Students create fake online identities to bully peers

This was the title of an article in Education Week that I stumbled upon today.  I looked at it in shock, not because I couldn't believe it was happening, but more because I had a sort of "No kidding, duh!" reaction to it.

Does it surprise you that kids are doing this? It shouldn't.  It's one of the unintended consequences of enacting laws to deal with cyber bullying and online harassment.  The kids who are doing the bullying and harassing are trying to cover up who is doing it because they want to evade laws and policies that forbid and punish this kind of behavior.

What we are seeing then, is the problem being compounded. Not only is it bad enough that students are doing the bullying -- online or off, -- now we add sneakiness and subterfuge to the list of "bad behavior."

Nearly two years ago, I called attention to the problems with isolating cyber bullying as a separate "thing" from off-line bullying, something that somehow needed a different solution.  While there are some things that make cyber bullying somewhat unique, the basic root cause of why people bully and harass online is the same as what drives off-line behavior (and, as a matter of fact, frequently online bullying LEADS to offline, in person bullying as well!)

The people who bully lack the sensitivity, compassion and consideration that allows them to understand that treating others like this is just plain wrong.  Before you go off telling me I'm wrong, let me qualify this: I'm not saying that bullies don't know it's wrong when they bully; I'm saying they lack the basic character development that allows them to care.

Further, bullying is about power. It's about a zero-sum game that says, "Hey, in order for me to be a bigger deal, I have to make you a lesser deal."  If I write you a hurtful note on paper and stuff it in your locker, I may hurt you, but you and I are the only ones to know.  If I do it on the Internet, though, a whole "universe" can know.

Now, take the fake id action and you see that these students will use the anonymity of the Internet to do their damage without any obvious way of being held accountable for their actions. I say "obvious," because kids don't usually realize how traceable the Internet really is. I myself (and I'm not a cyber-expert by any means) was able to track down (more…)

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Why the “Bully” Movie Rating Doesn’t Matter

For weeks now, there has been significant outrage from parents, educators and others about the Motion Picture Association of America's assignment of an "R" rating for the upcoming movie "Bully." This is a movie that is created by The Bully Project intended to show audiences the type of living hell kids who are being bullied go through.

The movie is getting some good reviews, but it's the "behind the scenes" action that is getting all the attention. There has been a strong response from the public that the "R" rating given the movie by the MPAA is going to prevent those people who need to see it the most from getting that opportunity.

That's where I say, "What????" Are you serious?

Now, let's break this down, shall we?  An "R" rating means that the subject matter is not intended for children under 17. This might include content involving violence, language, sex and nudity...any or all of the above.  But, if you examine what the rating MEANS, it specifically says that children under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

So, then, where's the problem?  I can tell you that most kids under 17 (the ones that, according to the supporters of changing the rating), aren't going to go see "Bully" because it's the hottest thing to hit the teen market.  You won't see a group of 15 year olds weighing the pros and cons of seeing this movie, over, say "The Hunger Games."  Not gonna happen.

The kids that go to see this movie will be going there largely because their parents want them to see it -- and they will take them to see it.  I do not expect a long line of 9 year olds in front of the theater to see "Bully" on their own -- no, that line is for "The Lorax."

As far as not being able to show it in schools with this rating, that, too, is ridiculous.  (more…)

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“Breaking the Bullying Culture” is Amazon Best-Seller!

Last week I announced that my latest book in the "Education Reform and Other Myths" series was published and available.  Now, a week later, I'm excited to share that "Breaking the Bullying Culture" has become an Amazon #1 best seller in the category of Education Public Policy!

Today, you can get your copy of "Breaking the Bullying Culture" for free on Amazon Kindle. Visit the link below to take advantage of the offer.

Of course, if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can get your copy for free anytime -- and you can "borrow" it just like from a library.

Thanks to all of you who have helped make this book #1! I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback and reading your reviews. I hope this helps those of you who are concerned about the problem of bullying in our schools and communities!

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