A quiet headline last week was a win for family safety online when a Florida fraternity lost its national charter for alleged slanderous and drug-related Facebook posts.
Not only did the National arm of Pi Kappa Alpha, or Pike, disband the fraternity’s chapter but Florida International University, also ordered the fraternity to cease all meetings on campus.
According to news reports, someone anonymously emailed screenshots of about 70 posts from the private page to various media outlets and university officials. The screen shots included anti-gay slurs, references to hazing and alleged drug buys, and a number of other questionable posts.
Did you catch that? It was a private Facebook page (which makes this a double win for families).
This move indicates a collective conscious toward the issue of cyber bullying (and other abuses on social networks) and a willingness to applying swift consequences. And, it sends the message to those who have turned abusive behavior online into sport, that nothing is private online and that even close friends may not be willing to green light harmful online behavior.
Will this event put a dent in the abuse that is likely rampant on many college campuses? Not likely, but it’s a step in the right direction and a wake up call to cyber bullies everywhere that their bloated sense of autonomy and control may have a shorter life cycle than they imagined.
Family Talking Points:
- Read the related fraternity story together. Current events provide an open door to talk about subjects that otherwise, may never come up.
- Nothing is private online. Even a private text between you and your BFF can be used against you later. Watch your words at all times. When in doubt, don’t post.
- Cyber bullying has a wide reach. Calling names, slang that defames a particular race, or sexual orientation of people, threats (both blunt and veiled)—are all bullying. Cyber bulling also includes joining in the activity by “liking” a bullying comment or photo or commenting negatively (even if you didn’t initiate it).
- Review what to do. If you see cyber bullying A) take screen shots to document interaction B) report the cyber bully (repeatedly) to the social media site C) tell a parent or a teacher D) block and cease all communication with the cyber bully E) If the bullying continues and you believe your child’s safety is at risk, contact local authorities.