, in a way that puts another student in reasonable fear of harm, or they prohibit a student in a school from engaging in potentially less severe but repeated behavior that effectively rises to the level of harassment.” (Suski 71) This quote represents that schools are allowed to get involved if another student is trying to harm themselves, or a student expresses for another student to harm themselves. Schools have the right to further investigate cyber bullying if they are one of the forty-six states that are allowed by law to intervene with cyber bullying. Schools also protest that it is not their fault if another student bullies another, unless it is on school grounds. That they do not want to go further into detail if it can cause law enforcement to come into play, or parents suing the school. (Suski 87) Schools also announce that cyber bullying is a silent killer, that when schools hear about bullying inside schools it can be resolved with speaking to both students who are causing this outbreak.

The solution to cyber bullying is something that always been around, it just has not been expressed enough to show awareness. Cyber bullying in schools has been more common due to the technology students have today. Schools need to address this issue before it gets out of control, they need to address it before someone takes their own life from this, not after. Parents need to take more of a stand and express their concern for their child’s safety at the schools they attend. The assemblies can be for students and parents, so both parties get information on the topic, it will help parents notice different behaviors and actions their child shows over the years. Schools that are in the forty-six states that have the right from the law to explore their students social media accounts and messages need to express this to parents before hand, but are hesitant due to suing of the schools. If the school express this ahead of time, parents would not be as upset as they are now. By the schools creating programs and making an effort for their students to feel safe and comfortable to talk to anyone about their problems, will decrease the risk of students taking their life.

Overall, there is both sides to this argument, but there should only be one. Schools need to make more programs and address the issue before it begins. If schools have the approval from the law that they are allowed to go into investigation if a student is being cyber bullied, not push it away. Parents need to take a stand and talk to the schools and make them provide more information on why they want schools to approach this topic, before it is too late. Lastly, if schools address this topic and are within the legal limits they should not push this under the bridge, they can take a stand. By taking the stand, it will help other schools and so on, making this topic worldwide and that can save millions of lives. 

Works Cited

Shariff, Shaheen. Confronting Cyber-Bullying : What Schools Need to Know to Control Misconduct and Avoid Legal Consequences. Cambridge University Press, 2008. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=269207&site=ehost-live.

Pelfrey, William V. and Nicole Weber. “Talking Smack and the Telephone Game: Conceptualizing Cyber bullying with Middle and High School Youth.” Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 17, no. 3, Apr. 2014, pp. 397-414. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/13676261.2013.830702.

Kousholt, Kristine and Tine Basse Fisker. “Approaches to Reduce Bullying in Schools – a Critical Analysis from the Viewpoint of First- and Second-Order Perspectives on Bullying.” Children & Society, vol. 29, no. 6, Nov. 2015, pp. 593-603. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/chso.12094.

Suski, Emily F. “Beyond the Schoolhouse Gates: Expansion of School Surveillance Authority Under Cyber Bullying Laws.” N.p., n.d. Web.

Mishna, Faye, et al. “Cyber Bullying Behaviors among Middle and High School Students.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, vol. 80, no. 3, July 2010, pp. 362-374. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/j.1939-0025.2010.01040.x.

Lee, Chris. Preventing Bullying in Schools : A Guide for Teachers and Other Professionals. SAGE Publications Ltd, 2004. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=251538&site=ehost-live.

Laubscher, M., and WJ Van Vollenhoven. “Cyberbullying: Should Schools Choose between Safety and Privacy?” PER: Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad. North West University, n.d. Web. 09 May 2017.