Cyberbullying not a ‘tech’ issue: Pt 2

COLUMN

Platforms that allow for open discussions about what users do online and offline are needed. Educating every area of our communities is just as important as the young people within them. If school is about preparing children for life, then digital literacy topics like cyberbullying should be no exception.

Dr William Blake, principal of Stephan Decatur Middle School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, says he and his administration spend 85 percent of their time dealing with conflicts between their students that began on social media or text messages. He says that by educating and raising awareness and forming partnerships with school, family and community organisations like SafeCyber that educate communities on topics such as cyberbullying, that number will begin to drop.

Cyber safety is essential for all young people and needs to be embedded into the curriculum. Student-driven programmes are effective in encouraging positive relationships and open discussions about what occurs online and offline.

Cyberbullying crosses all domains and knows no geographical boundaries. It commonly occurs outside of school and can manifest itself 24/7. The ethical and legal issues regarding cyberbullying provide concern for teachers, schools and parents as there is limited clarity on the implications of cyberbullying as it is about behaviour, not a technology issue. Initiatives and programmes which focus on the enhancement of positive relationships and the development of behavioural skills are more effective in dealing with the impacts of cyberbullying.

When conducting my Digital Age Parenting classes, one of the things I share with parents is information about how their child is using a device to say and do things to hurt someone or put themselves in danger. However, the device is only facilitating the interaction between the person and the situation. Dr Satira S Streeter, a licensed clinical psychologist and the founder and executive director of Ascensions Psychological and Community Services, says, “Parents shouldn’t leave the internet as an open forum to influence and impact their children or for them to influence and impact each other by cyberbullying. More focus should be on the behaviour, rather than the technology use.” Cyberbullying indeed, has the same long-term effects as offline bullying such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and possible suicide.

The internet holds a wealth of knowledge and is a great place for people of all ages to express themselves, meet like-minded people and be creative. Focusing on technology alone, grounding children from using it at home, expelling children from school because of its misuse, and tougher laws are not the answers. Initiatives and programmes that promote positive relationships and the development of behavioural skills are more effective in dealing with the issue of cyberbullying. Our future first lady plans to address cyberbullying against kids and I am looking forward to reviewing her plan on how that is to be accomplished. On the other hand, she stated that adults “can handle mean words”. Well, our children will “do what you do” quicker than they will “do what you say.”

Human behaviour is learned.

Platforms that allow for open discussions about what users do online and offline are needed. Educating every area of our communities is just as important as the young people within them. If school is about preparing children for life, then digital literacy topics like cyberbullying should be no exception.

Dr William Blake, principal of Stephan Decatur Middle School in Prince George’s County, Maryland, says he and his administration spend 85 percent of their time dealing with conflicts between their students that began on social media or text messages. He says that by educating and raising awareness and forming partnerships with school, family and community organisations like SafeCyber that educate communities on topics such as cyberbullying, that number will begin to drop.

Cyber safety is essential for all young people and needs to be embedded into the curriculum. Student-driven programmes are effective in encouraging positive relationships and open discussions about what occurs online and offline.

Cyberbullying crosses all domains and knows no geographical boundaries. It commonly occurs outside of school and can manifest itself 24/7. The ethical and legal issues regarding cyberbullying provide concern for teachers, schools and parents as there is limited clarity on the implications of cyberbullying as it is about behaviour, not a technology issue. Initiatives and programmes which focus on the enhancement of positive relationships and the development of behavioural skills are more effective in dealing with the impacts of cyberbullying.

When conducting my Digital Age Parenting classes, one of the things I share with parents is information about how their child is using a device to say and do things to hurt someone or put themselves in danger. However, the device is only facilitating the interaction between the person and the situation. Dr Satira S Streeter, a licensed clinical psychologist and the founder and executive director of Ascensions Psychological and Community Services, says, “Parents shouldn’t leave the internet as an open forum to influence and impact their children or for them to influence and impact each other by cyberbullying. More focus should be on the behaviour, rather than the technology use.” Cyberbullying indeed, has the same long-term effects as offline bullying such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and possible suicide.

The internet holds a wealth of knowledge and is a great place for people of all ages to express themselves, meet like-minded people and be creative. Focusing on technology alone, grounding children from using it at home, expelling children from school because of its misuse, and tougher laws are not the answers. Initiatives and programmes that promote positive relationships and the development of behavioural skills are more effective in dealing with the issue of cyberbullying. Our future first lady plans to address cyberbullying against kids and I am looking forward to reviewing her plan on how that is to be accomplished. On the other hand, she stated that adults “can handle mean words”. Well, our children will “do what you do” quicker than they will “do what you say.”

Human behaviour is learned.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you agree with the council's decision to defer plans for a wetland, as part of city wastewater treatment?