Cyber-Bullying: Issues and Solutions for the School, the Classroom and the Home

Cyber-Bullying: Issues and Solutions for the School, the Classroom and the Home

Cyber-Bullying: Issues and Solutions for the School, the Classroom and the Home

Cyber-Bullying: Issues and Solutions for the School, the Classroom and the Home

Synopsis

This book looks in depth at the emerging issue of cyber-bullying. In this increasingly digital world cyber-bullying has emerged as an electronic form of bullying that is difficult to monitor or supervise because it often occurs outside the physical school setting and outside school hours on home computers and personal phones. These web-based and mobile technologies are providing young people with what has been described as: 'an arsenal of weapons for social cruelty'.

These emerging issues have created an urgent need for a practical book grounded in comprehensive scholarship that addresses the policy-vacuum and provides practical educational responses to cyber-bullying. Written by one of the few experts on the topic Cyber-Bullying develops guidelines for teachers, head teachers and administrators regarding the extent of their obligations to prevent and reduce cyber-bullying. The book also highlights ways in which schools can network with parents, police, technology providers and community organizations to provide support systems for victims (and perpetrators) of cyber-bullying.

Excerpt

When I first developed the prospectus for this book, I had not envisioned that by the time I finished writing it, the issue of cyber-bullying would expand to such an extent. It is now at the forefront of educational policy agendas throughout the world. Moreover, the study of cyber-bullying is now, more than ever, a moving target. This made it difficult to stop adding new information to this book as it emerged on a daily basis. If I had continued to do that, I would never have finished writing.

Twelve months ago, even I could not have imagined that, in such a short time, cyber-bullying would evolve to become the polemic issue it is today, resulting in angry protests and petitions that demand forceful action by national teachers’ unions and legislators. On one side of the controversy, teachers are petitioning school boards and unions to enforce student expulsions; and ban social networking web sites with a view to regain control of student respect for school authorities. The perception at national and international levels is that the Internet gives students too much power, allowing them to run rampant circles around their supervisors. To control this, some governments are investing millions of dollars into filtering technologies that restrict access to chat rooms and social networking sites that have, in some cases, been ‘hacked’ through by sixteen-year-olds within minutes! At the other extreme, some students, parents, librarians and civil libertarians insist that expulsions, suspensions, attempts to ban web sites, filters and blocking systems are futile. They argue that schools have no right to intervene in online expression because this infringes student rights to freedom of expression that takes place off school campuses and outside of school hours. They argue that zero-tolerance policies do not foster positive or respectful learning environments, but instead create poisoned and chilled environments that perpetuate cyber-bullying.

The media has characterized the issues as a ‘battle’, with cyberspace as its battleground. What is at the heart of this hotly debated controversy? What changed over the last year to reach such intensity? While academics and policy-makers were attempting to understand the phenomenon of cyberbullying among school children (where pre-adolescents and teenagers harassed . . .

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