As a student of ADR, I am constantly looking for the next opportunity. How else can we bring the message to the people? Every week, when I sit down to write this blog, I recall things that occurred throughout the week, any current events to conjure up ideas. In the spirit of cyberweek I thought it would be appropriate to discuss my thoughts on cyberbullying, and ADR's opportunity to help such a travesty.

As I look back at my childhood, I can't really remember if I was ever bullied (which probably means I wasn't). Sure, I was made fun of. Any boy with a "man" at the end of there last name was easily switch to "woman." Other than that, I held my own with a little help of wrestling and football practice. Unfortunately, there were others that were bullied at my school. To make matters worse, I don't think the teachers knew much about some of these problems. Luckily, I grew up when phones were still on the wall, and internet was just becoming a popular thing. Today, kids that a bullied have less of a chance to escape the harassment when they leave school. Now, kids have to face text messages, facebook, email, and all the other things I don't even know about. According to ISafe.com, nearly half all kids polled (42%) have been bullied over the internet. We could debate a child's need for each of these things, but lets face it, online communication is a part of everyone's life.Even kids that do no have these accounts can still be targeted for harassment.

So what can ADR do to help stop this? or at the very least, what can we do to help the kids that have been bullied. Since this is Cyberweek, I imagine ODR can offer a lot to these kids. Maybe this is already in place somewhere, but here are few aspects of a program that can help.

-Students that feel they are being bullied are allowed to communicate with their schools counselor through email, phone, or f2f at school. The Counselor will work much like a ombudsman, providing the student with the correct resources to stop the problem. From there, the counselor can inform the teachers of such problems so they can keep an eye out for it. The counselor and the student can also decide on a coarse of action, whether to confront the other student. While teachers may not be able to monitor harrasment that occurs after school, they will certainly be able to help after hours. I understand this is a rather simple view of this problem, I do feel ODR can help this problem, be it a platform for discovery or a way of resolution.

What do you think? What else can we do to help these kids out?


For more information on Cyberbullying visit isafe.org

Views: 53

Comment by Eric Cissell on October 27, 2010 at 11:49pm
Matt- I really enjoyed your post. Right away, I feel ODR would provide a great platform to combat bullying and cyberbullying by fitting a technology that accommodates each phase of the resolution process (identification, discovery, option generation, etc).

In regards to social networking sites, do you think the site itself needs to take more responsibility for cyberbullying on their respective sites? Should they offer an ODR service that protects their individuals from cyber bullying?
Comment by Matthew J Starman on October 28, 2010 at 9:21pm
I have never been one to say a company should do anything, but it the very least a company should inform the users of ways to stop such harassment. I'm not sure what other sites do but facebook allows users to flag comments, videos, pictures, and links as harassment. They also have a list of recommendations for people to use while on facebook
http://www.facebook.com/help/?safety

I think the key is going to be the connection to a school official. This way, someone can take notice throughout the day, and not just online.
Comment by Jonathan Frett on October 28, 2010 at 10:31pm
I just wanted to comment on cyber bullying. I think thats it's something that is difficult to prevent since there is little to no human contact involved, however i feel that social networking sites should handle incidents appropriately. People, or even the person who is the victim of cyber bullying, my not realize the psychological effects that the action has until later after it has happened. This can get compacted with a feeling of victims that its too late to complain about it if it isn't dealt with immediately. Someone must accept the responsibility of handling these situations or other problems could rise up from the ashes.

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