Cyberbullying

Moderated by Leah Wing

 

As information communication technology has become intricately woven into our lives, humans have harnessed their capacity for extraordinarily creative innovations to foster human connection across time and space.  Yet, sadly and perhaps not unexpectedly, we have also brought into new ICT forums our capacity for cruelty and domination through bullying.  Do different mediums of cyberbullying (text, picture, Internet, video) produce different impacts on victims?  Can one form be more damaging than another?  What gender and cultural dynamics impact cyberbullying?  What legislation, public policies, and educational and commercial practices are in place to prevent and handle cyberbullying?  What ODR platforms and software can or are addressing this problem?  How can the strengths of ICT, such as lessening isolation, be capitalized upon to reduce the effects of Cyberbullying?

 

New challenges and opportunities face our field to contribute to the prevention and handling of bullying through ICT avenues.  Join us for this conversation!

 

A final note:  It is requested that personal identifying details of actual cases are not shared and that anyone who believes that they have or are experiencing cyberbullying seek assistance from those whom they trust since this forum cannot serve as a source for handling such cases. 

 

One link among many which can be of help is:  

http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/how-to-report/index.html

 

Moderator Bio:

Leah Wing is Co-Director, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution http://odr.info is Senior Lecturer, Legal Studies Program, Political Science Department, University of Massachusetts/Amherst (US) and is founding director of the Social Justice Mediation Institute.  She has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Conflict Resolution (2002-6) and has been a member of the editorial board of Conflict Resolution Quarterly since 2002.  Her publications concentrate on the critical examination of conflict transformation theory and practices in both the online and offline worlds and her most recent publication is “Online Dispute Resolution and the Development of Theory” co-authored with Dan Rainey in M. Waahab, D. Rainey and E. Katsh, Online Dispute Resolution: Theory and Practice (2012). 

 

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This is also my first time participating in Cyberweek. This is an incredibly relevant topic, thank you for hosting. I think the stats presented so far in posts are fascinating, as is the shift of power that occurs with cyber bullying (Bill’s ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ example is great). Does anyone know if there has been a conclusive study about personality types more prone to bullying online, not just boys versus girls but a more detailed profile? I would hypothesize that those who are more uncomfortable with face to face confrontation would utilize cyber bullying more often than their peers, but then again, there’s nothing to stop a bully at school from being a bully online either. 

Different mediums of cyberbullying definitely have different impacts on victims. Videos would probably be the most harmful, as they are more personal. It could be a video of a bully speaking mean things to them. It's as close to a face-to-face attack as you can be without being physically present. I also think the internet is very damaging, as it is worldwide. There are people who won't even know the victim that will get to see them being harmed. There will be strangers who could be encouraging the bully, and making the victim feel even worse. The internet gives a bully the ability to hide while making attacks. A bully could threaten or beat up on another person anonymously if they wanted to.

I've noticed that females tend to be more involved in cyberbullying, and they also seem to be more affected by it. I feel like females might be less confrontational, so they would resort to the internet or text. I have also seen more news stories about females committing suicide because of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying might also be utilized by kids who are being bullied in person, and can use the internet to their advantage.


I feel like there aren't that many practices used to avoid cyberbullying. So many teenagers have cell phones. They cannot be constantly monitored by their parents, and as far as I know, there aren't parental controls that can be added. Children also have a lot of access to computers, and parental controls can only do so much. Cyberbullying can be as easy as sending a harmful email. Pretty much anyone can create an email account. Many websites or programs ask for date of birth to grant a user access, but that can be lied about.

In terms of future steps towards CB response I believe that we have to look at the four levels essential levels of support needed:

  • Reporting (having someone to talk to)
  • Support within the Family
  • Psychological Support
  • Institutional Support ( i.e. school, state,  etc.)

 

 

Having a space that is neutral where victims can express their experiences I believe that there should be a space (hotline,  etc.) where victims can report their experiences anonymously and receive support(psychological support) according to what they need based upon their experience. As shown in various studies, victims typically feel alone and don’t feel comfortable speaking about their experiences in fear of being critiqued or misunderstood. I feel like a reporting system within social networking sites is a step towards responding to CB but we also need to connect/provide victims with resources to support/guide them towards acknowledgement and reparation after being victimized by this.

 

With a proper reporting/support system in place, a program can be created where individuals can be educated about cyberbullying (i.e. what it is, how to identify it, the consequences of being a victim, etc..). Given that CB usually takes place in an educational setting(as addressed in various studies), where the youth involved know each other from school,  I also feel like today's youth also need to be educated on this issue so that they are able to identify it as soon as they have a CB encounter and report it immediately. Educators should also be trained to identify and respond to CB

 

I also agree that the line between "freedom of speech" and its exploitation or abuse should be defined as well and even though there is not a clause within the constitution that addresses that distinction, a policy could be created to address this ambiguity and devise programs to promote CB prevention. Again, having an effective reporting system will be essential to bring attention to this issue and for those in power to educate themselves to make a change. This would be a step towards getting support from the state/government.

 

 


Leah Wing said:

Richard's points are well-taken; there are a few tools already available which could be useful for tracking cyberbullies.

As we begin to move into the final 24 hours of our forum, I'd like to invite further discussion of tools that already exist and to invite some creative thinking about what types of tools are needed.  

Here are a few questions to get us started:

1.  What tools already are available which can be useful in preventing and responding to cyberbullying?

2.  What are the types of tools that are still needed?  Let's be creative and think outside the box!


I agree with both Rhys and Marie on the fact that most times people don’t want to be seen as the victim. I also agree that the story Marie’s sister told does prove to be true among how victims really feel when it comes to handling their situations. Through my research I have found that most students struggle with the ridicule they face online and they feel as though they can handle it themselves. Others are too embarrassed to say anything about their situation and some feel that if they were to inform their parents on what is going on then their parents might just over react instead. An interesting quote that I found was from Parry Aftab who is the executive director of WiredSafety.org. He states, “If the child is texting at school or has a Facebook page without permission, and now they’re being bullied on it, they can’t admit it to parents. The parents will take away the technology and the kids are afraid of that. Or the parents will underreact. They’ll say: ‘Why read it? Just turn it off!’” I agree with others on this post that education is the fundamental principle in helping to solve this problem. However, I feel as though people will only want to help the situation or be moved to do something about it once they realize just how real of an issue this is.  When being educated on the effects of bullying, it is my belief that they should be taught about some of the victims out there that have taken their own lives as a result to being bullied. This would allow for reality to actually hit them. If they could sympathize enough with the victims and think that this could very well have been their own child, then I think that they would be more inclined to educate their children and know how to recognize the signs of bullying once they see it or what to do about it. As I’ve stated in a recent post, it would be vital that everyone participates in this education process because the key to fixing the situation is to have all parties on board willing to cooperate in order to prevent or bring awareness to a situation that has the potential to grow ugly and get out of hand. This could very well mean saving some one’s life and I think that’s what a lot of people need to understand.



Maire Callanan said:

Rhys brings up a great point that nobody wants to be seen as the "victim." Yesterday, I talked to my 16 year old sister about cyberbullying and how she would get help if she was bullied. She said that the anonymity of Facebook "reporting" was a great way to prevent bullying because the bully does not know you reported him or her. I asked her if she would ever consider telling our parents or the school administration and she said no. Since school administration and our parents would react and confront the bully, she said she would be deemed a "snitch" (someone who tells on another person) and further bullied.

I think my sister's story reveals some of the problems and feelings of hopelessness that victims face. When it is not promised that parents and school administration can stop bullies, children do not feel the incentive to reveal themselves as victims. Furthermore, Facebook's unreliable reporting service is prone to inaction when people do report harassment and bullying. Overall, I feel like mediation would be a great tool for reconciling the perpetrators and victims of cyberbullying. However, mediation is may not be an option for people are who bullied by someone they do not know. Although some could argue that online mediation could be an option, I think that a face-to-face mediation program for the victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying is the best option because of cyberbullying's impersonal and anonymous nature.


Rhys Thorpe said:

As a 3rd year university student, I grew up around all of these new technologies that now facilitate for cyberbullying. Today's youth seems far more adept in instantly adapting to new technology where older generations may struggle, and no doubt this trend will continue even as my generation ages. Older generations, then, will most likely always struggle to comprehend the social activities of their children or students as the social/technological platforms that they utilize constantly evolve . I believe that any strategy for dealing with cyberbullying needs to be more broad or adaptive than, say, a strategy that may target individual technological platforms.


For example, while it is fair to say that on Facebook a user can alter their privacy settings or delete a 'friend' that might be giving them trouble, this may certainly solve the problem in the short term but could have greater ramifications in the schoolyard or workplace. I know friends who, even as grown adults today, become offended when a contact on Facebook deletes them as a friend. In the schoolyard particularly, children are sometimes very brutal; they can be quite uncivilized where adults may not be. Moreover, there are hundreds of other ways for people to contact others online regardless. First came email, then instant messaging, then the emergence of several prominent social networks and surely many other mediums in-between. Policing them all seems very unrealistic - and I've not even mentioned how difficult it is to keep up with the constant evolutions in smartphone technologies.

I realise now that I have reiterated many problems without proposing any solutions, but developing solutions is difficult. I would suggest that, in the case of a parent looking to protect their child, having a single family computer in a busy part of the home and installing parental filters is a good tried and tested first step. However in this age it may be hard for a parent to deny their teenager access to the online social mediums that all of their friends are a part of. In the case of phones, not only am I unaware of the existence of any kind of parental filter, but I doubt any would be able to keep up with the constant evolutions in not only physical smartphone handset technologies but also the Apps available for easy download on them, where hundreds more are available every day. 

As a young elementary school student in Australia, I remember the anti-bullying 'programs' that my school adopted. We were just kids, but even then the anti-bullying messages that the teachers conveyed seemed like nothing more than empty tokenism. As soon as we kids left the classroom, we made jokes and teased the teacher's words, never taking anything seriously.

As School Captain in my senior year of high school, I initiated an anti-bullying 'think-tank' program with the help of my English teacher. Together we managed to assemble an eager young group of minds from all levels of the school (grades 7-12), meeting once a week to discuss ideas and to implement the better ones. We had simple goals, but even then, many years after my childhood, it was difficult to conceive ideas that progressed beyond slogans and 'education'.

I believe one of my greatest, founding ambitions was to produce a pamphlet in conjunction with the school counselor that would be discretely available for any students struggling with bullying. It was to simply contain phone numbers for free-call, government/charity telephone counseling services (such as the 'Kids Help Line'), youth groups and contact hours for the school counselor. Unfortunately, in my time there I never was able to bring my idea to fruition but I think our group was heading in the right direction. I hope they progressed with the idea after my departure, because I think that offering something to students that was more discrete than being seen in the counselor's office as a 'weak', 'victim' of bullying was a definite start.   

As I said, though, I offer no real solutions. I think my main, underlying point is that any mechanism for helping kids cope with any kind of bullying (cyber or not) needs to be discrete, because nobody wants to be seen as 'weak' or as a 'victim'. The whole premise of the internet is that is accessible anywhere. It is incredibly discrete, and a user can represent themselves as somebody else or even completely anonymously. This surely helps foster the problem of cyberbullying, but perhaps it could also help play a role in dealing with it.

Leah Wing said:

Richard's points are well-taken; there are a few tools already available which could be useful for tracking cyberbullies.

As we begin to move into the final 24 hours of our forum, I'd like to invite further discussion of tools that already exist and to invite some creative thinking about what types of tools are needed.  

Here are a few questions to get us started:

1.  What tools already are available which can be useful in preventing and responding to cyberbullying?

2.  What are the types of tools that are still needed?  Let's be creative and think outside the box!

The success of Katsh and Rifkin's idea in Online Dispute Resolution: Resolving Conflicts in Cyberspace (2001) that trust, expertise, and convenience are all central to any ODR platform and tool for attracting participants (whether for e-commerce or ODR, for example) resulted in strategies employed by Squaretrade, e-bay, and PayPal, which has been replicated throughout ICT.  I wonder how we can capitalize on this as we consider how to design technological tools to prevent and manage cyberbullying. 

Here a few beginning thoughts...

1.  ODR, cyberbully specialists, social network site business owners, and other key stakeholders could craft a 'pledge' that could be voluntarily publicized on the mastheads of social networking sites that articulated a particular set of commitments re: cyberbullying?

Perhaps this would be momentum for other sites to do the same thing--building momentum that is not only due to moral pressure but also because it could be good for business--promising a 'site actively committed to preventing bullying' might be a draw for many. 


Clearly this stakeholder group will want to consider all the types of dilemmas that have been raised in the discussion this week about not violating laws, valuing freedom of expression, while also creating an agreed upon set of responses and/or principles.

This could potentially create an ethos that fosters netiquette through voluntary business commitments by the site owners. 

2.  Such a set of principles and/or commitments could include strategies which offer the spectrum of prevention and resolution options that are optimal for addressing cyberbullying in particular.  For example, sites could commit that in order to join the membership of a site (ie: 'to get one's own webpage') that each person must press play for a 30 second video clip on cyberbullying.  This would be educational and while we can't force people to watch it, it would clearly interest many.

Commitments regarding responses (ie: we will offer links and referrals to online dispute resolution mechanisms/professionals, links to reporting agencies, etc.) would demonstrate a more serious commitment to detering and helping end bullying.)

I have not found research on personality types and bullying, but I personally believe those who have less self-esteem and low self-confidence are more prone to be a bully over the internet, text messages etc.  I think this because it is less confrontational than traditional bullying, and these people may not have the courage to confront another in such a public way.  This being said I do agree with your point that school bullies do turn into cyber-bullies once the school day or year is done.

Ariel Baty said:

This is also my first time participating in Cyberweek. This is an incredibly relevant topic, thank you for hosting. I think the stats presented so far in posts are fascinating, as is the shift of power that occurs with cyber bullying (Bill’s ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ example is great). Does anyone know if there has been a conclusive study about personality types more prone to bullying online, not just boys versus girls but a more detailed profile? I would hypothesize that those who are more uncomfortable with face to face confrontation would utilize cyber bullying more often than their peers, but then again, there’s nothing to stop a bully at school from being a bully online either. 

After reading Leah's two questions, I agree that other venues need to be put in place for prevention of cyber-bullying. I think that things like Apps and even maybe Ads on the side of social media pages describing the dangers and effects of cyber-bullying would be useful as an almost subliminal means to creatively convey the anti cyber-bullying message. I also think that by involving students to share experiences and function as student guest lecturers in elementary and middle schools could have a profound effect on the prevention.

Maire Callanan said:

I think there should be gatekeeping mechanisms put in place to structurally determine education as one important strategy for preventing cyberbullying. Once people are educated about the causes and effects of cyberbullying, there will be a greater and more consistent cry for reform by people of all ages. Ultimately, gatekeeping mechanisms, such as legislation, will be created as a result of public pressure.

However, although I believe that education and legislation are necessary to combat this problem, I'm also concerned about the effects of these gatekeeping mechanisms. It should be emphasized that education is only one strategy for preventing cyberbullying. By referencing the shield the first amendment provides, it is apparent that legislation often prohibits innovation. Unfortunately, cyberbullying is an issue that will never go away. Technology is changing everyday and elementary school children can have unlimited access to social media and the internet by simply being on their phones. Because technology is changing so quickly, legislation and gatekeeping mechanisms should evolve as quickly as technology. I'm worried that if mechanisms are put in place, it will leave out a lot of other venues where people can cyberbullying, such as iPhone apps, and will ultimately have little effect on the goal we are trying to achieve. Furthermore, I'm concerned about the large role of school administration in preventing cyberbullying and holding individuals responsible. In a number of suicides caused by cyberbullying, the media reports that the victim and his or her family contacted administration a number of times about the bullying the child received. In these cases, administration either did nothing, did not enforce punishments on the bullies or did not act appropriately to make sure the victim was not continually bullied. In the end, I think that the first step is definitely education. However, before mechanisms are put in place to prevent cyberbullying, there must be research about the potential problems that these mechanisms can cause. 

Leah Wing said:

There have been quite a number of calls for educating parents and children (especially beginning at an early age) as one important strategy for preventing cyberbullying.  Are there gatekeeping mechanisms that ought to be put in place (and if so where?) for helping to structurally determine that this happens?  For example, should teacher education and principal certification programs within Schools of Education require exposure to curriculum on cyber/bullying?  Are there other public policies that can be put in place that require schools to have policies about teacher and parent training on cyer/bullying in order to receive public funds?  What other gatekeeping mechanisms might help and what are some concerns you have about having such mechanisms?

I agree with the suggestions for apps and ads on the sides of websites where cyber-bullying is prevalent.  I remember sitting through lectures at school on a range of different topics and thinking to myself how bored I was, or how irrelevant the speech was to my life.  The thought though of students as guest lecturers I think would extremely effective because it is a way that shows a connection between younger and older students.  Maybe if older students guest lectured those getting bullied would speak out against it.

Ashley Berger said:

After reading Leah's two questions, I agree that other venues need to be put in place for prevention of cyber-bullying. I think that things like Apps and even maybe Ads on the side of social media pages describing the dangers and effects of cyber-bullying would be useful as an almost subliminal means to creatively convey the anti cyber-bullying message. I also think that by involving students to share experiences and function as student guest lecturers in elementary and middle schools could have a profound effect on the prevention.

Maire Callanan said:

I think there should be gatekeeping mechanisms put in place to structurally determine education as one important strategy for preventing cyberbullying. Once people are educated about the causes and effects of cyberbullying, there will be a greater and more consistent cry for reform by people of all ages. Ultimately, gatekeeping mechanisms, such as legislation, will be created as a result of public pressure.

However, although I believe that education and legislation are necessary to combat this problem, I'm also concerned about the effects of these gatekeeping mechanisms. It should be emphasized that education is only one strategy for preventing cyberbullying. By referencing the shield the first amendment provides, it is apparent that legislation often prohibits innovation. Unfortunately, cyberbullying is an issue that will never go away. Technology is changing everyday and elementary school children can have unlimited access to social media and the internet by simply being on their phones. Because technology is changing so quickly, legislation and gatekeeping mechanisms should evolve as quickly as technology. I'm worried that if mechanisms are put in place, it will leave out a lot of other venues where people can cyberbullying, such as iPhone apps, and will ultimately have little effect on the goal we are trying to achieve. Furthermore, I'm concerned about the large role of school administration in preventing cyberbullying and holding individuals responsible. In a number of suicides caused by cyberbullying, the media reports that the victim and his or her family contacted administration a number of times about the bullying the child received. In these cases, administration either did nothing, did not enforce punishments on the bullies or did not act appropriately to make sure the victim was not continually bullied. In the end, I think that the first step is definitely education. However, before mechanisms are put in place to prevent cyberbullying, there must be research about the potential problems that these mechanisms can cause. 

Leah Wing said:

There have been quite a number of calls for educating parents and children (especially beginning at an early age) as one important strategy for preventing cyberbullying.  Are there gatekeeping mechanisms that ought to be put in place (and if so where?) for helping to structurally determine that this happens?  For example, should teacher education and principal certification programs within Schools of Education require exposure to curriculum on cyber/bullying?  Are there other public policies that can be put in place that require schools to have policies about teacher and parent training on cyer/bullying in order to receive public funds?  What other gatekeeping mechanisms might help and what are some concerns you have about having such mechanisms?

Hello Ariel,

There have been a couple of studies to try to find a link between certain personality traits and cyber-bullying. A study done by the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital found, "Cyber aggressors reported lower levels of reactive aggression compared to traditional-only and combined aggressors. Combined aggressors demonstrated the poorest psychosocial profile compared to all other aggressor groups. For victimization, cyber-only and combined victims reported higher levels of reactive aggression and were more likely to be cyber aggressors themselves compared to traditional-only victims and non-victims. Findings suggest that there may be unique aspects about cyber aggression and victimization that warrant further investigation." (J Youth Adolesc.

Other studies I have read show unhealthy beliefs and unclear social standards in the family environment have a strong correlation to antisocial behavior (including cyberbullying and bullying), as well as bonds or attachment to deviant peers and others in involved in antisocial behavior. However, the inverse is also true, when high parental support is present in a child's life there is a much lower risk of a child becoming a physical or cyberbully. 

From what I have read Mira is spot on in her analysis. A Spanish study showed the victims of cyberbullying show lower self-esteem and more depressive symptoms than those adolescents who have not suffered any cyberaggression. A different study indicated that being a victim of cyberbullying predicted higher degrees of depression and lower degrees of self-esteem in both victims and cyberbullies. Being a victim of cyberbullying, however, did not predict higher degrees of loneliness or social anxiety. 

 Most studies done only look at that victims of cyberbullying because they are much easier to find and more willing to share. I look forward to see what scientist and psychologists can find when studies looking more at the actual bullies of cyber bullying.  

Mira Rotter said:

I have not found research on personality types and bullying, but I personally believe those who have less self-esteem and low self-confidence are more prone to be a bully over the internet, text messages etc.  I think this because it is less confrontational than traditional bullying, and these people may not have the courage to confront another in such a public way.  This being said I do agree with your point that school bullies do turn into cyber-bullies once the school day or year is done.

Ariel Baty said:

This is also my first time participating in Cyberweek. This is an incredibly relevant topic, thank you for hosting. I think the stats presented so far in posts are fascinating, as is the shift of power that occurs with cyber bullying (Bill’s ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ example is great). Does anyone know if there has been a conclusive study about personality types more prone to bullying online, not just boys versus girls but a more detailed profile? I would hypothesize that those who are more uncomfortable with face to face confrontation would utilize cyber bullying more often than their peers, but then again, there’s nothing to stop a bully at school from being a bully online either. 

Adding on to Mira's point, I think it is necessary to fully explain how to use the report and block functions on many social media sites to children when they are first getting exposed to the Internet and cyber world. Similarly, I also think children need to be shown how to use the privacy settings on their social sites to make them more available to people they choose to allow access too.

Mira Rotter said:

In recent posts there has been a lot of talk on the privacy settings of social networking sites like facebook and twitter because one can report a post/picture etc anonymously, but more often that not when cyber-bullying happens there is not a button labeled "report".  I think that this speaks to how much, as a culture, we have become dependent on the fact that the internet is a place where we can remain anonymous.  It is seen even on cell phones when certain apps installed have the ability to change callback numbers or contact labels.  This emphasizes the need for more of these "report" buttons on applications besides facebook and twitter.  The iphone has an app called "find my iphone" which tracks the phone, if it is reported lost the phone, there needs to be something implemented like this (if possible) for unwanted text messages that come from anonymous people.  

Leah Wing said:

Richard's points are well-taken; there are a few tools already available which could be useful for tracking cyberbullies.

As we begin to move into the final 24 hours of our forum, I'd like to invite further discussion of tools that already exist and to invite some creative thinking about what types of tools are needed.  

Here are a few questions to get us started:

1.  What tools already are available which can be useful in preventing and responding to cyberbullying?

2.  What are the types of tools that are still needed?  Let's be creative and think outside the box!

Richard Shaughnessy said:

Someone made a point earlier in this discussion that there is no clear line distinguishing what is protected by the 1st Amendment is what is punishable by the law. This line needs to lose its ambiguity in order for real change and justice to be brought forth. There was no “cyberbulling” clause created in the eighteenth century extending our freedom of speech rights to hurting others and causing everlasting harm to them. Yes- freedom of speech is a beautiful right that every citizen holds, but when too much is too much a line needs to be drawn somewhere, especially when “freedom of speech” turns into such a damaging problem for today’s youth in particular. Technology is changing in some ways to deter and report cyber bullying. Facebook, Twitter, etc have a variety of privacy settings in which an individual can control who looks at their page and who can see the material sent from that page. They also have ways of reporting offensive material. This reporting system can, in some way, make the “shield” of the cyber world a little more transparent for the bully.

 

My collection of interesting cyberbullying prevention resources can be found here in a scoopit collection I built for a workshop at the ACR Conference in New Orleans. If you look at the slides, there are various games and online initiative mentioned towards the end that are particularly relevant. One game that I think deserves a look addresses social media practices more generally in schools and it is called BeSeen from Carnegie Mellon University.

Leah asked us to consider the following questions:

1.  What tools already are available which can be useful in preventing and responding to cyberbullying?

2.  What are the types of tools that are still needed?  Let's be creative and think outside the box!

 

 

The privacy settings, with the new changes to facebook, have recently been exploiting new information.  I think that Ashley was 100% right when she said that children need to be shown how to use them.  The choice of following others or becoming friends with someone that one does not know is harmful and is a way one can begin to get cyber-bullied.

Ashley Berger said:

Adding on to Mira's point, I think it is necessary to fully explain how to use the report and block functions on many social media sites to children when they are first getting exposed to the Internet and cyber world. Similarly, I also think children need to be shown how to use the privacy settings on their social sites to make them more available to people they choose to allow access too.

Mira Rotter said:

In recent posts there has been a lot of talk on the privacy settings of social networking sites like facebook and twitter because one can report a post/picture etc anonymously, but more often that not when cyber-bullying happens there is not a button labeled "report".  I think that this speaks to how much, as a culture, we have become dependent on the fact that the internet is a place where we can remain anonymous.  It is seen even on cell phones when certain apps installed have the ability to change callback numbers or contact labels.  This emphasizes the need for more of these "report" buttons on applications besides facebook and twitter.  The iphone has an app called "find my iphone" which tracks the phone, if it is reported lost the phone, there needs to be something implemented like this (if possible) for unwanted text messages that come from anonymous people.  

Leah Wing said:

Richard's points are well-taken; there are a few tools already available which could be useful for tracking cyberbullies.

As we begin to move into the final 24 hours of our forum, I'd like to invite further discussion of tools that already exist and to invite some creative thinking about what types of tools are needed.  

Here are a few questions to get us started:

1.  What tools already are available which can be useful in preventing and responding to cyberbullying?

2.  What are the types of tools that are still needed?  Let's be creative and think outside the box!

Richard Shaughnessy said:

Someone made a point earlier in this discussion that there is no clear line distinguishing what is protected by the 1st Amendment is what is punishable by the law. This line needs to lose its ambiguity in order for real change and justice to be brought forth. There was no “cyberbulling” clause created in the eighteenth century extending our freedom of speech rights to hurting others and causing everlasting harm to them. Yes- freedom of speech is a beautiful right that every citizen holds, but when too much is too much a line needs to be drawn somewhere, especially when “freedom of speech” turns into such a damaging problem for today’s youth in particular. Technology is changing in some ways to deter and report cyber bullying. Facebook, Twitter, etc have a variety of privacy settings in which an individual can control who looks at their page and who can see the material sent from that page. They also have ways of reporting offensive material. This reporting system can, in some way, make the “shield” of the cyber world a little more transparent for the bully.

 

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