"To inspire them to realize more and more of their capacities for living meaningful lives. Because there certainly is meaning to life."
-John Coltrane on Uplifting Others

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Internet Safety and Cyberbullying

As I watched the voicethread for last week, I remembered a case pending down in Florida that involved cyberbullying. Because the victim had posted some ugly remarks on her Myspace page, the defendants decided retribution was best served cold, and then posted on Youtube. It's disgusting to think that kids are capable of such violence, but there's an increase in violent movies being uploaded to Youtube. Don't believe me? Just type in girl fight at Youtube and see for yourself.
There is no denying that cyberbullying is a new beast that we, as teachers, need to address. Everything from gossip to social pressure to nude pics, cyberbullying is incredibly pervasive in the classrooms and the lives of students. It has led to countless acts of violence, as well as arrests for the sending of child pornography, in the case of sexting or sending nude pics. How then should teachers address this topic?
A website I found that could help younger teens, I would say fifth to eighth graders, is That's Not Cool. It has a section called two-sided story, where separate videos give both sides of the story, and teens can voice their opinions at the end. I found it a great tool for younger kids, who are increasingly being exposed to cyberbullying and social pressures. For older students, I found a couple of articles I read could help them see the importance of acting right online. If they can understand the gravity of Facebook posts in regards to getting a job, they might think twice about looking overaggressive in their status. While this may not help all students, it might deter a few from making stupid mistakes that could affect their future.

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