Schoolyard bullies get nastier online

The emergence of cyberbullying has intensified adolescent angst. It allows bullies to unleash put-downs, nasty rumors and humiliating pictures in e-mail and blogs that can strike victims at home and at any time. The damage can be devastating, psychologists say, even as it is not always obvious to parents and teachers. —Jon SwartzSchoolyard bullies get nastier online (Yahoo!/USAToday (will probably expire))

Kids who grow up in a cyberliterate world are going to need to develop the social skills that will let them cope with the trolls and griefers that will always be there. It’s a social skill to know when to say nothing, and to recognize the value of taking the high road.

It may seem appealing to a kid whose status is marginal to shore up his or her status in a group by joining in when the group attacks. But it takes maturity to refuse to sink to the level of one’s attacker.

The solution is certainly not to tell the students to stay offline, though I know I’m not in any rush to let my kids into chat rooms.