The NY Times this morning has an interesting article on the phenomeon of children being harrassed through cell phone text messages and other online or electronic means. The basic argument of the article is whether parents should be able to ask schools discipline children who are caught harassing other children through online sites or “texting.” The basic idea of the article seems to be that if harassing texting or other online bullying is occurring outside of school, it is not the school’s responsibility to step in. Other alternatives offered were going to the police, or simply approaching the family of the suspected bully.
The article brings up a few thoughts: Is middle school too young to give children liberty with texting, where short messages, and also photos and videos are sent from phone to phone is seconds? As the step-mom of a 15 year old girl, I have to say that when texting has consumed my daughter, we have made the decision to disable the feature until things get back to normal. She’s had a cell phone since the sixth-grade. Now that my own children are getting ready to start school, I feel like waiting until at least 9th grade would be best. And I strongly believe online time should be limited for children, as well as supervised.
Bullying is not a new phenomenon, but the introduction of the online world and technololgy has added new wrinkles. Has anyone heard of Formspringme.com? It’s basically a site where users answer questions posed by often anonymous people. Popular with teens, it is likened by some people to an online bathroom wall smeared with nasty comments.
Any thoughts out there on the topic?