What have you been taught around technology and cyberbullying?
Student A: My parents are very strict about never adding someone on Facebook that you don’t know and don’t accept a friend request of someone who you don’t know in person. Also, never post anything you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see. The internet is still real life, even if it isn’t in person. I think it’s important to be taught that, what you do on it does matter.
Student B: Make sure your accounts are all private so people can’t go through your pages.
Do Facebook and other social media do enough to curb cyberbullying?
Student A: You can hide it from your wall but people can still find it. I think it’s a world that every teenager is living in. The internet is such a huge part of your life, it’s how you interact with your friends, it’s how we see what our friends are doing but people don’t take it that seriously.
Student C: If you do report the bullying on Facebook, sometimes it’s too late. The harm has been done.
Do you ever find yourself on the other end – as the bully?
Student A: I try to be careful because you don’t know how something is going to be taken. Something you say in person can be taken in the wrong way and on the internet there’s no benefit of tone or body language, it’s just words, so people might not understand your meaning and be hurt by it. You have to be careful when you’re bantering with your friends, you have to make sure they understand.
Student C: If you do comment on something you make sure you know the person really well so they know exactly what you mean and take it the right way.
Is cyberbullying becoming more prevalent than other forms of bullying?
Student A: Yeah, people don’t have to look their victims in the eye. It’s anonymous sometimes, too. fStudent B: They have the value of time, they can think of something really horrible to say.
Student D: It sinks in more over text. They have to look at it and see it’s quite mean. They don’t show people either, but they still have it.
Do the school courses on anti-cyberbullying teach enough?
Student A: I think that teaching the younger ages is really important because there are 11- and 12-year-olds with phones and they don’t have the maturity to handle social media responsibly and that’s where the most damage can be done because they don’t have a concept of a line.
Student B: It’s not really specific to the apps we have now. It is helpful but it would be cool if it was more specific. The platforms used in cyberbullying are largely used by teenagers so it’s hard for adults to design prevention stuff because they don’t really know or use them.
Source: Bay of Plenty Times