EDITORIAL: Bullies — and parents — take heed

York Dispatch

Growing up is fraught with emotional and physical land mines — vulnerability to bullying is one of them.

That's why we are pleased to see that a new state law, Act 26, signed by Gov. Tom Wolf on July 10 aims at making cyber harassment a punishable offense.

That means thousands in fines and possible jail time.

That should get the bullies' attention. Or, at least, their parents' attention.

Because really, it's up to parents to instill the values in their children that will prevent them from the type of cyber cruelty this law is meant to curb.

And being kind in interpersonal relationships is a critical trait, as well.

We hope that with initiatives like those recently implemented by Northern York School District, bullying can be discouraged as a rite of passage and viewed more seriously by children — and their parents.

Northern has implemented new rules for online behavior for students, athletes and staff. Superintendent Eric Eshbach notes that it is a true challenge to manage online interactions that spill over into school halls.

More than half of the country's young people have reported that they have been cyberbullied, and among those who reported incidents, one-third said their bullies issued online threats, according to 2014 bullying statistics published by the anti-bullying website

This is a jarring statistic and one that these parents and children have experienced firsthand.

It's so painful to watch a child be taunted and marginalized. And it's more than that, it's often threatening to the point of harassment.

So if you are one of those parents who believe bullying is a rite of passage and it's better to prepare your child to be the attacker than the attacked, take heed.

Because if you don't, you'll be going through the court system with your kid. And it won't be empowering at all.