from Digital Smarts Blog by Power to Learn
As we've watched how kids interact online, we've found that behavior online is much like kids' behavior in school and in the community. They try out words they consider "bad", tease friends, make sexual jokes and references, ignore some kids, and make fun of other kids. Those who've been in education a long time, remember the sadness brought about by slam books (books where kids wrote nasty reviews of others in a class). We also know that kids exclude others from lunch tables, parties, and friendship groups. Although none of this could be considered nice or kind, it's what some kids do. As teachers and parents, we try our best to stop it, but much of it happens when it's impossible for us to notice. It's the same with online communication. So how can we tell the difference between normal kid behavior that is inappropriate and bullying or cyberbullying? Bullying and cyberbullying are when the teasing, "bad" words, etc. isn't among friends who are just having fun trying out inappropriate behaviors. It's inappropriate behavior that continues and sometimes escalates into threatening behavior. It's using the anonymity of the Web to hurt others by posting unattractive or revealing images/video and/or inappropriate and/or inaccurate comments. It's not normal kid behavior that parents and teachers must deal with and correct. It's much more. But be careful that you know the difference - overreacting can be as bad as not reacting at all. Another dilemma of parenting in the digital age.