Cyber Bullying: The Unrecognized Threat

 

 

image courtesy of http://thedelanoobserver.blogspot.com/

 

One of my pax at the Watcha Webtrap! Corporate Edition came  from the academe. Somehow, my suspicion about cyber bullying was bolstered when she shared about their  cyber bullying case  last SY.

The involved kid  was bullied using a fake Facebook account, created a to malign her character and reputation.  She and her parents were unaware until one of the staff found this out. As a result, the victim absented herself for almost a month, distraught and afraid. The school can’t do anything too as it’s current policy do not cover this, and they are not familiar with social computing.

I believe there are more cyberbullying cases in the Philippines but remain unreported and addressed. As internet penetration rate in PH increases with smart phones, internet cafe’s and internet access subscription at home becomes affordable, cyber crimes will not only thrive, but also cyber bullying.

Just like cyber crime, we also do not have a cyberbullying law, but there are pending bills at both houses of congress. Though GMA 7 embraced our advocacy and launched   “think before you click” campaign, more has to be done.

I believe there are actual occurrence of cyber bullying but remain unreported. It is a threat to our kids BUT unrecognized and unaddressed. The following factors are contributory:

  1. The victim will keep the experience/problem to themselves  because parents may not be able to relate.
  2. The family of the victim would prefer to keep quiet, sharing their story is like rubbing salt to the wound and it can make two families at odds with each other [if perpetuator is identified].
  3. The school don’t recognize this yet as a problem, thus, there are no policy and process to handle this.
  4. The school assume that the parents are taking care of cyber wellness education [base on my experience, the parents are equally clueless as the schools were] and vice-versa
  5. Most of the school’s curriculum and extra curricular activities are not relevant to the rapidly changing technological environment where kids are growing.

Here are my proactive suggestions [as shared in this blog time and again] until an anti cyber bullying law is passed. Preventive is better than cure as they say.

  1. Incorporate online GMRC in the curriculum.
  2. Inculcate respect and cooperation rather than competition on the school’s culture thru various intervention.
  3. Instead of blocking internet access in school, keep it open so you can log student’s online activity
  4. Roll-out a cyber wellness program for parents-teachers, nannies and students.
  5. For public schools, partner with internet cafe’s so student online researches will be endorsed to them. In return, the parents and school can check the online log of the kids.
  6. For LGUs, pass an ordinance requiring internet cafe operators to
    • Provide poster size warning of online threats
    • Provide poster size safety tips
    • Provide poster size warning of cyber bullying
    • Serve only age appropriate online games.
  7. Keep yourself updated with different anti-cyber bullying tools.

Can you think of other ways to raise awareness on cyber bullying and how to prevent this?

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