Berkeley High forum to address problem of cyber bullying

Photo courtesey of University of Alabama

By Tanya Grove

CB: U R DTF 4 any boy, girl or dog
Who sez?
CB: Every1. Even your BFF.
V wouldn’t say that. UR full of it.
CB: 182.
(no answer)
CB:GKYS

Unless you’re fluent in text language you might not know that CB is texting this girl that she would have sex with anyone including dogs, and that even her best friend says so. When this particular victim of cyberbullying refuses to believe it, the bully responds with “I hate you.” And when that doesn’t get a response, the last message is “Go kill yourself.”

As parents, we can’t help our children if we don’t know what’s going on out there. Your kid may be struggling with cyberbullying without you being aware of it. Teens communicate in ways we never dreamed of twenty-five years ago. And the anonymity of texting and e-mails compounds the problem.

One study (Finkelhor, Mitchell & Wolak 2000) estimates that more than 75 percent of those who are cyberbullying are at home when they’re sending these threatening messages to other teens, possibly with their parents in the next room. The insidious nature of this type of bullying makes it harder to detect, so parents need to be informed.

Berkeley High is hosting an information night called “Parenting in the Digital Age,” led by Adrienne DeWolfe, who works as a Technology-in-Education consultant for the Contra Costa County Office of Education and has developed state-wide cyberbullying training materials for the School Law Enforcement Project.

Her topics include advice on how to help teens cope with cyberbullying and determining if your child needs guidance on how to be an ally for friends online.

This event is co-sponsored by Berkeley High’s PTSA and the Safety Committee. It’s on Monday, April 30 7:00–8:30 in the library at Berkeley High. It is open to all parents.

BHS Safety Committee member David Peattie says: “I was fortunate enough to be a part of a presentation Adrienne DeWolfe gave to educators at the Alameda County Office of Education. She gave a great overview of what kids are encountering out there, but also provided real tangible advice for adults on how they can better help their kids navigate the pitfalls of social media. Telling your kids that they can’t participate in the digital world is unrealistic, and it precludes the opportunity to learn how to engage in a positive way.”

Spanish language translation will be available. For more Spanish language information contact Leticia Amezcua at leticiaamezcua@berkeley.net.

View more details on the forum.
Visit Adrienne DeWolfe’s website.

To find out about more events in Berkeley and nearby, visit Berkeleyside’s Events Calendar. We also encourage you to submit your own events.

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  • BBnet3000

    Cyber bullying is bullying. Lets stop acting like this is a new problem.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ksedgwic Ken Sedgwick

    Hmm … “GKYJ” seems like a typo.  Urban Dictionary suggests “go kill yourself” is “GKYS”.
    “GKYJ” has no relevant matches in google.

  • http://berkeleyside.com Tracey Taylor

    Ken: You’re most likely right. We’ve made the fix. Thanks.

  • stefitup

    It is a legitimate and serious problem and let’s stop pretending like its not. If you act like a coward, you should be treated like one and it isn’t just children that are affected by this. In my town, the forum Topix is raising all kinds of havoc.

  • Gary

    Cyber bullying is definitely more prevalent than a lot of people think.  It is often hard to prove that it is happening and report it.  Check out http://www.canprove.com for a free tool to capture and report cyber bullying. 

  • Sabine

    When it comes to cyber bullying, sanctioned stalking, harassment and abuse on sites like Topix can only be addressed by boycotting the site and their advertisers:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/boycott-the-advertisers-on-topix-com-let-them-know-you-will-no-longer-do-business-with-them