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Digital bullies December 8, 2005

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools, Students.

Bully   I had a good laugh, for just a moment this morning, while reading the comments of a concerned teacher. He was trying to figure out what to do with the situation of one seventh grader writing derogatory things about another seventh grader on a blog. His comment was, “At least they’re writing.”

Ouch! Okay, I’ll grant that his comment was probably tongue-in-cheek, but the most salient part of his post follows below:

[My] point is technology is advancing, IMHO, faster than we can keep up with it. We are now in the position where we have to anticipate where it’s going rather than just keeping up with it, otherwise, cyber-bulling and blogging incidents are going to be nothing in comparison to what will come (wish I knew).

Exactly and well put, but I am concerned about putting so much administrative pressure on incidents of this sort that the pressure draws attention to the tools necessary to post such comments. At the same time, I think the reason that it is difficult to react quickly to these incidents is because of two things: 1) misunderstanding and outright ignorance about the blogs on the part of parents, teachers, and school officials, and 2) a misguided belief that the free speech amendment allows you to post any old nonsense.

Professional pundits appear to get away with posting ignorant rants, but they can hide behind a broad brush and a team of lawyers. Students need to realize that hurtful comments directed at an individual are not only illegal but they can follow you both the perpetrator and the victim for years. We haven’t even started to talk about the misuse of candidly taken photographs on blogs. That will have to wait for another post.



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