#lthechatThis Wednesday, at 8pm (GMT), join the #LTHEChat conversation on Twitter as we discuss the topic of “managing negative use of social media and cyberbullying”.. a topic that pretty much everyone I meet has an opinion on. Read the introduction to the topic (and after the event, the collected storify) on #LTHEChat.

This was the most difficult chapter to write for Raising Children in a Digital Age, as there are no easy answers to what is perceived to be one of the biggest problems online. In fact, I reduced it to a section within ‘Relationships (online)’, because I wanted to echo something that Nancy Willard had said:

Nancy Willard, who runs many cyberbullying workshops in schools, emphasizes that it’s important to understand that not “everybody does it”, nor is this just a “stage of life” that children have to survive. The media suggestion that there is a cyberbullying epidemic tends to encourage children to think that they can send hurtful messages because “everyone else is doing it”. Willard argues that the evidence is that at some point in their life 20 per cent have been either a victim or a perpetrator of cyberbullying. There’s a real need to collect more information about constructive behaviour online, and share that around, to help young people understand that the majority of people behave positively online. (p116, Raising Children in a Digital Age).

So, much of what I’ve written and shared about has been in relation to (school) children online, but we’ll be looking at bullying in general (what does it look like online/offline?), thinking about the particularities of bullying in Higher Education (I’m thinking of recent examples that I’ve seen, including the use of anonymous apps such as Yik-Yak, where students can be incredibly harmful comments about lecturers, potentially influencing groupthink), looking at the positives of aspects such as anonymity and disinhibition online, and means of managing bullying, thinking about our own and organisational responsibilities, and how tech can help provide solutions rather than always being seen as the problem.

I look forward to adding some more links below:

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