Cyberbullying, Flash Mobs & the Techno Teen Scene

mobilekeypad1.jpgOn the Edutopia site, you’ll find a piece by Evany Thomas called Techno Prisoners, a first-person flashback from the author harkening back to 7th grade. (which I just forwarded to my 6th grade middle schooler for context that this stuff ’twas ever thus’)

It resonated with me, because at that age I remember being a new kid in town, and a ‘blonde haole girl’ to boot in Hawaii, blocked from the stairways my first days of Aliamanu Middle School.

It reinforces the conversation of whether the pervasiveness of ‘bullying’ has just shifted to cyberbullying due to the anonymity of the distribution channel…and whether it’s just a bigger ‘shout out’ in the mass media which makes ‘switching schools’ (or even states) a bit of a moot point.

I ended up using humor, spunk, and cerebral gymastics to extricate myself from multiple racial scenarios growing up in the islands over the years, and thankfully veered toward leadership and strength over shrinking inside myself…but what would’ve happened had technology had its way with me back then?

Since ‘flash mobs’ at the push of a button can mean a civic ice-cream revolution in the middle of a city, or mega-intimidation in a school (or nation!) where bullying has run amok, it makes me wonder, would those two very large girls blocking that staircase be turned into ten or twenty in today’s hallways at the flip of a cellphone? Hmn.

We definitely need to arm kids with coping skills and resources like Andy Carvin’s great Stop Cyberbullying social media site which houses tons of articles on this issue, so kids can get up to speed and avoid being a target.

This Edutopia author’s sidewinder on all the ‘what-ifs’ helped add some much needed perspective…

p.s. Speaking of cybermobs/youth technology: Interesting media uproar today when the antipiracy code for movies leaked in an internet minute, proving digital censorship pointless and mob power stunning. Here’s the New York Times article.

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