The United States of America is at war on two fronts, one foreign and one domestic. The country has been at war against terrorism for over 5 years. The U.S. military which is second to none possesses “State of the Art” weaponry that has the capability of precision lethality. The Constitution of the United States of America gives us the right to fight all those who are threats to our domestic tranquility. This blog’s focus is on the domestic war that thousands of young Americans are exposed to when the school year begins. The wars effort is growing on a front where there is already physical confrontation resulting in casualties in the thousands, but the landscape is on a digital or electronic battlefield (Social Media). Cyberbullying has claimed lives as the result of jail sentences (convictions from bullying), suicides (by those who succumbed to stress) and violent retaliations (from those that are bullied and fought back). The understanding is that this was the result of severe torment and bullying in and out of school using electronic means.
Cyberbullying is harassment that occurs via electronic means. It happens on Social Media and Social Network sites, Cyberbullying is Bullying, it takes place through text messages, emails, all digital means. The tragedy in this form of domestic terrorism is Cyberbullies can be classmates, online friends, church members, and even family members, they can be in community groups and church. Bullies either cyber or physical know their victims. Emailing, tweeting, chatting, FBing and Skyping are the most common online activities. Naturally when kids communicate they are sometimes playful, but that play can turn mean, destructive, resentful, harassing and dangerous. Just as the military uses performance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, target recognition, bullies do the same on social media sites. Would it take an Executive order to issue “special” weapons to stop bullying or will parents be more involved and aware of their children’s actions?
The issue of bullying sounds the alarm for parents, teachers, school administration and law enforcement that online bullying is widespread and leading to teenage suicides, and suicide attempts. The domestic war has real casualties, American children that are future leaders of their communities and country. Social media has opened up a new area for intelligence gathering by bullies, and provided avenues to reach out and digitally terrorize another person. Instead of bombs, missiles, IDE’s, or other weapons, social media and social networks are the tools of these domestic terroristic actions. Online protocols (tools) are like tools of a digital sniper, the online environment contains the snipers scope while words, pictures, threats, innuendoes, profanity and lies are the hollow pointed bullets.
There are no rules in this war just inflict damage to the emotional and psychological stability of those that are being targeted. In traditional war you avoid close contact with your enemy, there are rules of engagement and an understanding who the enemy is and their capabilities. In this new war of cyberbullying your enemy can be in school, in church, attending class and can look right in your eyes.
Casualties of Cyberbullying:
A study by Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D. of the Cyberbullying Research Center shows that there is an upward trend in the 10 to 19 year-old age group seriously contemplated attempting suicide as a result of cyberbullying. Studies are showing that bullying is a factor in the study that shows that those that are bullied are
at higher risk for suicidal thoughts and planning. In a national study, approximately 2,000 randomly selected middle-school students from the most populous school districts in the United States were surveyed by National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The results were disturbing showing increased students reported they seriously think about attempting suicide and students reported attempting suicide, if unsuccessful they
did not tell their parents; war creates mental and psychological stresses, bullying is the same in creating depression, social challenges, struggled academically or creating special needs either physically or emotionally. Bullying and cyberbullying creates emotional instability, feelings of hopelessness, and paranoia in the minds of adolescents,
these are some of the symptoms that Gulf war veterans face after returning from war.
Be Aware and use Wise Counsel
Parents, teachers, school administrators/counselors and now members of clergy must be aware of the atmosphere of schools and communities, even churches. They must recognize the battlefield bullying signs of conflict, low morale, rumors of plots to terrorize and bully. Counselors have a school wide challenge to watch the emotional state of children. To be able to council, redirect behaviors and intervene when necessary, use intelligence, stealth and counter intelligence to learn the direction and redirect possible assaults. If delayed deadly results may happen to students and the educational atmosphere of schools will be compromised, reflected in communities and churches..
Just as the military has protocols for suicide prevention and intervention, schools now need bullying and cyberbullying response programs. Schools should always involve a counselor or psychologist in cyberbullying or bullying investigations as well as prevention education, and make the immediate goal of any investigation not discipline, but support for targeted students. Events need to be teachable moments for the educational environment so they will not happen repeatedly. The American military is a representation of American society with order,
discipline, and Esprit de corps. Schools are challenged with the threat of misuse of technology. Parents need to check their children’s social media sites and networks; even check their cellphones for voice, data, pictures and video. If parents do not take charge or are too scared they are held liable to potential future tragedies. Proactive efforts (intelligence gathering) by parents do intervene before trouble, reinforce ethical uses of technology and parents are made aware of what is going on their domestic fronts. The increase of intelligence can lead to the ceasing of hostilities in bullying and cyberbullying, an agreement of peace and friendship. Even if parents have their children sign Internet safety agreements; violation should be dealt swiftly and fairly. American’s must be united against the domestic threat of bullying and cyberbullying. If parents do not act how similar are our children
to the terrorists we are fighting on foreign soils in foreign lands. Each cause chaos, confusion, fear, mistrust and even death. The lines of foreign and domestic terrorism are becoming blurred.
William Jackson, M.Ed.