Watching the report on cyber bullying I noticed a few things:
Prominent was the gap in understanding of how to control cyberbullying, as voiced by adults and teenagers interviewed.
The latter were speaking of the scenes of cyber bullying and the process of taunts spreading and gaining in meaning.
On the other hand, the cyber bullying expert interviewed mentioned: ‘rules of engagement’, ‘parents abrogating responsibilities’ and ‘moral compass’. The problem with some of these terms is that they assume a setting where expectation-setting and discipline can be enacted via visual observation. For example kids hitting one another in the playground, or kids showing physical or emtional damage after bullying. The visual observation is radically altered in the context of online attacks on someone’s person. And of course the observer is perhaps not there! The ‘responsible adult’ in question doesn’t have a facebook account and has not witnessed the scene of the bullying.
Having said this the call for adults to step into this arena is fair.
Adults can show their school age mates how to address people respectfully.
And perhaps do so in visible online communications.
But there’ll never be adults around to ‘police’ all online interactions.
Kids always communicate with symbols and words secret to their own communities.
The most powerful tool against cyber bullying will be a lot of kids making their own personal statements against it. Enough statements stacking up to cause peers to change attitude!
In the tele show big brother – 10 people were put in a house, given lots of grog and told to get under the skin of Housemate J. Was positive, encouraging behaviour going to ensue? no.
But the world for most of us isn’t the set of big brother.
We can be aware of our actions whether they be posts, texts, emails. We can be aware whether we be 12 or 32 years old. It does take some modelling of how to treat others by adults. It also takes some courage on behalf of kids, and encouragement from adults to say “i don’t think putting people down is ok’.
In response to the text prompts on self concept -
It makes sense that Ss like bullies at certain stages of development
If we haven’t developed our self concept, then sophisticated understanding of our impact on the world is lacking.
People who stand out are ‘cool’. perhaps.
Followers of these ‘cools’ may not fully know the impact of their actions on:
- a group
It’s just using a new language,
or new code to dominate others
Language has been used for a long time as a tool of domination
Asserting the power of Literate over illiterate folks is an example
When you taunt when you harm someone via online bullying,
you may not say anything explicitly damaging
It is the insinuation and the knowledge of how this meaning will be transferred to
that makes the blow a hard blow.
last thought on cyber bullying
(a lot of)People must be aware that their posts and online comms can be traced.
So this feeds into more insinuation and bullying via implication
rather than less
people have always put others down
cyberbullying is an iteration of an old tyranny
just say no.