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Cyberbullying.. could it be the elephant in New Zealand’s classroom’s?? “Awareness & Education are the key preventions to cyberbullying” With recent news headlines regularly covering the topic of bullying in schools and among youth, it is surprising we do not address the issue of “cyberbullying” at all really, at least among media anyway… Ongoing reports have emphasized and reinforced this apparent ignorance. One report stated that something like 91% of kids, under the age of 18, had at some point or another been the victim of “cyberbullying”. Yet shockingly, only 11% of parents reported to have ever heard the term… In this day and age, it is not enough for a parent to ignore or avoid conversations about behaviour online when it comes to their kids.. And we need to remember, more than technology– what we are really talking about boils down to be just another way to kids & adults alike to communicate. “In 2007, 1 in 5 Kiwi High School Students reported to being cyber bullied” - Netsafe, Guide

WHAT IS CYBERBULLYING? Cyberbullying is not unlike normal bullying, yet instead of occurring just in person, technologies & websites can now facilitate bullying from a distance for some kids. Technology now means that bullying not only occurs in the playground but after school and can even follow kids home. With this medium largely unmonitored, bullying online can be hidden even more than traditional bullying and this causes a serious sense of isolate in a large number of cases. In other countries, the talk of suicides in child who were victimised in such ways has been far and wide, we think more than a few Kiwi kids taking their own lives after suffering this kind of bullying is more than enough (RIP

WHAT MAKES CYBERBULLYING ANY DIFFERENT? There are a number of reasons which seem to make the nature & occurrence of Cyberbullying significantly more concerning than even traditional constructs of bullying in many cases. Cyberbullying can be extremely hard to escape. It can also be anonymous & impersonal and those acting as “bullies” don't have to directly experience the pain inflicted on their victim. The virtual invasion of the home and spread of the targeting that these technologies allow is also significantly concerning. Often outside of legal bounds & difficult for the schools to manage, the ubiquitous nature of these medias means that the refuge of one’s bedroom even, is no longer safe for kids today. While PM John Key emphasised the duty of care carried out & upheld by schools to provide a safe environment for kids, fact is- bullying is a NZ wide issue and this kind of behaviour is rarely limited just to the playground. Most commonly reported concern by many remains the apparent obliviousness of the parents to these issues. “Bullied kids need to know that bullies are cowards & that what goes around, comes around.“

Deborah Coddington, NZ Herald (10.4.11)

Its more than technology, kids needs to understand that, just like in the “offline” world, when they are “online” they need to use manners and be considerate. While they may think they have the maturity to handle these issues, much of what is concerning us when we talk about these issues is the lack of awareness from these kids that they may not want to have every single thing they write, post or upload online following them around forever! While “digital natives” may continue to shock and surprise us with their innate ability to use these technologies, remember to remind yourself; they do not know a world without the Internet. And in this world, a contract has been turned into a “click” and minors are “signing” them often, sometimes even without even parental knowledge, let alone Adult consent. And did we mention this world lacks a “King” or “regulator” of any kind, appears to largely be above the law and features public permanence as part of the main show.... Still sure it’s not a good idea to set some boundaries around your children interacting online...


“Awareness & Education are the key preventions to cyberbullying” In this day and age, it is not enough for a parent to igno...