Ask-A-Teen Column: Cyberbullying

This article is by Renae, Maria Elena, Bridget and Sofia, the writers of the Ask A Teen Column where readers can write in to ask our teens for advice, email for your question.

“In my son’s grade 7 going on grade 8 class, a girl has been badmouthing another girl on her Myspace page. This girl is mortified because the accuser is really a nice girl in class. Any ideas on how to handle this one? I would like to assist these people, but I would really appreciate any advice.”

I think the best way to go about this is to let the girls talk it out…and NOT over the internet. If the girl badmouthing is confronted I think it would make her think twice about doing it again. If the problem really escalates then it might be better to inform the parents of both girls and get them involved, let them know what’s going on. Having a talk with the girls and letting them know that this isn’t acceptable would be a good idea.

~Renae is a 16-year-old from Lowell, MI. She is a creative individual who spends a lot of her time reading and learning Japanese because she would like to become a Journalist in Japan.

Is this an ongoing issue at school? Do their parents know about this? I’m not one bit surprised that this is happening, but I’m surprised that their parents or the school hasn’t already done something about it. The best way to go about helping would be to notify a guidance counselor at your son’s school rather than getting directly involved with the parents because they may become defensive and the whole situation gets blown out of proportion. Cyberbullying is very common these days and a lot of times it goes unnoticed because many teens are reluctant to tell someone that it’s going on. Take action, but be cautious. Try to leave your son out of it if it doesn’t have anything to do with him or else troubles may arise for him at school for being a “tattle.” Try to use the opportunity to talk to your son about cyberbullying and how it is harmful to others and can lead to more serious consequences than expected. Good luck!

~Maria Elena is a 16-year-old from Wilmington, DE. She enjoys dancing and cooking and her favorite subject is Math because she likes solving big equations.

The worst type of bullying is cyberbullying, in my opinion.  A person can be a completely different person on the computer than they are in reality, and that is what makes it the hardest on the person being bullied.  I do not know if your son is friends with this girl but if he is, he needs to let her know that this must be stopped.  If the girl will let him, have your son try to convince her to print out some of the things this girl says to her as proof this is happening.  The biggest key is to assure the girl that is being bullied that the school, her parents, and any other adult supervisor will not let anything happen to her.  That is the most common fear in a child who is being bullied, they do not want to say anything in fear that they will be “punished” by the person who is bullying them.  As hard as it is to convince the girl, the bully must be stopped; an extremely large amount of teenage suicides occur as a result of cyberbullying and it must be prevented before it becomes fatal.

~Sofia is a 16-year-old from Los Angeles, CA.  She loves the beach, shopping, and enjoys studying psychology because she would like to become a psychologist when she is older.

I think that the girl that is being badmouthed on Myspace should delete her Myspace page or just delete/block the accuser because these sorts of problems can definitely be resolved. If the girl doesn’t want to delete her Myspace or block the girl, she should confront the girl in person and ask her why she is saying these sorts of things. I know this takes a lot of courage but it could really help the problem, I think that the accuser is probably just scared to make fun of the girl in person, so she uses the Internet where she can easily hide behind her computer screen. As a high school sophomore, I know where these girls are coming from, high school and middle school can be tough but if you stand up for yourself it can definitely make school easier for you.

~Bridget is a 15 year old from Austin, Tx. She has a passion for writing and aspires to be a journalist when she’s older, when she’s not writing you can find her listening to her ipod or at a concert!

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