DENVER — Cyberbullying is a story the Problem Solvers have covered for years.
From suicides in schools to recent harassment of Shanann Watts’ family, the question is: what more can be done?
That was a topic during the first-ever National Mental Health Summit at East High School Tuesday.
In attendance was Rick Padilla, who lost his son Jack to suicide earlier this year. Jack was a student at Cherry Creek High School.
Padilla says he believes technology companies can offer some solutions. He is working with companies on algorithms and software to alert parents if an inappropriate post is made.
“That would go back to a parent or a trusted adult that would flag if a student is having suicidal ideations,” Padilla said.
Other countries are going a step forward.
In the UK, laws are being considered to require social media sites to block cyberbullying or face litigation.
“We always have to think of the First Amendment,” said Sarah Davidon with Mental Health Colorado.
Colorado already has laws classifying cyberbullying as a crime, with schools able to be held liable if they don’t act.
Davidon reports the latest survey from Healthy Kids Colorado shows cyberbullying actually decreasing 4 percent between 2015 and 2017.
“It actually has decreased somewhat,” Davidon said.
Davidon says student approaches are sometimes better than censorship. She has suggested a closer look at zero-tolerance cyberbullying policies and whether they actually work.
Other ideas the Mental Health Summit included an increased focus on yoga and meditation — to stop people from wanting to cyberbully others in the first place.
Yes! to Schools is a worldwide movement to put more healthy body, healthy mind programs into school curricula.
“As soon as they start to feel happy and healthy in their own mind, there is no reason to lash out,” said Bill Herman, the director of the program.