Girl Scout Dominique Napolitano testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee on the issue of cyberbullying on Thursday, June 24, providing legislators a teenager’s perspective on the increasingly widespread practice.
“Cyberbullying is not just a phase or behavior in which kids will be kids,” Napolitano told the panel chaired by U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY). “Cyberbullying poses serious consequences to the health and safety of all children.”
Dominique was among a core group of Girl Scouts who helped develop LMK, a leading online safety Web site developed by Girl Scouts in collaboration with Microsoft’s Windows division. The site is unique because it is designed to cover such topics as cyberbullying, online sexual predators and cybersecurity from the perspective of young people. Twenty-three Girl Scouts working with Internet safety expert Parry Aftab have developed the online safety tips and advice for parents and young boys and girls.
In addition to Dominique, the panel heard testimony from syndicated talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw, as well as Aftab, who contributed to the LMK Web site, and educators from around the country.
“I know from my experience that kids don’t always think that adults understand their issues or get technology,” Dominique said. “So we need to empower youth to take this problem into our own hands and find solutions that work for us. I feel that I’ve had that experience through Girl Scouts, my youth group, and in school, but far too many kids don’t get that chance.”
Her testimony drew media coverage in newspapers and television stations. A story appears in the Boston Herald, and Dominique’s testimony is available on YouTube.
You can also check out photos of Dominique at the hearing at the Wall Street Journal.