My Quest To Teach

May 26, 2016

Girls and Bullying: Pain and Potential PTSD


Girls and Bullying: Pain and Potential PTSD
William Jackson, M.Ed.
Edward Waters College
@wmjackson – william.jackson@ewc.edu

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Girls of all ages are involved in online
communication that has exceeded face to face
communication. They are sharing photos, videos,
emoji’s and other graphical displays of emotions
and friendships. BFF is a new word in the English
language.
The increase of a girl’s social life has transitioned
to digital relationships that travel across the
digital languages of Social Media sites.

Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and other
forms of digital communications are dominated by
the chatter of digital words, phrases, acronyms
and the occasional use of profanity and sexual
dialogue. A girl or young ladies digital life is
different than how they are in real life situations.

Direct interaction creates opportunities for
dialogue that can be respectful and caring. Technology
has opened a Pandora’s Box to potential vicious Bullying,
Cyberbullying, Cyberstalking and Sexting. These actions
have created a change in digital interactions and
etiquette. It is dangerous not to know what
Cyberbullying and Cyberstalking are.

Girls must be taught how to “talk” digitally to each
other and not to bully, or in the case of technology
Cyberbully. Brooklyn a student says that, “Parents
need to observe their child’s accounts to see what
they are doing to keep their children especially girls
safe from predators and others that would do them harm.”

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The end of each school year is creating fear,
apprehension and even causing parents pulling their
children out of school early because of fear from
violence as retribution of past offenses even if it is
a minor verbal altercation or a digital misunderstanding.
Too many children and teens do not value life as it
should be valued and their natures are more violent and
less compassionate. Communication with wireless devices
has created a paradigm shift for parents, educators, and
even law enforcement in the attempts to monitor, educate
and prevent bullying actions by girls and women.

Statistics show that girls will bully using technology
more than boys and a girl’s online activity is more
vicious. Even television media has shown true to life
movies about girls bullying in the traditional sense in
the school environment and also through digital means.
The unfortunate deaths by suicide and attempted suicides
are reported weekly on national news stations that bullying
and cyberbullying creates havoc emotionally and
psychologically for girls. Girls as they mature into
women have stated that they suffer from PTSD because of
the stress resulting from bullying through middle and high
school.

Speaking at national conferences to teens and young adults,
I have spoken with women in their 30’s and 40’s that carry
the emotional scars of bullying from middle and high school.
The reality that many parents do not understand or are in
denial, girls are more likely than boys to participate in
cyberbullying, (cyber-bullying via text messages or online
via Internet).

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Sharing information to empower and engage parents as the
school year comes to a close, parents need to check their
children’s Social Media accounts and their digital devices.
Parents need to understand their children, who their friends
are and even associates. The recent deaths of girls from
fights have made national attention and a warning sign to
parents. It cannot be said that this is a surprise because
there are signs, parents need to recognize them.

Schools cannot be fully blamed for bullying, because at
the end of the day, students go home to their parents,
seclude themselves in their rooms and use their digital
devices to make the lives of other girls and even boys hell
on Social Media. Parents are accountable and responsible
because they are paying for the very devices their children
are using to bully with.

The consequences of bullying do have serious emotional
and psychological consequences that can last a lifetime.
Girls who are bullied have a greater risk for depression
which can lead to drug dependency, alcohol and other
substances. As a teacher in elementary and higher education
here are some tips that may help protect kids from
cyberbullying, but it takes parents being active, engaged
and involved.

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Reinforce in your children not to give out personal
information online, when engaged in online don’t fill in
personal information. In online profiles, chat rooms, blogs,
or on web site surveys be careful what personal information
you provide. Not all sites are honest and beneficial.Don’t
ever tell anyone your email or instant messaging passwords,
even your friends or BFF’s.

If someone sends a mean or threatening message, don’t
respond, get a screen capture and save it to report to
school administration or law enforcement. Don’t be a
cyberbully, because you may find yourself on the other
end of being investigated by law enforcement and school
officials. Laws are enforced where all digital devices can
be taken from the home and searched for “evidence” for
cyberbullying.

Knowing the definition of bullying and cyberbullying is not
enough, knowing that anyone can be a bully or can be bullied
is important. Prevention and protection is the goal of my
blog, to empower and educate parents. Parents need to read
student policy and procedure books, they need to read
Internet policies for the school district.
The end of the school year should be a calm transition,
not one filled with dread for the summer,
fearing being bullied, harassed and stalked.

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