These are chilling statistics:
"Some 72 percent of teens who are frequent Internet users say they've been the victim of online bullying at least once during the past year, with 90 percent of them saying they don't tell their parents about the online incidents, mainly because they feel the need to deal with the problem on their own and are fearful of parental restrictions on Internet use" ("Space bullies," 2008).
"A recent study by the Cyberbullying Research Center (cyberbullying.us) shows that one in five middle-school students has been affected by such malicious acts, which the organization defines as "willful and repeated harm" inflicted through phone and computer technology" ("Bully Pulpit," 2010).
"When i-Safe America surveyed 4th-8th grade students in 2004, they found that 42% of kids had been bullied -- but more than half had never told their parents or an adult And, of the 1500 surveyed, 53% admitted saying something mean to someone online (http://www.isafe.org/). The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that one-third of teens surveyed had been bullied online (Len-hart 2007). A September 2008 online survey detailed in the Journal of School Health stated that 72% of respondents reported at least one online bullying incident -- and 90% said they didn't tell an adult about it" (Fredrick, 2009).
Librarians need to be aware of the undercurrents of tween and teen life. It important to make kids feel "empowered, educated and supported" ("Bully Pulpit," 2010) and spread the message about being responsible online as well as respecting people for their individuality and not making fun of it. Librarians can be prepared with an arsenal of printed materials as well as online resources ready for tweens and teens to discretely access if they're not willing to speak up. If we are able to show that there are ways to fight cyberbullying and provide the tools and backup, hopefully those being bullied will know they have support and will be able to help others with the same problem.
Possible solutions include holding meetings and workshops for tweens and teens concerning cyberbullying. The Monmouth County Library was one that hosted an evening of programming with discussions and performances by a theater group. Other libraries can take this as an example of being proactive. Books and websites about bullying of any kind can not only help the one being bullied but also convince bystanders to help and not participate in the bullying. Sending the message about telling adults is one that librarians should spread; I think that as librarians we should also make sure to get to know the tweens and teens we serve in order to be able to offer advice and be seen as an adult that can be trusted.
ONLINE RESOURCES FOR DEALING WITH BULLIES:
· Dealing With Bullies – http://www.kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/emotion/bullies.html
· It's My Life--Bullies - http://www.pbskids.org/itsmylife/friends/bullies
· McGruff--Bullies - http://www.mcgruff.org
· Stop Bullying Now - http://stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/kids/
· Tips to Stop Cyberbullying - http://www.connectsafely.org./Safety-Tips/tips-to-help-stop-cyberbullying.html
Bully pulpit. (2010). Brandweek, 51(38), 12-13. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database at Persistent URL: http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=54653641&site=ehost-live
Fredrick, K. (2009). Meangirls (and boys): Cyberbullying and what can be done about it. School Library Media Activities Monthly, 25(8), 44-5. Retrieved from Library Lit & Inf Full Text database at Persistent URL: http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com/hww/jumpstart.jhtml?recid=0bc05f7a67b1790e4741fae46b91d0b77a72977dbe87219931f6346f30ba057695db0d6833a6ba29&fmt=P Fredrick, K. Mean Girls (and Boys): Cyberbullying and What Can Be Done about It. School Library Media Activities Monthly v. 25 no. 8 (April 2009) p. 44-5
Monmouth County Library hosts program on cyberbullying and sexting. (2010, October 28). Targeted News Service. Retrieved October 31, 2010, from ProQuest Newsstand. (Document ID: 2175119561).
Space bullies. (2008, November) School Library Journal, 54, 11. p.15(1). Retrieved October 31, 2010, from General Reference Center Gold via Gale.