When Debbie Heimowitz talks about cyberbullying at school assemblies or presents training events for teachers, she speaks with authority. She knows the statistics. She understands the potential for real harm if bullies use the anonymity of technology to gang up on their victims.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project always provides a wealth of resources for those of us interested in how technology affects our personal and family lives and our work. Every month or so, the project releases a research report focusing on one broad topic.
A friend of mine was bicycling through a quiet neighborhood one day last fall when, like a good citizen, she slowed to a halt at a stop sign. When my friend started pedaling again, a teenage girl who, flanked by a group of friends, was standing in the street near the corner as if she were going to cross, suddenly slugged my friend in the arm, knocking her off her bike and onto the ground.
At lunchtime recess on elementary school playgrounds, ball fields, and schoolyards across the nation, the joyful sounds of children at play are often interrupted by shouts of distress: "She took my basketball!" "He cut ahead of me!" "It's my turn!" "You cheated!" "Stop pushing!"