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it is not about technology, it about behavior and norms

December 21, 2008


Cyber Bullying it is the laptops fault, technology is causing this…….I think is a common misunderstanding of many issues related to cyberspace behavior. Somehow because the venue is so different from the past venues, that of the land line, stuffed anonymous envelop in the lockers, the wild rumor shared around the lockers….there is an ease by many to point the finger at the tools. The reality is that it is still about appropriate behavior, collective norms, and empathy and the juggle of confusing emotions and how this mix interacts in a social setting of a child between the ages of 11-17. I feel often schools are quick to point to the IT Department to come up with the solution, and expertise on such dynamics. Wrong. This is something that schools need to have their counselors and teachers engage with as part of the pastoral care that takes place in the school day. It is another level of behavior and interaction that is part of the whole school experience, however negative or positive. The Web 2.0 tools that become the venue for this socialization should not veil the important fact that the behavior is what is causing the emotion, conflict and often pain to the students interacting with each other. To address these in a school setting is an agreed investment in dialogue, trust, and support. The trick is to facilitate this in a context with a connection that will engage the kids to share and trust to open up, when things go a little off. It is in many ways a cultural shift, where the focus turns to face to face dialogue, support and interactions in the class environment which high light the challenges, the dynamics, and pitfalls of social interaction going nasty on the web.

John @ISETS

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