Friday, February 25, 2011

Tackling Relational Aggression in New Orleans

Fresh off the wire, it's reported that Girl Scouts in New Orleans, LA, will soon explore the hidden world of girl bullying. Spreading rumors, forming cliques, and making fun of others are just a few of the ways girls have been mean to one another for years. However, with the advent of social media, bullying in today's society is more complicated than ever. The increased exposure to a variety of social media puts teenage girls at greater risk for online or text message bullying, commonly known as cyberbullying. This type of bullying and other forms of relational aggression will be addressed by experts in their field during a one-day seminar hosted by Girl Scouts Louisiana East, and funded in part by the Louisiana Children's Trust Fund. The Girl Bullying – Awareness to Action seminar is being held Saturday, March 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the New Orleans Marriott at the Convention Center, and is open to troop leaders, parents, educators, and community leaders.

"While we continue to see the negative effects of relational aggression among children and teens, many adults are without the knowledge or skills needed to provide assistance in dealing with bullying," said Yvette Hairston, vice president of membership for Girl Scouts Louisiana East. "This conference will give adults insight into the hidden world of relational aggression and situational tools that can help our girls." According to Hairston, even girls in elementary school can become victims to relational aggression.

A survey by i-SAFE Inc., a leader in internet safety education, relates that 58 percent of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online with more than 4 out of 10 experiencing it more than once. Bullying negatively affects not only a child's physical, emotional, and social well being, it has an adverse affect on academics as well.

Last year, Girl Scout Dominique Napolitano testified at a Congressional Hearing on cyberbullying, alongside Dr. Phil and Others. In testimony to the U.S. House Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee, Napolitano, 15, from Long Island, New York, discussed cyberbulling from a teenager’s perspective. As part of her presentation to the subcommittee chaired by U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Dominque explored the challenges young people face in navigating life online and dealing with the bullying that takes place online and through social media.

Have you ever been the victim of cyberbullying?