This week in my digital literacy class we had to do some research on digital citizenship. At the beginning of my research I did not really have any clue what this meant. By the end of my reading I would define digital citizenship as term that covers a whole host of important issues. Broadly, it’s the guidelines for responsible, appropriate behavior when one is using technology. But specifically, it can cover anything from “netiquette” to cyberbullying; technology access and the digital divide; online safety and privacy; copyright, plagiarism, and digital law, and more.
One of the things that jumped out to me the most in this research was cyber bullying. According to an article by Paula Green, Cyberbullying is becoming a burning issue both for parents and teachers. Kids spend around 3 hours online and use cell phones 80% of the time, making it the most common medium for online bullying. In her article she lists the following surprising facts:
- 45% of children admit they have experienced bullying online
- More than 40% say they have become the bullies’ target
- 70% admit they have witnessed cyberbullying
- 50% of children admit to be scared of their online bullies
- 92% of cyberbullying attacks are held through chatting and commenting on social media websites
- Cyberbullying victims are 3 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide
- Only 2 in 10 victims will inform their parents or teachers of online attack
These facts were all surprising to me, the last one really hit home The fact that only two out of ten victims inform their parents or teachers of being cyberbullied makes me sad and scared. I do not have kids yes but when I do, I do not want them to be thinking suicidal thoughts from something like this. In this article Paula goes on to talk about 7 different ways to prevent cyber bullying.
The first way is to talk, ask your children what is cyberbullying, does he/she know someone who is being bullied, what children should do if notice acts of bullying. The second is to use the celebrity card. Nowadays, a lot of celebrities are supporting cyberbullying victims. Many of them post numerous comments against online bulling on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The third way is to monitor online activity If taking their phone away is not an option, you can install iPhone monitoring app Pumpic. It allows monitoring social media activity, including Facebook and Instagram, view all text messages (even deleted ones), call logs and general online behavior. The fourth way is to engage parents and youth,create a community for adults and pupils to send a unified message against cyberbullying. The fifth way is to volunteer in the community. As a parent, you can prevent bullying by working in the community. With your experience on the ground, appropriate strategies can help identify the victims and redirect bullies’ behavior. The sixth way is to build a positive climate. You can also engage bullies and victims by giving them mutual tasks, so they can try to see each other from a different perspective. Finally the seventh way is to restore self respect. Remember that the ultimate goal is to protect and restore the victim’s self respect. Act thoroughly; fast decisions can only make things worse. Talk to someone about the problem before responding.
This article really spoke to me and showed that cyberbullying is very common, and people should be more aware of what they can do to prevent it.
Another thing that really stuck out to me during my research was online personalities. I viewed a video on TED talk called, Your online life is permanent as a tattoo. In this video it talks about how tattoos shout and tell stories without actually using words. Facebook, google, cell phones, gps, cameras, and more are all electronic tattoos. This cannot be more true. In today’s world, if something is posted online, or a picture is sent, it is there forever. This can be a bad thing when someone sends inappropriate things, it could inhibit their ability to get a job in the future. In this video it really opened my eyes to the fact that we really need to watch what we post and what we send ANYWHERE, because it is there forever.
I could go on and about the things that I learned while researching about digital citizenship, and maybe I will at a later date when I have some extra time. However, I hope that from this blog you open your eyes to cyber bullying, and realize that everything you put on the internet stays. I also encourage you to do some research on these things and on digital citizenship.