November is a big month for Ohio. Aside from the election hubbub, there is an important anti-bullying law that is going into effect. Known as the Jessica Logan Law, this new law requires Ohio schools to educate teachers and students about bullying.
It also requires school districts to establish cyberbullying policies and to annually inform parents about these policies. Prior to this law, all Ohio schools were required to have anti-bullying policies.
But this new law requires schools to take their policies a step further. Schools now must include bullying committed using a cell phone, computer or other electronic communication device in their policies. They also must train teachers to combat cyberbullying and they will be required to address bullying that occurs off school property such as acts committed via an electronic device and even bullying that occurs on the school bus.
The Jessica Logan Law is named in memory of Jessica Logan, a Cincinnati teenager who committed suicide after being cyberbullied. Logan had taken a suggestive photo and sent it to a boyfriend. When the relationship ended, he sent the photos to others and eventually the entire school began harassing Logan because of the photos. Ultimately, the harassment became too much and she hanged herself.
Last fall, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that Logan is not alone. In fact, their Sex and Tech survey found 39 percent of teens are sending or posting sexually suggestive messages. And 48 percent have reported receiving such messages.
These numbers are shocking. But with an always-wired mentality, it's easy for kids to fall victim to the perils of cyberbullying and sexting. Rather than worrying about your child or banning electronic devices, educate your kids about cyberbullying and sexting. And be sure to tell them how participating in either will impact their lives for a very long time.
To learn more about the effects of cyberbullying and consequences of sexting, check out my articles What Are the Effects of Cyberbullying? and What Are the Consequences of Sexting? And if your child is cyberbullying others, check out What to Do When Your Child Is a Cyberbully.Photo courtesy of iStockphoto