One of the first things we learned in our earliest cyberbullying studies was that targets were not telling adults about their experiences. Even today, very few students who are cyberbullied talk with adults about what is going on. The concern we have heard from adolescents time and time again is that they are afraid to tell adults because they think they will be blamed or their cell phones or computers will be taken away. They are embarrassed or scared and overall they just think things will get worse for them if they tell an adult. Well, whose fault is it that teens don’t feel comfortable talking to us about their experiences? One clue: it’s not *their* fault. We as adults need to take the initiative to learn more about what teens are doing online (the good and the bad) and equip ourselves with knowledge and tools to prevent and successfully respond to cyberbullying when it happens.
Today starts a four day online discussion of Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard on the Education Week Teacher Web site. If you have read our book, please join in the conversation! There are a lot of great strategies out there and a discussion involving our book can help stimulate other innovative ideas. Only when we come together to effectively respond to cyberbullying will targets open up and share their experiences with us. We look forward to reading your insights on the Education Week Teacher Discussion Forum.