Take Care of Each Other
While we have talked about citizenship vs. digital citizenship and the importance of the nine elements, one of the biggest discussions we have today has to surround bullying and cyberbullying. While much of cyberbullying is becoming more understood, there are still several misconceptions. Hinduja and Patchin define cyberbullying as using the medium of electronic text to repeatedly inflict harm (2007). This definition is more applicable than some because it doesn’t not get specific into apps or websites since these are constantly changing. One possible modification could be to expand this beyond text to electronic communication since video is now so prevalent.
There are many types of cyberbullying but they essentially fall into five different categories. The first is harassment which involves activities that happen over and over again. The second is flaming which is essentially on online fight or string of inflammatory posts on social media. Another is exclusion where students intentionally leave out someone to be malicious and often then post mean things about them to the others in the group. Next is outing where someone posts personal emails or other private information about the victim. Finally there is masquerading where someone either pretends to be the victim’s friend and then outs them or actually impersonates the victim and posts embarrassing or inflammatory things.
Many think that cyberbullying is the biggest issue but traditional bullying is still more common (Wang, Nansel, & Iannotti, 2011). It is also acknowledged that those who bully or are bullied at school often happen online as well (Hunuja and Patchin, 2007). While boys are often characterized as bullies, adolescent girls are as likely if not more likely to be involved as both bully and victim (Hunuja and Patchin, 2009).
We need to empower students to recognize their value as strong, developing young men and women. While we continue to attempt to imbue empathy into our young people, especially during the pre-teen and teen years, we need to make sure students have coping mechanisms. The more they respect themselves the more readily they will be able to cope with the often inevitable teasing and bullying that accompanies adolescence. We also need to help students realize their responsibilities to take care of not only themselves but each other. More information on empowering our students to not be bystanders while others are bullied it essential.
While we can go with Nancy Reagan’s philosophy of “just say no”, we really need to teach students to be empathetic citizens. We also need to emphasize to them their self-worth and their responsibility to help each other out. As I said in an earlier post we need to inspire students to take care of themselves, take care of each other and take care of the environment in which they live.
Bill makes cyberbullying a crime; targets ‘hateful venom’ that leads to violence
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2007). Cyberbullying: Legal and Policy Issues. Journal of Criminology and Social Psychology, 7(1-2).
Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J. W. (2009). Bullying beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Wang, J., Nansel, T. R., & Iannotti, R. J. (2011). Cyber Bullying and Traditional Bullying: Differential Association with Depression. Journal of Adolescent Health, 48(4): 415–417.