Alexa and the YouTube bullies

 

When Alexa Rosdahl of Prescott, Arizona decided to run for her school’s student body president, she was told the candidates had to make a video and post it on YouTube.

She did, and then the trolls came out. The pages and pages of comments became nastier and nastier, with the writers appearing to simply want to top each other with their vulgar messages.

Alexa was stunned at first, but she refused to stay a victim. She didn’t win the election, but something even better happened.

See a newspaper story here.

Fake names can get you 20 years


Dear Rhonda & Dr. Cheri,

I’m in college and have a roommate. She’s also a great friend — or was, until now.

Her computer was open and I glanced at it and wow! She used my middle and last name to register for something online.

I was going to say something but I was stunned and didn’t know what to say.

Later, I asked, “Have you ever used someone else’s name before to register for stuff … like your mom’s name or something?” She said no.

I got mad and said that I saw she used my name.

She asked why I was reading her private stuff! (As if that mattered.) I told her that her computer happened to be open.

She got angry and said it isn’t my real name, it’s a fake name. I said it wasn’t right. She said she doesn’t want to give her name out on the internet.

I told her to make up a fake name! I left. I wonder if I was too harsh on her?

Signed,
Not fake

Dear Not,

We can see why you’re upset. However, we think you can patch this up.

First, we have information about this. It’s actually a big deal.

You can be charged with a federal crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act enacted in 1986.

It’s against the law to register under a false name online. The letter of the law means she could receive five to 20 years in prison.

Cyberbullying laws are in place now, so this has become even more important. Most people arrested who were using fake names on the internet didn’t used to receive felony charges.

With the recent increases in suicide rates-double the numbers for 15- to 19- year-old girls and a 30 percent increase for boys in that same range-it may become increasingly important that no one uses fake names for seemingly harmless reasons, like registering for online stores.

Obviously, fake names allow horrific cyberbullying, which is the most common form of bullying.

We are sure that your roommate doesn’t know this habit of hers is a serious crime now.

Show her this column and tell her you want to stay friends, however, she must immediately stop using your name or fake names for her own good and for the goodness of your relationship.

Friends are hard to come by. Loyalty and truth are great qualities for both friends to share.

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Passive-Aggressive Bullies in Class

 

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I seem to have more students who are negative in a subtle way. Some procrastinate, turn in failing work and then insist they did a good job, saying, “You know it’s the best in the class, right?” or “You’ve gotta give me an A, right?” “I’m going to do it, okay … but you have to stop pressuring me or I can’t function”

When I call them out on their negativity, they act hurt, shocked, and they feel sorry for themselves.

Now, in this new school year, they’re even worse. One student said to me, “I love your paintings; I wish I could be that good.” But then I overheard her say to her friends, “She is the worst teacher ever, I can’t bother trying because she can’t see how bad of an artist she is.”

It’s relentless and the same pattern of saying one thing and then backstabbing me.

Signed,

Back-stabbed teacher

Dear Teacher,

Some of your students seem to be passive-aggressive bullies.

People who exhibit this kind of behavior are:

• Masking anger with insincere attempts of agreement

• Pretending their performance or obedience is good by trying to get you to agree

• Resistance to authority figures who question their sincerity

Passive-aggressive bullies typically fear intimacy or competition, may be emotionally unavailable, and wish to be assertive but can’t or won’t try.

Passive-aggressive people can become bullies if they’ve grown up in an environment where it’s not safe to express anger or frustration, or in families in which honest expression of feelings is repressed and denied, so they have to find other means of expression.

And when children don’t feel loved or accepted, they don’t learn to have empathy for others.

How to help your students:

• No debating

• Embrace their compliments as truth and ignore the negative sarcasms

• Do “art therapy” exercises for a short period of time before starting your projects

• Listen to students, but don’t respond negatively or positively

• Give them control over their art project, within reason

• Let them know they are loved but still have strong boundaries

• Don’t take their insults personally; their bullying is a statement of their character

• Try to stay detached from their destructive stories

Hang in there … realize people do things for a reason.

Continue to be a role model of walking the higher road.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri