Worry: increasing “popularity” of bullycide?

Yesterday afternoon, when I wrote the post about Cassidy Andel, I thought we only had 30 bullying suicides that we knew of..that had been documented. This morning already it appears we have one more.  Just as it was last Spring, it's feeling like "Another Day, Another Bullying Death."

But this latest rash of deaths has me even more worried.  It appears that there are not only more of them, but they are coming in clusters. Maybe it's because we are more sensitive to the issue and it's more on the forefront of our minds, but I'm concerned we are starting to see this epidemic take on a different trend...

And that is, that the kids see these bullying suicides and think "Hey, that's an easy way out for me. No one is doing anything to help me anyway, so this is a way to make the pain stop."

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Thirty documented bullycides – when is it “enough?”

So, over the weekend, on the heels of "celebrating" what would have been Christian Taylor's 17th birthday, came news of another tragedy.  Cassidy Andel, a 16 years old at Griggs County Central High School near Bismarck, ND, committed suicide last week. Early indicators show this was a case of cyberbullying.

So, that brings the body count to 30.  Thirty documented cases of bullying suicides in the last 7 weeks. And those are only the ones we know about.  I suspect there are many more.

Reading the news sucked the life out of me this weekend.  I guess I should be a little less emotional about it -- after all, my entire business is about preventing tragedy, but that means that tragedy has to exist in order for it to need preventing.

But what's hard is the "reaction" to these incidents.  People at the school are already scrambling to put better cyberbullying task forces in place. They plan to put up posters and to wear blue wristbands as a sign of safety. Good...awareness is good. But, it is a largely helpless response; posters and wristbands matter little to people who think it's ok or even good sport to taunt, harass, or humiliate other people whether in person or through technology.

We need to solve this problem at its source and again, as typical, I see little movement in that direction. (more…)

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Cyberbullying: Different solutions for a different problem?

Recently there has been a lot in the news and other media about the increasing incidents of cyberbullying. In the wake of many tragic events , such as the bullying/suicide of Phoebe Prince, over the past few years, there's been more attention directed on this topic. Just a few days ago, author, speaker and security expert Christopher Burgess wrote in his blog about the need to do something more about the problem, and described Seattle Public Schools efforts along those lines.  Today, there's an article in the Washington Post.

I'm glad to see people are taking this seriously: they should. What worries me is the approach.  Frankly, it's just more of the same. (more…)

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