Have you ever wondered what would happen if your child was a victim of Facebook bullying? Parents, you may be surprised by the interesting way Facebook authorities responded to an NFL cheerleader who said she was cyberbullied earlier this year.
On February 4th, a picture of former Green Bay Packers cheerleader Kaitlyn Collins was uploaded to a Chicago Bears fan page on Facebook with the caption “Like if You Agree the Packers Have the Worst Cheerleaders in the NFL!” Some fans commented in Collins’ defense, but other comments ranged from mean to simply unrepeatable because of profanity and graphic sexual slurs.
Collins said she asked Facebook to remove the photo and the comments, but Facebook told her it did not consider this to be cyberbullying. The “Bullying and Harassment” section of Facebook’s Community Standards page at the time read: “Facebook does not tolerate bullying or harassment. We allow users to speak freely on matters and people of public interest, but take action on all reports of abusive behavior directed at private individuals.”
Parents, what do you think? Do you think that Kaitlyn Collins was a victim of cyberbullying, or as a former NFL cheerleader was she sufficiently “a person of public interest?”
Facebook’s response to Kaitlyn Collins shows that notwithstanding all the current media buzz about cyberbullying prevention, many organizations still have trouble clearly defining cyberbullying. Of course there are inescapably clear-cut cases of cyberbullying, and these may have even happened to your child or one of your child’s friends. But other times what is or isn’t considered “cyberbullying” by the people in authority is subject to interpretation. When there are gray areas, that is when you and your child may have the most difficulty getting help dealing with bullying behavior.
Tim Woda is a passionate advocate for protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers – cyberbullying, sexting and online predators. He is the co-founder of uKnow.com, developers of uKnowKids.