Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cyberbullying: Lowering thresholds of tolerance

After a decade or more online, many of us have become jaded or indifferent to the hostility people sometimes show toward each other in the relative anonymity of the web. If we stray outside social internet communities that are rooted in our physical ones, we find people we're likely to never meet, and they often don't show us the same respect or decency that they would face-to-face. Eventually we may reach a plateau of tolerance that's much higher than it should be, especially when children  are involved.

Schools around the world are struggling to keep up with social challenges in fully digitized youth. They're chasing the kids who are sprinting ahead into the cyber-abyss, sometimes encountering situations they're not prepared to handle. Sometimes they're actually the cause of shame and depression, or worse, in other kids.

One YouTube channel expresses this concern well. A child doesn't need to build a website or send an email to induce mental anguish in another child, or even in an adult. An offhand comment in any of a million places can do it.

Atomic Learning offers a number of 21st Century Skills Projects addressing digital citizenship. Our project entitled "Cyberbully? No Way, Not Me" tackles this very challenge. It includes a guide and the resources necessary to hold an interactive conversation with students about the harm caused by insensitive remarks online, and how to deal with them when they're encountered.

21st century concept training and professional development are what Atomic Learning does best. Let us know if you'd like a free demonstration of what we offer.


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