“Who did you help today?”

It is simple question, one that inspires empathy, encourages us to think beyond ourselves, and when answered demonstrates the true power the web holds.

For most of us, social media has changed our lives in some meaningful way because we were helped by someone. Collectively social media is changing the world for good because it demands and rewards individuals and communities who work feverishly to answer this question.
I want to turn our attention and conversation toward a community that desperately needs our help – bullied students.

  • Did you know that nearly 1 in 3 students are involved in bullying?
  • Did you know that while school violence as a whole is declining, bullying behaviors have increased by 5%?
  • Did you know that kids who are obese, gay or have disabilities are up to 63% more likely to be bullied than other children?
  • Did you know that last month alone, there were multiple suicide deaths as a result of bullying?

Bullying is an epidemic. Lots of tormentors. Lots of victims. Each one is somebody’s child.

Like the global recession or the fight to end poverty, cyber crime is now everyone’s problem. It impacts every business and every person in the world who has an Internet connection, owns a computer, or who believes the social Web represents the best not the worst of the human spirit.

The social web is an opportunity to create not just “conversation,” but movements. We need a movement now more than ever. We have the platform and the power to use technology for a higher purpose and a greater good. Our tweets, posts, stories, and lessons can give hope to the hopeless and voice to those silenced by these crimes.

No matter how you have been touched or impacted by bullying, you can make a valuable contribution to changing environments and cultures that are conducive to bullying and promoting the right behaviors for all digital citizens.

Please consider joining the movement or starting your own by:

  • Writing a blog post (If you podcast, please record a podcast. If you video, release a video)
  • Sending a tweet using the Hashtag  #stopcyberbullying
  • Being an advocate for the effective use of technology and the web as there are many who advocate blocking everything
  • Being a resource for  your community (Here’s a GREAT list)
  • Modeling your own digital citizenship – Describe your “Code of Conduct”
  • Sharing your story

However you chose to help, DON’T BE SILENT!  Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” We must talk to our children. If you don’t have the right words yet, read this amazing letter from a mom to her daughter.

Be inspired. Then go share your inspiration with someone else. When it comes to bullying, your inspiration and advice can mean, the life of a child.

So, who and how will you help today?

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Photo Credit: Google Images by compasscayman.com

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About Angela Maiers

Angela Maiers

Angela is an active blogger, social media evangelist , and passionate advocate for bridging the gap between business and education. She is a recognized educational leader, trainer, and author. She is the owner and Chief Learning Officer at Maiers Educational Services, a company emphasizing the creative use of technology and social media to advance learning; in and out of the classroom.

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://nmc.itdevworks.com Neicole

    Hi, Angela. I'm so glad you wrote about this! It has been on my mind a lot this last year and really bothering me. I created a Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/manage/?act=60953031#!/ParentingandSocialMedia) that has a little over 300 fans, largely as a place to talk about this issue. I post items there and also tweet those items.

    This is a horrible aspect of the social networking world. You are right that we need to talk about it amongst ourselves. Even more, we need to talk to our kids about it. I think we especially need to let them know that being an observer of bullying enables the bully. Walk away, unfriend, unfan–and tell an adult.

    • http://www.angelamaiers.com AngelaMaiers

      Neicole-

      I applaud you for your efforts in creating this space and place to talk openly about this issue. I am now your 325th fan and will spread the word about your fan page. It gives students and adults practice with the conversation in a safe and supportive way. Kudos to you!

  • http://socialprattle.wordpress.com Joshua Barnes

    This can be a rough thing. I just hope that we're equally responsible in our response as we are expecting those to be who perpetrate these acts….the internet is forever, and so is a criminal record.

    • http://www.angelamaiers.com AngelaMaiers

      Hi Joshua,
      That is a great point. Responding with “no response”, thinking it won't happen to you, is a long term mistake for everyone in the long run. Thanks for your comment and for spreading the word.

  • Dmytro

    Well, it's bad behavior for sure. But in terms of socio psychology its inevitably needed to grow up as a strong personality with a strong will. Especially for boys. The world is cruel for the last thousand years and I doubt it's going to change any time soon. That's why we have to each our children how to be strong, how to be wise and caring for those who cannot care for themselves for different reasons. If you fight something it will fight back, we have to use the principle that our nature is using – adapt and become stronger to deal with that. That's how we live under the ultraviolet and sun radiation, that's how we live in places with very high and very low temperatures, we were able to find ways to adapt to these.

    • http://www.angelamaiers.com AngelaMaiers

      Dmytro,

      Being strong in this world is difficult for any human, and especially challenging for adolescents as they are trying to define their space and place in it. They need the adults they may encounter to model and demonstrate the kind of citizen they should strive to be.

      I want to be able to point children in the direction of adults who demonstrate the qualities you speak of- honesty, adaptability, caring, and aware. Thank you for your comment and for being one of those adults.

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  • Tom

    After 23 years in juvenile court, I believe that teenagers often learn from the experiences of their peers, not just from being lectured by those in authority. Consequently, “Teen Cyberbullying Investigated” was published in January, 2010.

    Endorsed by Dr. Phil on April 8, 2010 ["Bullied to Death" show], “Teen Cyberbullying Investigated” presents real cases of teens in trouble over their online and cell phone activities. Civil & criminal sanctions have been imposed on teens over their emails, blogs, text and IM messages, Facebook entries and more. TCI is interactive and promotes education & awareness so that our youth will begin to “Think B4 U Click.”

    Thanks for looking at “Teen Cyberbullying Investigated” on http://www.freespirit.com [publisher] or on http://www.askthejudge.info [a free website for & about teens and the law].

    Regards, -Judge Tom

  • Vickyh

    Angela,
    This article is wonderful. @tom This is a great point for us to remember, there can be/are legal consequences for this behavior. @dymtro I strongly believe in parents teaching as well as role modeling compassion. I think it is one of the greatest attributes anyone can have personally and also in the work force.

    I say the work force because the ability to work with and establish relationships in business and at work is becoming increasingly important. I believe that one of the keys to really understanding other personalities is too be able to “put yourself in someone elses shoes”. Without a certain amount of compassion, it is extremely hard to understand why people act the way they do and how they think. I find that because I am compassionate it is easier to understand others. I think the most important part of this is overcoming the ideas of someones weaknesses and then really seeing there strengths. This has been my experience and I think it has helped me immensely in my work life.

    I would also like to briefly add that young bullies many times grow up to be adult bullies. This can become a lifelong cycle, which is such a waste because what part of hurting emotionally another human being is acceptable? This is more of a statement than a question.

    Thank you to everyone who I think have brought different perspectives to this discussion.

  • Pingback: How Your Can Help End Cyber Bullying | Cyber Bullying Stories

  • kat

    today i watch the movie cyberbully wit my mom i cried when the victim tried to kill her self over what a group of mean girls comments on the web.  :(