Cyberbullying: No Online Laughing Matter

Word cloud for cyberbullying
My business was nearly ruined by a cyberbully. And that was before "cyberbullying" became trendy.

About 10 years ago, an individual began a very ugly attack on me personally and professionally out of a need to "get even" for a perceived wrong.  At the time, I didn't realize that this person had a history of "old school" bullying, stalking and harassment, but this appeared to be the first time technology was the weapon of choice.  The perpetrator used all sorts of tricks and tools to discredit me, including hijacking my business website, substituting a different, damaging site in its place, and creating new linked sites that not only attacked me for my position as an expert and coach on character and social skills, but also spread lies about my abilities and track record as a mom to my young children.

It was horrible...and didn't let up for months. I'd get the inflammatory sites taken down, just to have new ones pop up almost immediately. I lost sleep, couldn't eat, and my business suffered. I had to hire a private investigator, and, even get the FBI involved at one point because this individual harassing me happened to be a trained computer security expert.

The cyberbullying and harassment eventually ended, but the resulting damage couldn't be undone. (more…)

Did you like this? Share it:

Peanuts’ wisdom is a sad message about bullying

Peanuts' character's comment perfect for bullying cultureI originally posted this picture last April because it really struck me how true this saying is.  Linus is seen to be declaring "No problem is so big or so complicated that it can't be run away from!"

So true as another school year is already beginning to show.

A few days ago, Monica Ann Thomas, one of my Facebook friends and another person outspoken about the problem of bullying posted this on one of the bullying groups' wall:

Well this school year has really started with a sad start. 11 suicides, 3 school shootings and who knows how many other incidents that were not reported on. Something has to be done and it (more…)

Did you like this? Share it:

Why “Anti-Bullying” Doesn’t Work – Part I

don't bully anti-bullying doesn't work pro0social skillsAs I sit down to write this, I'm already imagining the controversy this post is going to generate. But before I go too far down the path, let me say that this is not an anti-bullying bashing party.  It's an attempt to explain what is fatally wrong with our attempts to end the bullying epidemic in our schools and communities.

I believe the "anti-" approach is wrong.

In many of my presentations that I give across the country to parents, educators and administrators, I use a quote that Mother Teresa once said about our attempts to end global conflict and a request that she appear at an event. She responded by saying

"I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there." - Mother Teresa

I use this quote a lot because it seems we have the same problem with "anti-bullying."  We're calling attention to the wrong thing, and, very much too late in the game.

If you know much about brain functioning, you may have heard that our human brains have difficulty computing negatives. It's as though the brain has to do a double-take and "reprocess" the information when it encounters something like "don't" or "can't." The study of neurolinguistics is finding some very interesting results that seem to back this up.  An article I recently came across may suggest that using the words "don't" when trying to change negative behavior may be actually unwittingly supporting that negative behavior.

I'll try to summarize this but you can read the full article here.   One example the author uses is the effect of telling yourself, when in a stressful situation, "Don't panic."  If you hear a fire alarm in a crowded gymnasium and repeatedly tell yourself "Don't panic, don't panic" you may find yourself breaking into a run in spite of your best intentions.  This effect is referred to as "negation."

Now, imagine you are a young child in the same situation.  Children are believed to be more susceptible to negation's effects, so the "don't" message that we are trying to teach them. Tell a toddler, "Don't touch" invariably causes that child to want to reach out even more strongly.

I can personally vouch for my brain's "don't" disconnect. Any of you play golf?  Ok, in that case, here's a real-life scenario for you and tell me if this hasn't happened to you: (more…)

Did you like this? Share it: