4/23/2014 10:01:00 AM Observations:Sexting, Selfies, and Snapchat...Oh my!
By Annie Ossewaarde
Sexting, Selfies, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter...the list goes on. We are slaves to social media. While much of the technology we have today is a fun and great way to keep in touch with people on the surface that you wouldn't otherwise, there is a dark side of social media that has taken captive of our youth and dug a hole so deep that many kids cannot find their way out of it.
How many of us have been in the middle of a conversation only for it to be interrupted by a text, tweet, ding or buzz? Recent research shows that, on average, people check their phone 110 times a day. When you consider the peak hours this computes to about once every six or seven seconds! How much can you find out about a person without ever actually seeing his/her face? With how easy it is to know all this about a person how much easier would it be to talk about or post something negative. There is almost no filter on social media, which makes the perfect avenue for bullies to strike.
Cyberbullying is the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature. A recent study in 2010 from the Archives of Suicide Research, showed that cyberbullying victims were almost twice as likely to have attempted suicide compared to youth who had not experienced cyberbullying. Children who have reported being bullied using the internet are almost three times as likely to have brought a gun, knife or other object that could be used as a weapon to school.
Senate Bill 0074 will require schools to write cyberbullying into their policy in order to define and have a protocol for disciplining it where applicable. While this is still uncharted territory this bill will raise awareness to this issue and equip educators to address it in their schools. This bill has been sitting stagnant in the state senate since October, 2013. It is time that we take action again something that is a very real part of our generation and is not going anywhere. Help protect our children by contacting your local legislator.
Howard Walker - 37th District
910 Farnum Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
You can also reach Senator Randy Richardville and Arlan Meekhof at the contact info listed below to ask them to bring the bill up for a vote in the Senate.
Randy Richardville (Senate Majority Leader): (517) 373-3543, SenRRichardville@senate.michigan.gov
Annie Ossewaarde is involved with the local chapter of Young Life and is a Masters in Social Work student through Michigan State University. She is currently working on an advocacy project to try to raise awareness for a cyberbullying bill now sitting in the state senate.