If you haven’t seen the ABC Family special about cyber bullying, I highly recommend it. I missed it the first time it aired and it was on again tonight. I made sure most of my work was done so I could watch it.
Without giving too much away, a high school girl was basically bullied through social media sites on the internet. It was so horrific and so complex, she tried to take her life. Luckily she wasn’t able to open the bottle and her mother and friend were able to get to her in time. Unfortunately, in the given situation, her mother and her did not receive any support or help from her school. Local law authorities couldn’t touch the girls responsible for the bullying because there weren’t any laws against harassment via online. Eventually, because of public pressure, a law was being presented to state officials.
Cyber bullying is a real thing and I have seen it first hand. Unfortunately, it seems to happen more with girls then boys. I have witnessed girls being down right mean and nasty. Now, I believe it is easy to do this type of bullying because individuals don’t have to face their victim in real life. Furthermore, I strongly believe students have the huge misunderstanding the Internet isn’t real or it is this fantasy playground and it will all just go away. Kids aren’t educated enough to know what they do on the internet stays there.
So, as we embark on our adventures in our classroom and those of us that are using 21st century tools such as Glogster, blogs, wikis, voicethread, etc., perhaps we need to talk to our students first about netiquette and get them to understand that what they do on the internet won’t disappear and it can have impact on their own lives as well as others. I feel as a teacher and as a parent, this is my duty. Furthermore, check to see if your state has any law in place for cyber bullying.