As we ushered in a new year, keeping our hopeful eyes on an end to the pandemic, we realized that some of the challenges we were already facing not only weren’t put on pause like much of our lives, but also worsened.
With new all-time highs in screen-time, widespread remote learning, and a decrease in offline activities and socialization, it came as no surprise to me that some organizations have been reporting an increase in youth cyberbullying and mental health challenges during the pandemic. Students are stressed and overwhelmed with the current state of school, social isolation, anxiety about the pandemic, constant connectivity, and the regular challenges of growing up.
The pandemic brought with it much more than a global health crisis. Society was forced to sideline addressing some important issues, due to the lack of available resources and room to share limited attention. As the vaccine rollout is underway, we are once again able to begin focusing on more than COVID-19 prevention.
Even I took a step back in 2020 from regularly contacting local officials, knowing full well that my cyberbullying prevention advocacy would continue at the right time, but parents, students, educators, and community leaders continued to reach out to me for assistance.
I’m thrilled to share that the bill to establish a task force to explore cyberbullying and measures to address it has (S623), once again, has been introduced into the New York State Senate and Assembly for this year’s legislative session.
To hear a variety of viewpoints, New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky is hosting a roundtable on cyberbullying on Thursday, February 11, at 5:00 p.m. Panelists will consist of students, educators, school administrators, counselors, law enforcement, and advocates, including yours truly.
I’m honored to have been asked to serve as a panelist and am looking forward to discussing how we can all come together to diminish cyberbullying, support those who experience it, and promote digital wellness.