May 30, 2008

Video: Cyberbullying is bullying

Bullying happens to most schoolkids at some point in their school careers, not a minority, and cyberbullying makes it easier, quicker, more 24/7 than it has been in the past. But it also makes it potentially more visible and traceable for us to do something about.

I say 'potentially', since most schools still attempt to filter, ban or block the social networks and mobile phones where cyberbullying takes place, making it more difficult for the bullies to bully during school time, for sure, but not really helping teachers and students get to grips 'first person' with the issues at stake. I've even heard Head Teachers and Local Authority managers claim that it "isn't their problem" since the bullying itself isn't happening during school hours, thanks to their filtering. Fireable offense, surely?

This superb clip from Childnet, via Mediasnackers, helps address the impact cyberbullying - well, no, bullying in general - has on teens, and shows the bullies what should happen when they take bullying online or mobile.  It provides the "what would happen if..." scenario that always seems so unclear to the bullied, and therefore so unlikely to the bully. A great discussion starter for a school assembly, film or English class, you can view it on YouTube (and use Zamzar to convert into something more acceptable for school) or request a DVD copy if you're in the UK.

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You can also view the video over at Childnet's digital citizenship site - Digizen: http://www.digizen.org/cyberbullying/
Where you can find a bunch of other great support materials relating to the DCSF guidance Will & I produced for the DCSF :)

I did a project with my 7th graders and out of all of the videos, etc., they viewed, this one was by far the best- resonated with the kids, was well produced and seemed to get the message across. I also showed this to my 8th and 9th graders and got the same reaction and great discussion of how cyberbullying happens and how it feels, and what the "bystanders" can do.

Excellent video. Most cyberbullying is a crime and needs to be treated as a crime. There is much for parents to learn. The video shows one of the main problems - an Internet connection in the student's room. Great job
www.stoppingschoolviolence.com

Sadly, I'm in a place where I can't watch the video today (and I forgot my headphones at the office). However, bullying of whatever type is something that has effects that extend beyond just the victim and his relationship with the bullies. When our younger son was being targeted, it affected the whole family. My husband and I had to engage with the school (and, on occasion, the police). Our older son went on a witch-hunt and had to be taken in hand.

And our younger son developed a chip on his shoulder which, in a new school is in danger of making him the bully - he has developed an inclination towards "get your retaliation in first" or "do everything in your power not to come across as a victim" which, in an environment where this is nothing to retaliate against and you're not being victimised, results in him being the aggressor. Fortunately, we think we've caught it early enough, but even the simple act of laughing callously at someone else's misfortune or of despising someone else for being "weak" is a sign that all is not as it should be.

Bullying generates a cycle of behaviour that has to be broken somewhere. We just hope we've caught it early enough to achieve that!

Check out Parry Aftab and Wired Safety website for information on Cyberbullying conference starting this Monday.

Thanks for the nice comments about the film, I'll be sure to pass them on to the Childnet team.

One of the reasons I think this works so well is that the scripting was lead by a group of children and young people. As part of the research and development process kids were involved in outlining the narrative in order to make sure the film addressed their concerns and issues. Many resources designed for young people don't bring their actual audience into the process soon enough - consultation often takes place to late in the day to be meaningful.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

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School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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