I’ve been growing up with social media since I was 13, and I’m 22 now. And it’s safe to say that I’m still learning. Up until I started working for CyberSmarties I had no experience with Twitter. I was comfortable with Facebook and wasn’t willing to change. So I can only imagine what it’s like for my elders, and the previous generation, to learn and fully understand these new forms of communication, it’s benefits, and it’s pitfalls.
Since I’ve been on social media, and since it’s creation, cyberbullying has existed. In 5th year this problem arose for me in a huge way. I was a bystander, but none the less, it had a huge impact on me. This incident wasn’t just a case of cyberbullying, this was a cyber-attack aimed at a group of my classmates. A few had students swapped each other’s accounts and passwords and posted and bullied these classmates of mine anonymously on Facebook through each other’s profiles. The abuse lasted weeks until one of the students brought it to the schools attention. Once notified, the school did everything within their power to remedy the situation and catch and punish the culprits. However, despite the school’s best efforts, it created a rift within the classroom, one that echoed through the remaining years of school.
And that’s my issue.
Cyberbullying and bullying in general, cannot be remedied by retrospective reaction. The school did everything in it’s power to help resolve the issue, but it’s aftermath lingered on for 2 years. And that leads to my point.
How can we ensure that this generation and the next, knows better?
How do we tackle this problem once and for all?
How do we eradicate cyberbullying?
Through Interactive Education,
and through Behavioural Change.
No more reading from a book, or an information page or getting a third party speaker saying “Cyber Bullying is bad! Don’t do it”. What is needed is a social network, designed specifically for kids, which allows them to have a social networking experience designed specifically for them.
A social network which is SAFE, and only has children of their own age group (realistically between the age of 7-12) on it. A social network that was built, with the whole purpose of educating the kids of whats right, and whats wrong to do whilst social networking, and for this social network to be integrated into the classroom, to be taught by teachers at the earliest level.
This is what attracted me to CyberSmarties. The fact that they think in a proactive way, to change behaviour and create a new standard way of thinking.
It is only through this approach of thinking differently and proactively empowering positive behavioural change can we eradicate this negative behaviour and put an end to cyber bullying. If we can mould the next generation into one that values respect and empathy online, not only can we decrease the instances of cyberbullying once, we can change a generation for the better.
The Internet is like a bike. For your kids to learn how to cycle, you wouldn’t give them a book. You’d give them stabilizers.