“Today’s bullies don’t just want your lunch money, they want to trash your reputation.”
I have been having frank discussions with seventh graders about on-line behavior and the big concept of leaving a digital footprint that some else can find days, weeks, months, years, and decades into the future. Middle school student have a difficult time already dealing with the every day bullying that is prevalent in our schools, but now it is those people that will damage your ego and self-esteem by name calling, taking something valuable from you, or some act of violence. Today they have to worry about have their reputation crushed by what some write in facebook, myspace, in a blog post, by uploading a digital altered video to a website, a text message to a cellphone, and much more.
A excellent read on this topic is the article titled Cyber intimidation and the art of bullying. Baxter writes this true story account she quotes a 16 year old student who was a victim of cyber bullying, using SMS: “One of the things I found so upsetting was that after I had been bullied, home was no longer a refuge….You can be at home or at the shops, anywhere really, and be getting threatening messages. You don’t know where the bully might be so you don’t know if you’re in danger. You really have no idea what’s happening.” (Baxter, 2007)
This video highlights the warning we must teach our students.
What we write in cyber space remains and continues for years to come. Middle school students must learn and must be taught about online citizenship because they will be more affected by it as they build their on-line presence for the rest of their life. There on-line presence will be a legacy and I hope one the digital footprints that I leave behind will leave some type of legacy as others study education and learning when I am dead and gone for centuries forward.
In conclusion we have a responsibility to teach our students. In today’s talk with my students I had their ear.
Attributions:Baxter, E. (2007, November 7). Cyber intimidation and the art of bullying. Retrieved October 9, 2008, from TheAge.com.au: http://www.theage.com.au/news/technology/the-new-art-of-bullying/2007/11/18/1195321595404.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap2
The World is Round, http://setab.edublogs.org/, May