Bullying is a problem that is running rampant in our schools today. The new face of bullying is cyber-bullying. Young people are being harassed, intimidated and bullied 24/7 online like never before. With the explosion of social networking, most students have social network profiles and often share the most intimate details of their life for the world to see. A recent ABC News study claims that only 15% of parents are “in the know” about their children’s social networking habits. I feel that is the responsibility of the parents/guardians to take the steps necessary to monitor their children’s online activities but the reality of the situation is that young people are so much more technically advanced than their parents. Many are able to cover their tracks online and young people right now are extremely vulnerable to being bullied in cyberspace. I challenge young people to take action if they are being bullied or if they know someone who is being bullied. Tell a trusted adult, and keep telling trusted adults until action is taken.
I talk to young people about how to safely use social networking sites and encourage them to trust a parent or guardian to help monitor their activities on line. I try to help young people that are bullying to realize why they are engaging in this behavior and consider the repercussions of their actions through age-appropriate, real life stories, illustrating the devastating effects of bullying. I ask anyone who may be a victim of harassment, intimidation or any form of physical, or emotional bullying to take action. I give them resources to follow up with and encourage them to open up the lines of communication with trusted adults who can help them.
I use the artistry of showtime basketball and an interactive show to lay the foundation for the discussion about the dangers of bullying. I hope to continue to take this program into schools and to work with the school departments on ways to help educate as many young people as possible on this critically important issue. If you are interested in having me present this program to your school you can email me today.