( Happiest Sep 13, 2019)
Bullying has changed. When we were kids, it was name-calling, maybe fights. But, nowadays everything is online. Kids have mobile phones from a much earlier age. They have social media. And it’s very difficult to monitor bullying on anonymous apps or messaging systems like Snapchat where your messages are automatically deleted.
However, police in Shawano, Wisconsin, has introduced a new law in an attempt to combat this. They are fining parents if their children are caught bullying, in person or online.
First, the parents get a warning if their child is suspected of bullying others. They have 90 days to improve their kid’s behavior and teach them why what they’re doing is wrong. This is an opportunity for parents to intervene, and to teach their kids a lesson.
However, if after 90 days there has been no improvement, and their child is caught bullying again, even online, the parents will be fined $366. If there is a second offence, they will be fined a further $681.
Police hope that this will see the amount of bullying and cyberbullying decrease.
“We feel without getting the parent involved, just giving a ticket or fining someone out of this isn’t the answer,” said Chief Mark Kohl of the Shawano Police Department. “This isn’t generated towards the kids being kids, some playground banter. This is the person that is meticulously using social media or saying things that are vulgar in an attempt to hurt, discredit, and really demean a person.”
And parents seem to be on board. “I think something needs to be done for sure,” said one Shawano parent. However, others aren’t so sure. Often there are other factors in play, and poverty can be one of them. If that’s the case, would a fine solve anything, or exacerbate the problem?
However, towns such as Plover and Monona have already implemented the law and marked a decrease in bullying, with no fines issued yet.
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Images courtesy of Instagram, @izzybeclothing, @joyfuljules13, and @secretly.a.cat04