The rape scandal in Steubenville, Ohio is prompting a lot of soul-searching for parents. Well, I hope it is, anyway. It's definitely given me a lot to think about. I doubt any mother of a little boy wants to believe her child could grow up to rape anyone -- or even witness a rape without reporting it. No one wants their son to one of the boys who uploads video of a rape, or posts slut-shaping photos, or anything like that.
But kids are doing just that. So what do we do? How do we talk with our kids -- especially our sons -- about cyberbullying, slut-shaming, and treating women with respect? I've been looking around, and I've found some resources that can help parents raise more compassionate, ethical boys.
Common Sense Media, which is a great resource for parents on all kinds of media-related topics, has a page of articles and videos about cyberbullying.
Positive Parenting Solutions has some very thoughtful suggestions for talking with your kids about cyberbullying.
MomLogic has an interesting article that spells out different kinds of cyberbullying. Maybe your kids are engaging in it without really knowing it?
I found fewer resources on how to teach your son respect for women, sadly. My own opinion is that boys need to be taught to respect all women and girls without judgement. Who is "deserving" of respect shouldn't even matter. EVERYONE deserves respect, no matter how much they drink, or how they dress, or who they date, or what they do with other boys.
eHow actually has some suggestions for teaching your sons to respect women.
RespectWomen.ca (a Canadian online resource for preventing violence against women) has a list of tips for teaching your kids to respect women that starts with very young children at a very basic level.
Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys doesn't address violence against women or cyberbullying specifically, but it's my favorite go-to for understanding how to raise a boy who is confident and empathetic.
Radio Rookies, a radio program with stories by teens, produced a thought-provoking story about sexual cyberbullying. It doesn't give parents tips, but it's still VERY illuminating. Hear what teens are dealing with in their own voices.
Have you thought much about talking with your kids about sexual cyberbullying?
Image via Marco Raaphorst/Flickr